Job search
Job Search

People profile: Matt Dwyer, England and Wales Cricket Board

Director of participation and growth, England and Wales cricket board

Published in Sports Management Sep Oct 2017 issue 133
Matt Dwyer is driving change behind the scenes at the ECB with his ‘growth mentality’
Matt Dwyer is driving change behind the scenes at the ECB with his ‘growth mentality’

Times are a’changing in the world of cricket, with excitement on the horizon for the English game in particular. England has just won the Women’s Cricket World Cup on home soil, while the men’s tournament will be hosted here in 2019 just ahead of the Ashes series.

On the domestic front, the governance of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is being self-scrutinised to ensure the population is better represented at board level.

Attendances for Twenty20 matches are growing and live cricket will return to the BBC for the first time in 20 years in 2020.

Matt Dwyer, the Aussie who’s been put in charge of the ECB’s grassroots cricket operations, is one of those driving change with his “growth mentality”.

Dwyer has just marked his two-year anniversary with the national governing body by celebrating the successful rollout of the ECB’s children’s cricket initiative, All Stars Cricket, which aims to provide children aged five to eight years old with a fun but comprehensive introduction to the sport.

Big impact
Growth mentality, says Dwyer, was behind the scheme’s stellar first year. After planning to partner with 300 local clubs to bring cricket to children aged 5 to 8 years, the ECB managed to connect with 2,000 clubs – plus all 39 first-class counties – bringing coaching and equipment to around 40,000 children.

And Dwyer doesn’t want to stop there. He says: “The fact that all 39 counties rolled out All Stars Cricket meant we had an amazing impact. They all bought into the philosophy of going big and investing in the right resources to support it.

“We’re undertaking a review now and there’s a lot of stuff we’ll do differently, which is great because it will get bigger and better. It’s going to be around for a long period to come and it’s only going to get better as we continue to learn from it.”

With so many distractions from technology, school and work, as well as competition from other sports and pastimes, it has never been so important to get the grassroots offer right.

Dwyer explains that the programme was built on insight from both the player point of view and the counties’ perspective.

For the latter, he says that the ECB is attempting to devise “one or two” key initiatives for counties to get behind, such as All Stars Cricket, rather than “piling them up with too many priorities”, which he said the body had been “guilty of” in the past.

Customer service
To encourage people to join or stay within cricket, Dwyer says that skills garnered from his 15 year marketing career with companies such as Mars and Nestle helped bring a “sales culture” to cricket, placing the player – or customer – at the heart of decisions.

“This has a number of elements,” he explains. “How well do we articulate cricket versus other leisure outcomes? What are we saying to parents about how cricket develops kids’ fundamental movement skills more than any other sport? Are we demonstrating the spirit of cricket and the fact that from the ages of five to 10 years it’s very much a unisex game.”

The former Cricket Australia executive adds: “The challenges here are remarkably similar to Australia, particularly for the clubs. How were kids engaging? How were they getting more kids to their clubs? How were they attracting volunteers, who are the lifeblood of the sport?

“Then there were a lot of question marks over the traditional format, starting a match at 10am and finishing at 8pm.”

After conducting insight work, the ECB marketed All Stars Cricket to parents as a place they could “get an hour with their kids”.

“We said, ‘we think this will be the best hour of your week. Whether you know anything about cricket or not you can get involved, rather than just dropping the kids off and leaving’,” says Dwyer. “That message has driven a great family community environment.”

ECB buy-in
Dwyer says the clubs were “doing cartwheels” in response to this fresh engagement, and it seems that the ECB’s backing has paid off. Since joining the organisation, Dwyer’s team has grown from “about 60 heads to 90” to support grassroots cricket. The curriculum for All Stars Cricket was even developed by Andrew Strauss, the ECB director of cricket and former England Test captain. There seems to be a concerted push to get kids interested.

The ECB partnered with Kids Industries – an agency specialising in marketing to children and families – to deliver the project, but the cricket programme came straight from Strauss and his team.

As well as ramping up All Stars Cricket, Dwyer says the programme will lead to another body of work focusing on improving the participation pathway for children, and ensuring kids from lower socioeconomic backgrounds have access to 200 centres to play cricket.

Sign up for FREE ezines
Sports jobs

Sales, Marketing and Retention Manager

University of Leeds
Salary: £37,099 - £44,263pa + generous pension + benefits
Location: Leeds, UK

Exercise Referral Instructor

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Saltburn-by-the-Sea

Epping Forest Keeper (countryside Ranger)

City of London Corporation
Salary: £35,663 - £39,805pa + Local Govt Pension + benefits
Location: Loughton, UK

Aquatics Officer - dual site

Brio Leisure
Salary: from £29,269pa
Location: Northwich, UK

Fitness Manager

Everyone Active
Location: Bristol

Climbing Activities and Wellbeing Coordinator

Everyone Active
Location: Winchester

Strategic Manager Leisure Partnerships and Health

Swansea Council
Salary: £53,653 – £58,089pa
Location: Swansea, UK

Centre Manager - dual site

Brio Leisure
Salary:  £35,745pa + excellent benefits
Location: Ellesmere Port, UK

Centre Manager - dual site

Brio Leisure
Salary: £35,745pa + excellent benefits
Location: Chester, UK
recruiting with sports management

Activity & Wellbeing Leader

Everyone Active
Location: Stratford-upon-Avon

Chief Executive Officer

Redbridge Sports & Leisure
Salary: on request
Location: Barkingside, Ilford, UK

Swimming Teacher

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive rates of pay
Location: Rickmansworth, UK

Swimming Teacher

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive rates of pay
Location: Watford, UK
Swimming Teacher jobs  duty manager jobs  Team Leader jobs  Swim Manager jobs  general manager jobs  recreation assistant jobs 
More jobs

Company profile

Company profile: ServiceSport (UK) Ltd
ServiceSport (UK) Ltd specialises in maintaining, servicing and re-manufacturing all brands of cardiovascular and resistance gym equipment as well as selling brand new equipment from market leading manufacturers.
View full profile >
More company profiles

Featured Supplier

Explosion of passion for fitness at RiminiWellness 2024 and record success for Panatta
The passion for fitness and bodybuilding reached new heights at the Panatta stands during RiminiWellness (30 May – 2 June 20204) – the largest fitness event in Italy – which this year exceeded the 100,000 visitor mark.
View full details >
More featured suppliers

Property & Tenders

Location: Cleveland Lakes, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire
Company: Cotswold Lakes Trust
Location: Loughton, IG10
Company: Knight Frank
Location: Grantham, Leicestershire
Company: Belvoir Castle
Location: Hall Place House, Bexley, DA5 1PQ
Company: London Borough of Bexley
Location: 15 Concessions across the nation's forests
Company: Forestry England
More properties & tenders

Diary dates

03-05 Sep 2024
IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok, Thailand
08-10 Sep 2024
Wyndham® Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs™ Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
19-19 Sep 2024
The Salil Hotel Riverside - Bangkok, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
20-22 Sep 2024
Locations worldwide,
More diary dates