Steelbacks In The Community, along with the Northants Cricket League and the South Northants Cricket league, have conducted a player survey after the 2021 domestic cricket season.

This survey aimed to gather an understanding of players’ experience of the season, as well as to gauge their views on their future participation of the game.

The survey identified which League the player was part of to highlight any differing trends between the leagues. Feedback was sought for the mixed adult leagues specifically, as Junior and Women’s Leagues Surveys are conducted separately.

The survey was completed by 711 players, with the age ranges starting at 18-25 and going up in 8-year bands culminating with over 50s. Players aged 26-33 led to the highest density of completion, amounting to 25% of the completed surveys. Whereas 18–25 year-olds had the lowest completion rate at 15%.

Just under 90% of completed surveys were filled out by players identifying themselves as White British with 8% identifying themselves as South Asian.

NCL players made up 85% of the completed surveys, with 13% coming from the SNCL and the balancing 2% playing friendly cricket only. There was a relatively even spread across Divisions of the NCL with each Tier well represented. In the SNCL the split was more marked with the top (Premier) and bottom Divisions having half as may completions as the mid Divisions (1-5).

Players responded as either – Very Satisfied – Satisfied – Neither Satisfied or Unsatisfied – Unsatisfied – Very Unsatisfied to their ‘Overall Enjoyment’, the ‘Pitch Quality’, ‘Start Times’ and Umpiring Standards’. In the following summary we use ‘Satisfied’ to represent ‘Satisfied’ or Very Satisfied’ and ‘Dissatisfied’ to represent ‘Dissatisfied’ or ‘Very Dissatisfied’.

Players completing the survey generally enjoyed their experience with 86% suggesting they were satisfied – this was also true across Leagues.

71% of players in the NCL were satisfied with pitch quality whilst the SNCL players were less so with 58%.

Start time satisfaction was similar across both Leagues with 73% satisfied. Although dissatisfied players amounted to 19% in the NCL and only 9% in the SNCL. There was a marked difference in the NCL by Tier, with Tier One players less satisfied with start times (61% satisfied and 27% dissatisfied).

The satisfaction with Umpiring Standards differed across the Leagues.

In the SNCL 43% of respondents were satisfied with Umpiring Standards, whilst 19% were dissatisfied, leaving nearly 40% neither satisfied or dissatisfied.

In the NCL overall 53% of players were satisfied with Umpiring Standards whilst 23% were unsatisfied. The satisfaction levels were almost identical across the Tiers however the dissatisfaction levels were much higher in the top two Tiers (Tier One – 29%, Tier Two – 26%, Tier Three – 16%).

Northants Cricket League and South Northants Cricket League Player Survey Headlines 2021

The questions then moved on to the future of the game, with this section of the Survey asking for simple yes/no answers to a handful of questions.

Players were asked if they’d be interested in wearing coloured clothing. There was an even split of yes’s and no’s as well as a number of comments regarding additional cost and going with one or the other for all cricket.

A high number of players wanted to see the re-introduction of teas, 64% across the survey. That equated by League to 60% in the NCL and 81% in the SNCL. The comments relating to the no’s mainly came from captains or players who ended up with the responsibility of arranging the teas.

Most players were happy with their playing opportunities with just 23% suggesting they’d like to be offered more chances to play. Those that did want additional playing offers mentioned more T20 opportunity, an Indoor Winter League and access to Coaching Sessions.

There were also some questions aimed at information gathering that related to Play-Cricket, Volunteering and the Hundred.