PONTYPOOL'S Panteg Cricket Club has undergone a rejuvenation by starting a women’s cricket team and focusing their attention on juniors.

When Richard Jeffries took over as chairman in October 2020 there was no women’s team.

Since then a women's softball cricket section was launched in April 2021, with plans for a hardball team in 2023. It is hoped this can capitalise on women's cricket being included in the Commonwealth Games for the first time earlier this month.

South Wales Argus: The women's cricket team picture: Richard JeffriesThe women's cricket team picture: Richard Jeffries

The women's cricket team. Picture: Richard Jeffries

Mr Jeffries said: “When I took over as chairman, many of our wives, girlfriends and sisters felt that the cricket ground was not for them.

“Some old-fashioned attitudes exist that women were there to make the tea, so in order to change that we had to make teams for them.

“In the women’s games you can see the potential in where it could go, and their commitment is amazing."

He added: “I want cricket to feel inclusive for everyone.

“The women’s cricket has created so much energy – they have raised money, made advertising banners and managed to get some funding for themselves.”

So far, the women’s softball cricket section has won the South East Wales indoor softball cricket league, went unbeaten to win the South East Wales women’s softball cricket league division 2 East B, and were regional winners in the South East Wales women’s cricket plate.

The national final is due to be played on Sunday, August 21, at Vale Cricket Club.

When Mr Jefferies became chairman membership was on the decline, with very few young people joining in.

South Wales Argus: Callum Reid celebrating scoring 100 against Llandaff picture: Richard JeffriesCallum Reid celebrating scoring 100 against Llandaff picture: Richard Jeffries

Callum Reid celebrating scoring against Llandaff. Picture: Richard Jeffries

“We revamped the junior training, to make sure every child has a positive and well organised session," Mr Jeffries said.

“Junior players get to play in a relaxed standard where it’s not too scary and they are doing well scoring, runs and hitting wickets and we encourage the use of Welsh language.

“As they have success it boosts their confidence and changes their relationship with the game."

The club received a grant from Sport Wales last year and used the money to build new practice net facilities and two artificial nets.

And Torfaen Sports and Sport Wales helped to put people through their coaching qualifications, so the club has qualified coaches.

South Wales Argus: Pontypool Panteg Cricket Ground picture Richard JeffriesPontypool Panteg Cricket Ground picture Richard Jeffries

Mr Jeffries said: “The junior sections start at five years old with a tennis ball and plastic bat, and then those kids start to play in the under-11s and they see there’s opportunities to play cricket.

“League cricket is available at under 11, u13 and u15 age groups.

“The senior section includes teams in the South East Wales divisions one and six, with a third team in partnership with Monkswood Cricket Club playing in division nine.

“Theres a clear pathway for both men and women from the age of five to adulthood.

“Our best junior player is six years old, the sister and mother plays which shows the benefits of having junior and women’s teams.

“If we couldn’t offer everything someone would miss out.”

The club was recently granted an alcohol license, and is set to host Glamorgan’s 2nd team four day game beginning on Monday, August 22 - Glamorgan is the only Welsh professional team playing in the County Championship.