WHEN I try to pitch advertising at our clubs to some businesses I’m often met with scepticism by some owners about reaching the right footfall.

Hairdressers, beauty salons and others tend to see the sport and its members as being male-orientated with women taking a back seat off the pitch to do teas, work in the bar or do the scoring.

That is certainly changing.

Of course, women still play a vital role off the pitch, but Kate Cross of Heywood, Lancashire and England has led the way for women to get involved in donning the whites on matchday.

Recently, Elton were short of players for their second-team fixture against Monton and were lucky enough to be able, for the first time ever, to have a female play in a competitive fixture.

It was a great landmark for the club, and also a proud moment for the 12-year-old girl’s family.

Her mother had no qualms about signing the necessary parental consent forms to allow her daughter to become the club’s first-ever female player.

This is not the first time a girl has played in the Greater Manchester Cricket League in Bury.

Tottington St Johns regularly have the daughter of experienced player Brett Collins – Dannielle – in their side, and Woodbank have two young ladies who often make an appearance in their second and third teams.

It is not just teenage girls who are playing a role in the game either.

Last Friday, Walshaw hosted a very successful “Prosecco and Soft Ball Cricket” night at which there were hundreds of spectators on the Sycamore Road ground cheering on the efforts of women with a wide range of ages and abilities.

It is vital for clubs to utilise these types of initiatives to evolve and attract new members, whether they are male or female, playing or social.

What once was the gentleman’s game is now being increasingly embraced by ladies, and I for one am all for it if it helps improve clubs in the area long term.