Fresh from a season where women’s elite cricket received more exposure than ever before through Australia’s triumphant Women’s Ashes campaign and the ever-growing Rebel Women’s Big Bash League, female club and community cricket has enjoyed a 62 percent year-on-year increase in Queensland participation in 2017-18.
Queensland recorded 304,160 cricket participants in 2017-18, an increase of 10.77 percent from 2016-17, of which 33 percent were female players.
Australian and Queensland Cricket has prioritised the development of all-female competitions as a significant opportunity to grow the sport, with the Mackay Cricket Association (MCA) and Brisbane North Junior Cricket Association (BNJCA) two of many such success stories across Queensland.
The MCA has become a pioneer for women’s cricket in Regional Queensland through the development of both junior and senior all-female leagues. This has included the Mackay Heat Girls’ League, a four-team club-based tournament, and the MCA Women’s Cricket Competition, an eight-team competition, both run for the first time in 2017-18 and offering a direct pathway for female participation from junior to senior cricket.
MCA President Terry Doolan paid tribute to the Mackay community spirit in helping to develop women’s cricket in the region.
“Thanks to our hard-working volunteers, we have been able to establish competitions for both junior girls and senior women. The next challenge is maintaining the fantastic social element we have created, but also providing further opportunities through competition for players who want to progress through the pathway. We need to continue this strong growth in order to achieve that,” he said.
BNJCA has led the way for girls' cricket in Queensland, with their 37 teams, up from 16 in 2016-17, the largest all-girls association in the State. BNJCA Director of Girls Cricket Robert Bailey puts the success of their programs down to the changing mindset of female cricket in Australia.
“The real opportunity for us has been changing the paradigm of cricket from being a boy's game to a perfectly normal pursuit for girls. This has greatly assisted us in increasing female participation and encouraging more young girls to play the game.”
Queensland Cricket has also continued to drive the new Junior Cricket Formats, which were piloted in 2016 and implemented across the state in 2017, to greater align the sport with a participant’s age and ability.
Queensland Cricket General Manager of Game and Market Development John Stock highlighted the impact that the introduction of the new junior formats will have on the next generation of cricketers.
“More Queensland associations piloted the new junior formats two seasons ago than any other state, so we are ahead of the game in that respect. That has grown this coming season to over 92% of associations running the new formats.
“This will assist to ensure the next generation of young boys and girls enjoy cricket, improve skill acquisition and keep coming back. We need to continue to keep the game relevant to the audience it is trying to attract,” Stock said.
Queensland Cricket Chief Executive Officer Max Walters applauded the game’s clubs and associations who continue to develop and grow cricket across the state.
“We are very fortunate to support 57 associations and 196 clubs who provide outstanding experiences for junior cricketers in Queensland. We have seen from today’s census numbers that more Queenslanders are playing cricket than ever before, a fact that can be attributed to the passionate staff and volunteers who run the game.
“It is with great pride that we have seen our game grow over the last few years, and it is particularly pleasing to see the impact that showcasing elite women’s cricket has had on our female participation numbers. Our Queensland Fire and Brisbane Heat players are fantastic role models and we know their continued success will allow cricket to prosper for years to come,” Walters said.
About the Australian Cricket Census
The 2017-18 National Cricket Census is the fifteenth annual auditing of Australian cricket participation.
The census has become an important information tool for game development, setting targets, and monitoring successes and trends for the long‐term enhancement of Australian cricket.
In 2017-18 we automated the majority of the data collection and have increased the accuracy of the information relative to previous years.
“Total participation” is defined as a combination of a school program participant and a player.
A “School program participant” is someone who participates for at least 4 sessions in a formal school cricket program.
A “player’ is defined as someone who competes in a cricket competition whether at school, club or indoor at least 4 times or a registered player in a club entry level program for at least 4 sessions.
The 2017-18 census has been compiled by compiling data from CA systems and are then ratified by specialist researcher Street Ryan in partnership with Cricket Australia and each of the eight State and Territory Cricket Associations.
Each association is responsible for recording the number of programs, teams and registered players within their state/territory.
Cricket Australia’s junior participation programs are supported by Woolworths in 2018-19 and the Australian Government via the Australian Sports Commission. The Government support aims to get children healthy and active through participation in sport.
Street Ryan is responsible for the collection of participation figures for Australia’s major sports, including AFL, NRL, ARU, basketball, hockey and golf.