If you’ve read our ‘About’ page, you’ll know all about our founder, Steve Fitzgerald.
But what you might not know is that Cricket tots is actually a family business, run by a husband-and-wife team.
So in this blog post, Lucy – aka Mrs Cricket tots – takes us right back to the very beginning and tells us exactly how Cricket tots began.
August 2001 changed my life!
Maybe a little.
But that was when I fell in love.
And not only did I fall in love with an Australian, but I fell in love with an Aussie cricketer!
Life takes a different turn
Both those things meant my life took a very different and unexpected direction from what I’d ever imagined.
Steve and I spent the summer together and were married soon after. In fact, we’d only actually spent a total of about 8 weeks together before our wedding day.
Which meant not only did I have to quickly learn how chilled out the Aussies are (on the whole!), but I also had to learn to love the game of cricket.
It’s fair to say that back then, I was clueless on both counts!
Welcoming our baby boy!
Fast forward a few years, and in July 2007 – after many weeks travelling overseas, and too many hours to count of watching Steve play cricket – we celebrated the birth of our son, William.
Like all new parents, we were overjoyed (and overwhelmed!).
We settled into parenthood well, though, and loved spending time with Will.
In true Aussie style, it wasn’t long before Steve decided it was time to resume his cricket again. And so Will and I joined him at the cricket club all weekend, every weekend.
Looking back, that was the very start of what would eventually become Cricket tots.
One of my fondest memories is of Will, just a toddler, wearing my gardening gloves and going out to bat in the garden (which in reality was me bowling – badly – a tennis ball at him).
But he loved it, and honestly couldn’t get enough.
Steve and I spent countless hours outside in the garden with Will and a bat & ball.
And as Will’s cricketing ability grew, we started to consider what next.
We knew the local cricket clubs were unlikely to let him join until he was around 8 years old, but that seemed like a lifetime away.
Our “Eureka!” moment
Will was around 2 ½ when we had our “Eureka!” moment of “We should start sessions for little ones!”
And then . . .
. . . that was it. Nothing else – that was literally as far as we got.
We sat on the idea for a few years. We eventually registered the domain name (just to be on the safe side), but other than that we continued with our busy lives. Working hard (in non-cricket related professions), raising Will, travelling, seeing friends and family.
And, of course, watching and playing cricket at our local cricket club.
A true family business
Fast forward again, and in 2016 we finally got Cricket tots off the ground (just as Will joined a local cricket club, ironically).
And it worked!
Steve was brilliant up front, and I LOVED all the behind-the-scenes stuff.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s A LOT to do when starting your own business, and we were very lucky with the support we had.
Plus, of course, Will was in his element attending the lessons, being with the little ones, and generally helping out wherever he could.
It’s fair to say that Cricket tots really is a true family business!
Our franchising journey
Word spread quickly, and we started getting enquiries from people wanting to know how they could set up Cricket tots classes in their own area – we even had some enquiries from overseas.
That cemented our belief that we’d found a real gap in the market, so a few years later we started our franchising journey.
As I write this in December 2023, we have 4 franchisees in the UK, 1 in Barbados, and are just about to launch a 5th UK franchisee early in 2024, with more in the pipeline.
We’ve also met some lovely people along the way, to whom we’ll be forever grateful.
And as for Will?
He’s continued to play cricket as he’s grown up, and at 16 he now plays in the first team for his school, as well as a local club.
His love of cricket, the cute toddler moments of him with my gardening gloves on and using anything he could as a bat or ball – and even the perhaps not-so-cute teenage moments when he’s playing cricket now – are the reasons Cricket tots even exists.
And while we’re incredibly proud of everything we’re doing with Cricket tots, Steve and I are even prouder of Will – as a son, a cricketer, and our muse.
PS. While I have yet to work out how the Aussie I met and fell in love with all those years ago can be quite so chilled out, I’m pleased to say that I do know a little bit more about cricket these days!