The 2016-17 National Cricket Census has revealed that for the second year running New South Wales is leading the way in the promotion and development of grassroots cricket in Australia, with 27% of the 1,429,529 national cricket-playing participants coming from the NSW/ACT region.

This equates to 394,706 girls and boys, women and men playing Australia’s favourite sport, thanks to the targeted, strategic initiatives aimed at making the game more accessible and relatable to new, growing audiences including girls and children from the ages of 6 – 12.

Key highlights for NSW/ACT include:

- The number one state in driving female participation, with 96,991 female participants.

- The number one state in junior participants (girls and boys under the age of 12), with 236,619

- The number one state in multicultural participation in Club Cricket and school programs, with more than 70,000 participants

- The number one state in overall participation, with 394,706 participants

Ivan Spyrdz, General Manager for Game Development at Cricket NSW, was delighted at the results achieved as a result of some of the innovations driven by the state.

“It’s fantastic to see NSW and ACT leading the country again this year. It’s a great reflection on the wonderful hardworking volunteers within our cricket communities who work alongside our Game Development staff to grow and drive cricket,” Sprydz said.

“To be able to capture the growing interest in cricket within local associations, clubs and schools is a tough but highly rewarding job, and highlights the strength of community within cricket, particularly as we welcome more girls and women our code.”

NSW led the way in piloting the new Junior Formats program early in the 2016/17 season which is now being rolled out across the country. The new Junior Formats are the foundation block of the Australian Cricket Pathway, and provide the essential steps from entry level to junior participation in the game.

Based on a staged approach which tailors the game age-appropriately, the Junior Formats ensure that all children are developing the required skills in a fun and action-packed way.

In the female space NSW is no stranger to blazing the trail, leading with the professionalisation of the elite state team the Lendlease Breakers in the 2016/17 season, a full season ahead of the other states, while using the WBBL½01 winning Sydney Thunder and WBBL½02 winning Sydney Sixers to promote the sport to girls through initiatives like the Milo T20 Blast. NSW also recorded massive growth of 58% in girls’ club cricket.

Spyrdz continues, “Initiatives like the new Junior Formats and the alignment of the Milo T20Blast to our hugely successful male and female BBL teams are already bearing fruit, by making the sport more palatable and relatable to new audiences. This reinvention is essential to the future of our sport and we are proud to have taken the lead in driving this.”

Andrew Jones, Cricket NSW CEO concludes, “Cricket NSW is committed to leading in all areas of cricket, on and off the field. We are especially proud that we are number one for participation for women and girls. The Lendlease Breakers and our two WBBL teams are the benchmark in world cricket and we are delighted so many girls want to emulate their heroes by playing our great game."