The rising popularity of cricket with women and girls saw a growth (+13%) in registered players, the biggest growth across Australia, and a significant (+28%) increase in girls playing Woolworths Cricket Blast and Junior Club Cricket.
This increase can be directly attributed to the outstanding effort of so many clubs and associations across the State working in partnership with the WACA Community Cricket Team and its Affiliates to drive innovative programs and new competitions for women and girls.
The impact of the pandemic on cricket across the State was inevitable. Modelling done to reflect the direct impact of COVID showed that if all competitions and programs run in 2019-20 also ran in 2020-21 and weren’t cancelled as a result of COVID (especially across indoor cricket and organised school competitions) it is estimated registered participation would have actually increased by 2,000 (+3.4%).
To reflect the direct COVID impact however, where cricket could be played in 2020-21 a direct comparison to 2019-20 showed an increase in registered participation (+3.4%).
Where competitions were able to proceed, the lift in numbers among some juniors, females and Woolworths Cricket Blast were thanks largely to the efforts of volunteers who successfully negotiated the extra burdens imposed by strict bio-security regulations and restrictions.
Another priority for the WACA continues to be on working to ensure cricket is a sport for all. This has seen 38% of overall club registrations comprising of people from multicultural backgrounds and nearly 2% being people with disabilities. These are the largest percentages in the country. The percentage of registered Aboriginal participation in clubs also sits at 2%.
Among the notable points from the 2020-21 Australian Cricket Census:
- Cancellation of competitions and programs - due to the pandemic were felt most acutely in indoor cricket (-19.2%), organised school competitions (+55%), resulting in a total YoY decline in registered participation of -11.6%.
- Senior Club Cricket - decreased (-12.6%), the major cause was the cancellation of winter cricket and social competitions due to COVID. Registrations in summer Senior Cricket competitions held compared to 2019-20.
- Junior Club Cricket - a slight decrease in the number of kids registering (-2%) was buoyed by the number of girls (+53.5%) and the number of U12s boys teams (+8.3%) registering. The U12s boys teams is the highest increase across the country and an important foundation for continue participation in our older age groups.
- Woolworths Cricket Blast - participation held its numbers from 2019-20 across both club and community run programs with 7,500 girls and boys registered for both Junior and Master Blasters. With another strong increase (+12%) in the girls numbers.
- School Programs - the delivery of programs in schools was also significantly impacted due to COVID, with participation across all school programs declining by (-46%).
- Diversity - 38% of overall club registrations comprised of people from multicultural backgrounds and nearly 2% being people with disabilities. These are the largest percentages in the country.The percentage of registered Aboriginal participation in clubs also sits at 2%.
- National Player and Volunteer Survey - results revealed 92% of players surveyed in WA were satisfied with their overall experience and 72% were extremely likely to continue to play beyond 12 months.
- National Player and Volunteer Survey - 73% of volunteers said there was at least a 7/10 in likelihood to recommend volunteering in cricket to others and 73% indicated they were likely or very likely to continue volunteering.
Jo Davies, General Manager - Community Cricket, said:
“It’s pleasing to see so many West Australians were able to play cricket in a year that faced so many setbacks around the pandemic. This was only possible due to the incredible efforts of our dedicated volunteers and WACA staff across the State, and we want to thank all of them for their hard work.
“This year’s census has shown that despite a once-in-a-century pandemic, we have still seen growth in some areas and have maintained participation levels in others.
“Numbers for women and girls cricket continue to go from strength to strength, which is a sign that our ongoing focus on and significant investment in this area has been worth it.
“The Woolworths Community Fund greatly supported our efforts in getting new kids across the State involved in the WWCB program. It was great to see the expansion of this program in both club and community settings.”
The 2020-21 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 long‐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.