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Junior Cricket Clubs Registrations Increase Despite COVID-19

D
espite a severely disrupted season, participation in junior cricket club registrations increased by 24%, from 539,000 to 710,000.

Following the 2020/21 Australian Cricket Census, more kids were registering for club cricket and the Woolworths Cricket Blast despite the impact of COVID-19.

The game’s rising popularity for girls saw an increase of 17.5% in registrations for club and Woolworths cricket blast aided by the success of Australia’s World Champion Women’s Team and the significant contribution from Commonwealth Bank into The Next Innings program.

Cricket Australia’s Community Cricket executive general manager, James Allsopp, said the fact so many people took to the field is an “extraordinary outcome” in a pandemic and made possible by the incredible efforts of volunteers across the country.

“To all of them, I express my sincere gratitude,” he said.

“The results of the Australian Cricket Census prove that not even a once-in-a-century pandemic could dampen the community’s passion for our great game.

“Despite the COVID impact, 2% more kids chose to play club cricket and Woolworths Cricket Blast, driven by a national 17.5% increase in girl’s registrations across these competitions and programs.

“I would also like to thank everyone across Australian Cricket who contributed to a wonderful season conducted in the most trying of circumstances- from the medical and high-performance professionals who devised bio-security protocols that ensured a safe and successful summer; to the coaches, umpires, ground staff, scorers, players and others who kept the games going; to the families and friends who supported them through it all.

“This is what cricket is all about, and it’s what inspires everyone in our team to continue to listen, adapt and support the growth of cricket across our communities.”

Cricket Australia’s head of participation, Stuart Whiley, added: “Like all sports, we had some concern that the COVID-19 disruptions would have an impact on junior participation which would in turn jeopardise the long-term future of the game,” he said.

“Instead, the increase in kids registering reflected the tremendous efforts of volunteers as well as the popularity of Cricket.

“Despite the COVID impact, there are 70% more girls playing club cricket and Cricket Blast compared to 2016/17.

“Woolworths Cricket Blast registered participation has grown 21% since 2018/19.

“As importantly, the National Player and Participation Survey indicated kids are loving that experience.

“That is reflected across the sport with initiatives such as the popular junior formats helping increase retention rates.

“It’s now up to us to keep listening and driving initiatives that help our clubs and volunteers keep the game at the heart of local communities.”

The 2020/21 Australian Cricket Census is the 20th annual audit of Australian cricket participation and has become an essential measure for Community Cricket, setting targets and monitoring successes and trends for the long-term enhancement of Australian Cricket.