Social media boosts games played

A change is, they say, as good as a rest. Life for Northern Premier League (NPL) clubs looks far sweeter thanks to the adoption of a social-media presence which has proved a huge boon for cross-club communication and promotion across Lancashire and Cumbria.

“Some clubs were calling off games too easily,” says NPL secretary Ann Gilfoyle. “Umpires were not encouraged to play when conditions were safe, but still damp.”

A Get the Game On presentation at Old Trafford changed all that. “It struck a chord,” Gilfoyle adds, “especially the use of social media to encourage more clubs and players to be involved in their league.”

Captains, club officials and players were briefed on the proposed changes and why they were needed. “Social media was not being used to encourage players to have an interest in their clubs,” continues Gilfoyle. “Result cards were late and players’ stats were difficult to prepare.”

Now Gilfoyle detects a changed mindset. “Umpires, players and captains look to get as much play as possible,” she says. “Social media has been a resounding success, with most clubs subscribing to the systems. Games are being played when before they would have been cancelled. Games with reduced overs are more likely to take place than before.”

Stats from June 2015 showed a 94 per cent completion rate among 326 games, with cancelled matches virtually halved compared with last season.

Players love to compare stats and the establishment of virtual honours boards celebrating outstanding individual efforts has been another highlight. Praise has been bestowed from other leagues. Matchday scores are now regularly updated. Vitally important is the increased ability to communicate swiftly, with teams finding it much easier to get out an XI. After all, why ring round in a search to make up the numbers when you can reach scores of people online – and feed them a host of inspirational stories.