Due to the efforts of volunteers across NSW and the ACT, combined with an uplift in Community Cricket staff in early 2019, Cricket NSW has recorded an increase in participation for the 2019-20 season.

Woolworths Cricket Blast, Junior teams and social cricket offerings led the increase. Woolworths Cricket Blast, Australian Cricket’s National Entry Level Program, saw NSW/ACT achieve an increase of 34% in participation to 16,001, with girls increasing 56%.

The result is pleasing for Cricket NSW when reflecting back over a season full of disruption due to bushfires, heatwaves, floods and the impact of COVID-19. Despite these disruptions, registered participation increased 1.2%, helping reverse four years of registered participation contraction.

“A massive thanks goes to all the volunteers and stakeholders who not only navigated their way through a very challenging season, but had the courage and strength to look for ways to work collaboratively and partner with Cricket NSW to grow cricket”, said Ivan Spyrdz, General Manager, Community Cricket.

“Running a cricket club is not an easy task, particularly when faced with natural disasters and disruption to communities such as we’ve seen. The way many of our clubs and associations embraced our staff uplift to work together to get through the season was really the key to cricket’s success in NSW and the ACT. We love working closely with our clubs and are delighted that those we worked closely with saw such positive results so quickly.

“We also understand that not every club or association saw growth, and that is the continuing challenge we accept. Despite the situation surrounding us all due to COVID-19, we will continue to work with all our clubs and stakeholders for shared success, and ultimately see more people playing and loving cricket.”

Female cricket also continued to blossom in 2019-20 with another 10% growth in female registered participation, notably driven by social offerings, with 22,930 female registered participation enjoying cricket during the 2019-20 season.

“We continue to see female cricketers join our sport in strong numbers. Whether it be our youngest players signing up for the first time in record numbers via Woolworths Cricket Blast, or our senior players enjoying new social offerings being introduced across the state, we are delighted at having more female players, volunteers and administrators in our game,” Mr Spyrdz said.

Overall NSW/ACT is once again the No.1 state for participation in Australian Cricket, with 493,121 participating. This is a 12.3% increase, amounting to 53,815 on the previous year’s mark of 439,306. NSW/ACT also had the highest total number of females with 157,399, making up 31.9% of state participation during 2019/20. This is up from 124,857 the previous season, an increase of 32,542.

The increase in overall participation is a result of sharper focus by the increased Community Cricket staff on areas of impact, better planning and alignment with clubs, associations and schools and leveraging a large 2019 winter of cricket.

“Whilst it’s great to see overall participation grow, the most enjoyable takeout from this year is the growth of the partnership between the cricket communities and Cricket NSW. This partnership has lead to many great outcomes that aren’t measured in the census, like increased use of technology including on-line registrations and live game e-scoring, significant uptake in Active Kids Voucher usage, increased facility investment and grant allocations, increased competition offerings for the wider public and an overall sense of collaboration within cricket.

“These things combined with a range of other initiatives are aimed at providing support and efficiency to volunteers, therefore reducing their time on things that take them away from enjoying the game of cricket.

“We acknowledge that in the past we haven’t been able to provide the service and support to our cricket communities that we would like, and we now feel we are much better placed to listen, learn and support them where ever we can to continue to grow cricket within clubs.”