Volunteer dedication in the face of adversity and strong community networks have helped Queensland lead the charge nationally in junior cricket participation.
 
As part of the 2021-22 Australian Cricket Census, Queensland recorded a seven percent growth in Junior Club Cricket participation numbers and a 16% increase overall in club cricket participation.
 
The increase in numbers is compared to the 2019-20 season, the last census to be conducted without the adjustment of COVID-19 on reporting.
 
For the second season in a row, Australian Cricket overall reported an increase in the juniors registered to play club cricket
 
The census revealed national junior club registrations rose to 114,400 from 109,400 in 2020-21. This was also an increase from 107,500 in 2019-20, the most recent season when there was no COVID disruption. 
 
The increase in the number of players registered for junior cricket came despite the enormous challenges all sports have faced keeping young participants active. 
 
This was testament to the dedication of local volunteers whose workload was increased by COVID-19 protocols and, in Queensland and NSW, the floods and adverse weather conditions which devastated many regions. 
 
The Cricket Census revealed thousands of players returned to cricket across the country in 2021-22 with total registered participation growing year-on-year by 11% from 539,424 to 598,931.
 
However, recovery from the pandemic has been slower in other areas as Indoor and Schools cricket begin to rebound from two years of restrictions.
 
Queensland recorded 103,912 registered players across the census period.
 
Australian Cricket has targeted the need to attract more first-time participants as a key strategic priority, with Woolworths Cricket Blast and entry-level junior participant numbers reduced by almost 15,000 following the past two COVID-impacted seasons. 
 
Queensland Cricket CEO Terry Svenson thanked the State’s volunteers for their unstinting efforts to keep cricket healthy and vibrant.
 
“There has been challenge after challenge thrown at the volunteers at the coalface of the game and they have responded magnificently, ensuring thousands of people could play cricket in safe, fun and inclusive environments,’’ he said.
 
“QC has ensured that wherever possible, we have been available to help our clubs and associations to rebuild, regroup and renew. COVID, floods and adverse weather conditions haven’t made things easy, but to see Australian Cricket rebound solidly is very encouraging for everyone involved.
 
“We know there is work to be done – attracting more first-time participants is vital for the health of cricket – and we will work alongside Cricket Australia and the grassroots cricket community to achieve this,” Svenson said.
 
Queensland Cricket General Manager of Government Relations, Infrastructure & Community Cricket, Geoff Teys, said supportive partnerships between cricket and key stakeholders had been beneficial during the census period.
 
“It is very pleasing to note that the Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund has provided record investment in Queensland with the highest number of successful projects (66) and a record in approved grants ($1.81m), with over 50% of successful applications within regional areas,’’ he said. 
 
“The funding will contribute toward almost $20 million of projects and has been well supported by Federal, State and Local Government, providing much needed cricketing infrastructure to ensure boys and girls all over Queensland have opportunities to play cricket,” he said.
 
The second National Cricket Survey was conducted in conjunction with the Australian Cricket Census. Key findings included:
 
•            Satisfaction among players remained positive with both senior (+51) and junior club players (+51) surveyed returning high Net Promoter Scores.  
•            Satisfaction among volunteers declined from a Net Promoter Score of +30 to +22 as the challenges of COVID emphasised the need to provide strong support for at local level including improved digital technology. 
•            79% of all cricketers indicated they were extremely likely to continue playing beyond the next 12 months.
•            Despite COVID challenges there was a high retention rate among volunteers (75%), coaches (66%) and accredited umpires (70%).
•            There is growing interest in shorter and/or flexible formats particularly among adult players.
 
The 2021-22 Australian Cricket Census is the 20th 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 longā€term enhancement of Australian cricket.
 
The Census only includes formal participants in organised competitions and programs. It does not include participants in cricket activities which do not meet a minimum program requirement of four weeks/games duration.
 
The Census is compiled by the Community Cricket department at Cricket Australia and each State and Territory Cricket association, and an independent validation of the process and results is conducted by Street Ryan Consulting.