The 2019-20 Australian Cricket Census has delivered healthy news for Queensland with participation growth recorded in several key areas.
The Australian Cricket Census is the 19th annual audit of Australian cricket participation. The Census has become an important measure for Community Cricket, setting targets and monitoring successes and trends for the long‐term enhancement of Australian cricket.
The Census only includes formal participation in organised competitions and programs. It does not include participation in cricket activities which do not meet a minimum program requirement of four weeks/games duration.
The census findings saw Queensland report a total of 119,000 registered participants, an increase of 7.5% on comparable figures from last season. The figure includes those playing in registered programs, club cricket, indoor cricket, organised school cricket and organised social cricket options.
Queensland Cricket CEO Terry Svenson said the growth in participation was largely due to the dedication of the game’s volunteers in supporting and implementing Australian Cricket’s programs and competitions.
“The number of people in Queensland who choose to play the game they love is well and truly on the rise, and that is something to be celebrated,’’ he said.
“Our dedicated volunteers have kept cricket’s heartland in good shape, and to see solid growth in areas such as club cricket, junior participation and entry level programs like Woolworths Cricket Blast is very encouraging,’’ Svenson said.
Svenson said the increased emphasis on improved infrastructure, such as having more venues with flood lighting to enable family-friendly scheduling for Woolworths Cricket Blast, was partly responsible for the surge in entry level and junior numbers.
“Having their first experience at cricket on a Friday night under lights is increasingly becoming the norm for our youngest players and their families, which is why lighting of venues is a key strategic priority for Queensland Cricket and our clubs and associations around the State,’’ he said.
“As an organization we have been able to focus on helping to build healthy clubs that deliver more offerings, like the new junior formats, and that is helping us to retain and develop more players.”
High profile events such as the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup victory in March in front of 86,174 at the MCG and the WBBL Brisbane Heat clinching back-to-back titles during the summer assisted female participation numbers in Queensland to grow by 37 percent.
Svenson noted that there were many reasons why more girls and women were playing the game than ever.
“There were 12,700 women and girls who chose to play cricket in 2019-20 in Queensland and that is the result of inclusive competitions and programs as well as some outstanding role models from the Australian women’s team, the Queensland Fire and WBBL Heat, and the exciting brand of cricket they play.”
“With the men’s and women’s Ashes success also capturing the attention of the Australian public during the year, we also witnessed another surge in those youngsters just starting out in cricket.
“Woolworths Cricket Blast had a nine percent rise to provide 10,500 participants in Queensland, while our support in delivering cricket for teachers and schools ensured there was a 19.9 percent increase in school competitions with 18,400 boys and girls enjoying the game.
“On the schools front, it was particularly pleasing to see a record 180 teams enter the state-wide StreetSmarts Schools T20 Challenge this season, including an Open Girls division contest for the first time,’’ he said.
“There was also an important 22 percent increase in participants between 13 and 18 years old, with 14,800 boys and girls playing across various forms of organised cricket.”
“Our clubs and their volunteers work incredibly hard to attract and retain players and we congratulate them on a job well done.”
“In the current climate, it has also been very rewarding to report that Warehouse Cricket’s winter cricket competition that is currently underway in south-east Queensland has been enthusiastically received by the community.
“There is a four-team junior girls’ competition for the first time and more seniors and junior teams than previous years, so it is great to see so many players having the chance to get out and about to enjoy the game in a safe environment,” he said.
Svenson noted the expansion of social cricket within Queensland Cricket’s census figures.
“There were 34,600 senior participants, which was an increase of 8.5 percent, and included 15,900 who played senior social cricket. This highlights the important ability of clubs and associations to grow the game, and enable their community to connect, feel safe and accepted,’’ he said.
Belinda Clark, Cricket Australia’s Executive General Manager of Community Cricket, said Australian cricket would play an important role within the community in the coming months.
“Our focus is to continue to support the clubs and their local communities, make participation options more enjoyable and accessible and to make volunteering easier, particularly as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ she said.
Cricket is more than a sport and has a huge role to play in the coming summer to help re-connect communities after a challenging period. We’re focused on supporting volunteers to start when they can in a safe manner, along with providing fun, active, and social opportunities for the community to enjoy.”
About the Australian Census
CA is committed to improving and evolving the data collection and analysis that underpins the annual Australian Cricket Census.
The 2019-20 census was compiled by the Community Cricket department at Cricket Australia and each State and Territory Cricket association. An independent validation of the process and results was conducted by Street Ryan Consulting.
The Census data will continue to improve with technological advances, specifically the amount of players individually registering on Cricket Australia’s online platform, MyCricket.