Changes announced to ECB Boys Pathway Competitions

In advance of the 2022 season, the ECB have announced some changes to the ECB Boys Pathway competitions following a review that has been completed in recent months.

Up until the completion of the 2021 season, the following ECB boys competitions had been provided for counties:

  • Under 14 50 over competition
  • Under 15 50 over competition
  • Under 18 50 over competition (+ 3 day competition for First Class counties)

In addition to the above ECB competitions, Wiltshire has provided boys pathway cricket from Under 10s through to Under 13s and in 2021 supplemented the Under 14, 15 and 18 fixture programmes with some multi day matches.

Findings and Recommendations from ECB Boys Pathway Review

Key themes that emerged from ECB's recent review were as follows:

  • Opportunity to stretch players by holding ECB national competitions on alternative years
  • Need to improve transition between under County Age Group Under 15-18.
  • Create opportunities for players to play and be challenged with fixtures ‘out of region’
  • Allow inclusion of ‘overage’ players.
  • Increase exposure to multi day cricket.
  • Create opportunities to develop performance under pressure.
  • Increase challenge by concentrating talent.
  • Introduce a formal T20 pathway competition.
  • Establish competitions that reflect and support county talent pathway structure.
  • Better align with senior First-Class and National counties structures.

ECB National Age Group Competitions from 2022

During the review there was strong support to reposition the ECB National Age Group competitions to Under 14, 16 & 18. Feedback centred around the desire to utilise alternate years, thus challenging early developers by ‘playing up a year.’ There was also a consistent desire to ‘bridge the gap’ between Under 15 and Under 18.

So, from 2022 the following ECB competitions will be provided:

Boys Under 14s:

  • Under 14s National Competition to be organised in regional groups, leading to play-offs.
  • 45-Over format to be employed as the default, with option for County Pathway Leads to amend by agreement.

Boys Under 16s:

  • An ECB 50-Over Under 16s Competition to be organised. Fixtures to be structured in regional groups, leading to play-offs.
  • National Counties to be permitted to field up to three Under 17-18s versus First-Class Counties to showcase later developing talent.

Boys Under 18s:

  • A parallel Academy and National County competition structure at U18s to be established (for both T20 & Multi-Day competitions)

Under 18 National County T20 Competition:

  • National County T20 Competition to be introduced.
  • Play-offs and finals will follow a programme of localised group matches.

Under 18 National County Multi Day Competition:

  • National County Under 18s Multi-Day competition to comprise of a Championship group (playing four 3-day fixtures), and two Regional Groups (playing two 2-day fixtures)
  • Wiltshire has initially been placed in one of the Regional Two Day Groups

Under 18 Knockout Competition

  • A new Under 18s 50-Over knock-out competition involving both First-Class and National Counties to be introduced, together with a plate competition for first round losers

Wiltshire Cricket Pathway

As well as the competitions offered at Boys U14, U16 and U18 age groups, confirmation that Wiltshire Cricket will continue to provide pathway cricket for Under 10s to Under 13s, and for the Under 15 age group.

Additionally, Development level cricket will continue to operate for Boys U10s to U15s