A new record for cricket participation was set across New South Wales and the ACT last season.
Almost 438,000 men and women, boys and girls of all ages took to the field over summer, an increase of six percent on the previous season.
This included an increase of more than 10,000 extra women and girls taking up the game for the first time.
About 30 percent of cricket participants are now female across NSW and around Australia.
Cricket NSW General Manager of Community Cricket, Ivan Spyrdz, is delighted with the latest increase.
“It’s fantastic that more people are playing and participating in cricket across NSW and ACT than ever before,” Mr Spyrdz said.
“We’ve never had more children, particularly girls, playing and sampling cricket in schools than we’ve had this year.
“To have a record result of 437,854 participants across NSW and ACT is brilliant, and shows cricket is very healthy.
“There is a new generation of young players who are falling in love with our game. That’s due to a range of reasons including a growing Women’s Big Bash League, emerging and engaging role models such as Alyssa Healy, and a resurgence in our international performances across all formats.”
The one area where numbers fell was men and women’s senior club cricket.
“After our recent efforts on increasing school participation, we have turned our focus towards providing more leadership and support towards clubs. They are the heart and soul of our sport,” Mr Spyrdz said.
“Overall, we understand this year has been tough for club cricket. We’ve particularly seen drops in player numbers in drought affected areas, and Cricket NSW is working on ways of helping those most impacted by the drought.
“Cricket has been through a tough year or so but there is a lot of excitement about how the game has rebounded, and the season ahead looks very promising for community cricket.
“What’s really promising is the continuing diversity within community cricket. Where Cricket NSW and clubs have worked together we are seeing real growth in female, all abilities and multicultural participation, which is a great reflection of our Australian communities through cricket.
Cricket Australia and Cricket NSW have invested heavily in grass roots cricket over the past year or so.
“We’ve always worked closely with our cricket clubs, and now with more resources available within Cricket NSW, the focus is directly on assisting our great volunteers build thriving clubs and competitions across NSW," said Mr Spyrdz.
“In twelve months Cricket NSW Community Cricket has increased the number of staff leading and serving the NSW and ACT cricket communities from 36 to 86. The great thing is that as a result we have increased our staff in the communities who work directly with clubs and volunteers.
“Of the 86 staff now in Cricket NSW Community Cricket, 76 are in the field. That’s direct support to our valued volunteers and clubs. This is unprecedented support for our communities, and support we are very proud to provide.”
“The major intake of 34 new staff joined Cricket NSW during February this year and have spent the last four months meeting with their communities and preparing for a massive year ahead for cricket.
“With such a large cricket family of clubs and volunteers, there may be a chance you haven’t met your local Cricket Manager just yet, but I can guarantee you will sometime soon. Of course we encourage all clubs to reach out to Cricket NSW if you need assistance now.”