How bad has it been?
Leshia Hawkins, chief executive of Cricket Wales (@LeshiaHawkEye)
We were fortunate that we are a socially distanced sport anyway. You start 22 yards away from your batting partner and you could be further away from fielders.
So, we don’t have to ruck and maul with opponents in close proximity, meaning when things did start to improve we were able to make the best of the situation.
It meant we could pretty much turn the tap back on when permitted. Of course, we have had to adapt the England and Wales Cricket Board guidance for Wales, but in spite of everything we feel quite lucky as a sport that we have been able to return fairly unscathed.
We do feel “back in the game.” In fact, we have been able to grow the number of teams in Wales during a pandemic. We are thriving and growing.
Hannah McAllister, chief executive of Wales Golf (@HannahFitzpatr3)
We are really lucky as a sport. Early on, the restrictions did not affect us too much because we’re fortunate in the way the game can be played.
Even early on, we could play the game individually or in twos. With the rule of six, we were able to play outdoors and it could be socially distant.
We are absolutely “back in the game” and we were back in the game early on. However, we are a big industry and we fit across hospitality, retail and tourism. The incomes in those areas have been badly hit with people not travelling.
But the clubs have adapted well with outdoor areas amended so that more people could be sat outdoors. We have been affected negatively in terms of income, but the government support and the support from Sport Wales has really helped with that.
Fergus Feeney, chief executive of Swim Wales (@fergus_feeney)
Pre-lockdown the data suggested we had 400,000 adults swimming once a week in Wales, and 100,000 on the learn to swim framework.
We were looking at half a million people in Wales who were swimming.
So, restrictions in Wales for us have been crippling. There are over 400 public access pools across Wales and they all closed. All activity had to cease.
Trying to unlock our individual sports back last September was a huge challenge. As a sport, we didn’t have space on our side. We are mostly an indoor environment, we are a humid indoor environment, and they were some operational bottlenecks, also.
We knew that 80 per cent of our facilities are over 20 years old and some of them are in small areas where space is tight.
The sport has been badly hit and we are nowhere near yet to being fully operational.
How have your membership figures held up?
FF, Swim Wales
It has been a slow road back. We are about 30 per cent down on club membership figures, we are about 80 per cent down on participation, but that is down to capacity – the constriction that the restrictions have created.
That’s not down to demand. There is still a huge amount of demand with every single pool and local authority fully booked.
We have 100 clubs across Wales, with 12 of them performance clubs. And it’s become a numbers game. We are trying to get 150 performance swimmers into a small capacity.
But confidence is coming back. The problem is that competitive swimming and development has taken a big blow.
The worry is that 15 or 16-year-olds have moved on to something different. If they are still in sport, then great. But the concern is that they are lost to sport and are just sitting at home using their PlayStation.
HM, Wales Golf
We don’t get our official membership figures until August, but we are expecting a 15 to 20 per cent increase.
We are finding that most of the growth is in male golfers, because females like to access the sport in a phased approach.
Given that fact, our main focus for the next year will be to get more females into the game.
But, overall, it’s been very positive in terms of the growth in membership despite the pandemic.
We had a significant decline in membership after the financial crash in 2008, so the growth has been fantastic. But we do need to work on the gender gap and also continue to strive for a younger demographic.
Golf has been great to help with loneliness and isolation during this last 18 months and it’s also been proved it’s a good sport to play alongside other sports. Gareth Bale has been a great example of that.
LH, Cricket Wales
We know that we have grown the number of clubs as well as the number of sections. We have also seen a continuation in the growth of women’s cricket.
We have continued to grow U11 participation through our two flagship national products – the All Stars and Dynamos programmes.
We had set ourselves a pretty aggressive growth target in the All Stars and we’ve hit that already.
In truth, we really didn’t know how the follow on for 11-year-olds, the Dynamos product, would go. But we are among the lead for English counties, some of which have four times as many clubs and twice as many people.
I put that down to the great work of our volunteers who kept us going through all the dark times. We have been very pleasantly surprised.