FEMALE participation in sport is on the up and a Kelty cricketer says her game is no exception - but that it still needs more support.

And Kate Wheway is keen to utilise her role as captain of the ladies section at one of Scotland's most recognisable clubs as a means of introducing more of the fairer sex to the crease.

Kate, whose day job is as a musician with the Royal Marines Band that is based in Rosyth, is the leading lady with Watsonians Cricket Club, who are holding their first cricket festival with teams from across the country playing in a Twenty20 format this weekend.

Taking place on Sunday at Myreside and Craiglockhart cricket fields in Edinburgh, Kate has been encouraged by the response and hopes it will become an annual event.

She said: "Originally six teams showed an interest but now seven teams have entered, so we will have a round robin event – two leagues of teams playing each other with the winner of each league featuring in the final later that day.

"We are obviously keeping our fingers crossed for good weather but we do have contingency plans for an indoor tournament nearby if necessary."

She believes that the tournament, which opens the calendar for Scottish women's cricket, is another promising step towards Cricket Scotland, the game's governing body, increasing female participation by 20 per cent within the next two years.

Last month, Dunfermline and Carnegie Cricket Club president Richie Barclay spoke of his desire to increase female membership with the club in the hope of creating a female team, and said that they offered cricket for both males and females of all ages and abilities.

Kate, who moved to West Fife in 2013, took on the captaincy with the Edinburgh club last year and said: "My dad was a cricketer in Derbyshire and I felt like having a go, so he's absolutely chuffed that I stuck at it!

"I got an email through about having a go and seeing about getting involved with a ladies team. It's been developing over the last 2-3 years and I took over as captain last September, and there's been a good influx of girls. We want to try and encourage more women from around 13 upwards and develop the game at grassroots level.

"It is encouraging to see women's cricket growing in Scotland. We've had 14 new girls since October train through the winter season; we are going places but the women's game needs more of a push.

"I think women's sport generally needs to try and create more opportunities and be accessible for everybody, but there is a starting point with the Cricket Scotland 'All-Stars' programme, which is aimed at juniors, from around seven years upwards, for girls and boys."

The 'All Stars' initiative, which Dunfermline and Carnegie are also involved in, will see an eight-week programme begin this month for children aged between 5-8 to enjoy a first, fun experience of cricket in a safe and inclusive environment at clubs across the country.

Kate, who has served with the Royal Marines for 12 years, added: "We're looking to use our knowledge and drive to encourage more people to come along, who may bring their friends, and will have a tumbleweed effect.

"We want to show girls that they can do as much as boys."

Nicola Wilson, the Girls' and Women's Participation Manager for Cricket Scotland, is hopeful that members of the Scottish International Women's Cricket Team, The Wildcats, will be present at the event, that will also see Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP present the winning team with their trophy.

Admission is free of charge and a Softball Cricket tournament will also be organised for school girls’ participation aged 8-16.

The first matches of this all-day event will be underway at 9.30am and, for more information about it and the club, contact Kate at watsonianladiescc@gmail.com.