THE North Devon Gazette is pleased to announce that it is sponsoring the North Devon Colts Cricket League this season.League secretary Peter Wright said it was an exciting development at a time when more and more young people were taking up the sport.Gazette editor David Tanner said it was important to encourage young people to take up cricket."That's why we are very happy to support the colts' league," he said.The new season starts very shortly and once again there will be four age-group leagues at Under 10, Under 11, Under 13 and Under 15, with 9 participating clubs. These are Barnstaple & Pilton, Bideford, Braunton, Chulmleigh, Filleigh, Hatherleigh, Newton Tracey, North Devon, and Weare Giffard. The numerical make up of the leagues is 5, 8, 9, 8 respectively."Due to increasing player numbers, some clubs will be able to run second-team matches as well and we hope that these will be arranged throughout the season," Peter Wright said. "At the end of the day all our youngsters would be delighted if there could be as much match play as possible."The Under 11s league will keep the 10-a-side pairs hard ball format and the Under 10s league will be 8-a-side pairs with a hard ball being used by agreement with the managers. The Under 13s and Under 15s leagues are normal cricket format and are played as 20-over matches. Bonus points are also awarded for sides' batting and bowling attainments.This will be the second year of the Chance to Shine scheme in which Bideford and Barnstaple clubs are involved. Last year, their numbers were enhanced and they expect this to continue unabated this season."They are ,however, among a number of clubs who foster coaching partnerships with their local schools, " Mr Wright said."Along with these links, the North Devon Coaches' Association has worked all winter through its North Devon Youth Cricket Academy and this year so far with the District Programme. "Along with the academy, the NDCCA has also taken every opportunity to raise the profile of cricket for girls in our area and plans are afoot to encourage more girls to join our clubs this coming summer, inaugurate some inter-Club matches, and enter an Under 13s team in the Devon Youth Games. "Girls' cricket is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and we would like to take every opportunity to capitalise on this momentum in our area."n Catch up with all the results, match reports and league tables as the season progresses in the North Devon Gazette.District matches involving local representative sides this season are as follows:Sunday 27th April West Under 11s v. North Under 11s at Delgany, Plymouth North Under 12s v. West Under 12s at West Buckland School East Under 14s v. North Under 14s at Exeter C.C. North Under 15s v. South Under 15s at Hatherleigh C.C. Sunday 4th May North Under 11s v. East Under 11s at West Buckland School East Under 12s v. North Under 12s at Chulmstock C.C. West Under 14s v. North Under 14s at Plymouth Civil Service North Under 15s v. West Under 15s at West Buckland School Monday 5th May (Mayday Bank Holiday) South Under 13s v. North Under 13s at South Devon C.C. Under 10 Festival at Bideford & Westward Ho! (11.00am) Sunday 11th May North Under 11s v. South Under 11s at West Buckland School South Under 12s v. North Under 12s at Shaldon Optimists C.C. North Under 13s v. West Under 13s at Braunton C.C. East Under 15s v. North Under 15s at Thorverton C.C. Sunday 18th May East Under 13s v. North Under 13s at Blundells School North Under 14s v. South Under 14s at West Buckland School Sunday 18th May Under 10 Festival at Clyst Hydon C.C. Sunday 1st June Under 9 Festival at Bideford & Westward Ho! (11.00am) Sunday 29thJune Under 10 Festival at Delgany, Plymouth Thursday 14th August Under 10 Festival at Paignton C.C.