Cricket Australia today released its annual census for the 2015-16 period, recording 1,311,184 participants nation-wide, with the tremendous and nation-leading growth of the sport in WA a cornerstone of that achievement.
An increase of 20.38 per cent in participation numbers in all forms of cricket last year had 167,477 people take part in the sport across the state.
The year-on-year growth continued a trend for WA, which has also recorded the greatest growth in participation of all states and territories over the past five years, with its 16.32 per cent increase ahead of the second-strongest growth region of Queensland (11.80 per cent).
The census data showed encouraging signs in cricket’s endeavour to be Australia’s favourite sport and a sport for all Australians, with both nation-wide and state-wide growth across all key diversity demographics.
The release of the 2015-16 Australian Cricket Census coincides with National PlayCricket Registration Drive, Australian Cricket’s national participation campaign that calls on Australians to sign up to play cricket in 2016. Visit www.playcricket.com.au for more information.
WACA CEO Ms Christina Matthews said: "Cricket’s growth over the past 12 months has been extremely positive, both from a national and state perspective.
"The WACA and WA cricket as a whole has invested significant time and energy in helping make our game as accessible as possible to as many people as possible, so to lead the country in year-on-year growth is not only a point of pride, but also a reassurance that the work we are doing is helping to achieve that goal.
"However, the census figures also show that we have a ways to go in cricket’s appeal to certain participants and, in particular, we must ensure we continue our endeavours to attract female players to our game.
"We have almost achieved gender parity across school participants in WA and it must now be a focus for us to transition those girls through to the older age groups.
"I commend the WACA’s Game and Market Development team for their initiative in introducing the inaugural Under-13’s division to the Perth Scorchers Girls League, which for the first time provided girls with an option prior to the existing Under-15’s competition and generated five new teams and 50 new participants to the modified eight-a-side league.
"Cricket must ensure it celebrates its successes and there are some extremely positive signs in the latest census figures, but we must equally not shy away from the challenges ahead and I look forward to seeing how our ongoing activities across the state help to grow the game even further in this upcoming year.”
Female participation across 2015-16 accounted for almost a quarter of Australian cricket’s figures and WA again played a key role in the goal of achieving gender balance, with 51,851 girls and women playing the sport across the state - a leap of 26.73 per cent on the previous period’s numbers.
The WACA’s increased investment in school-based Extended Skills Programs and the nation-leading Perth Scorchers School Ambassador program have already proven successful in closing that gender equality gap among the younger age groups, with girls totalling 48,595 – 45.66 per cent – of all school participants across WA.
It was another positive result for the school-based system, which continued to achieve strong engagement from students with the introduction of state and national finals for primary school boys and girls and the MILO T20Blast School Cup for those across Years 7 and 8.
The WACA last year instigated a targeted initiative designed to provide a visible pathway for girls from the school-aged MILO T20Blast program into the club system, which gave rise to the new Under-13’s division of the Perth Scorchers Girls League and led to the addition of five teams in girls club cricket.
That growth at the grassroots levels has begun to translate into the older age groups, however, female participation in WA remained imbalanced at 30.96 per cent of overall numbers and will continue to be a focus for the WACA and Australian cricket as a whole.
Aboriginal participation continued to grow across WA, rising 27.20 per cent from 2014-15 to 8,535 participants and the AvonWest program, operating out of Northam and in its tenth year, continued to play a vital role in the region.
Participation in female Aboriginal cricket grew, with WA having now competed at four National Indigenous Cricket Championships and this year achieving three selections for the Women’s Australian Black Caps team, which completed a tour of India in May.
WA also had two players selected for the men’s Black Caps squad.
There was strong growth in disability cricket during 2015-16, with a 126.04 per cent increase on the previous season and the WACA successfully secured a grant from the Disability Services Commission to develop an association for cricketers with a disability, which launched as the Integrated Cricket League (ICL).
Established community cricket clubs will develop teams to compete in the ICL, just as they do for other grades and formats, with two clubs having become involved in the program during 2015-16 and that number expected to expand this year in the lead up to the National Cricket Inclusion Championships in Victoria in January.
School programs also continued to grow with assistance from SEDA students, who underwent Disability Awareness and Inclusion Training and used their knowledge to take the sport to Education Support Centres across the metro region, helping to increase the accessibility of cricket for people with a disability
Concerted efforts from the WACA and WA clubs in strengthening the club cricket system paid dividends, with the organised competitions lifting numbers by 12.82 per cent to 41,154 participants across the state.
The rise comes off the back of the introduction of the WACA’s award-winning Volunteer Management Framework and membership to the Top Club program, both of which have been designed to provide clubs with a blueprint and clear templates in engaging members, creating a vision, setting behaviour expectations and attracting and retaining the invaluable volunteer base.
The success of the KFC Big Bash League in taking cricket to new audiences and inspiring the next generation of Australian cricketers was again on show, with the MILO pathway programs of in2CRICKET (boys and girls, aged 5-8 years old) and T20Blast (boys and girls aged 7-12 years old) both experiencing increases in participation.
Both programs have been aligned to BBL and WBBL clubs across the country, assisting in growing the formats’ profile and attendance, however, the WACA’s delivery of targeted parent and volunteer education sessions also proved valuable in attracting participants, with a combined surge of 32.83 per cent to 8,792 children taking part in T20Blast and in2CRICKET across WA.
2015-16 National Cricket Census Key Findings
- Total Participants Breakdown
- 167,477 total participants. A growth of 20.38 per cent.
- 106,416 school participants. A growth of 20.17 per cent.
- 41,154 club and community participants. A growth of 12.82 per cent.
- Junior Participation Pathway
- 4,593 MILO in2CRICKET participants. A growth of 10.9 per cent.
- 4,199 MILO T20Blast participants. A growth of 68.7 per cent.
- 51,851 female participants. A growth of 26.73 per cent.
- 8,535 Aboriginal participants. A growth of 27.20 per cent.
- 29,061 multicultural participants. A growth of 112.27 per cent.
- 2,439 all-abilities participants. A growth of 126.04 per cent.
- Total Participants Breakdown
- 1,311,184 total participants. A growth of 8.5 per cent.
- 675,882 school participants. A growth of 7.48 per cent.
- 454,657 club and community participants. A growth of 9.53 per cent.
- Junior Participation Pathway
- 40,245 MILO in2CRICKET participants. A growth of 6.80 per cent.
- 21,600 MILO T20Blast participants. A growth of 63.30 per cent.
- 314,936 female participants. A growth of 8.39 per cent.
- 36,900 Indigenous participants. A growth of 39.63 per cent.
- 187,816 multicultural participants. A growth of 28.06 per cent.
- 17,492 disability participants. A growth of 69.96 per cent.
National PlayCricket Registration Drive
PlayCricket is about inspiring all Australians to get involved, no matter who you are, where you’ve come from or whether you’ve ever picked up a bat or ball.
At playcricket.com.au, people can find out all they need to know about how to get involved, from junior participation, to veterans leagues to new shorter formats of the game. The website will put people in touch with clubs and indoor cricket centres that offer the type of cricket they’re looking for, relevant to their location.
The National PlayCricket Registration Drive is Australian Cricket’s annual call to players, new and returning, to sign up to their club for 2016. Visit www.playcricket.com.au for more information.
About the Australian Cricket Census
The 2015-16 Census is the fourteenth annual auditing of Australian cricket participation. The Cricket Census has become an important information system for game development, setting targets, and monitoring successes and trends for the long‐term enhancement of Australian cricket.
A "participant" is defined by the Australian Cricket Census as someone who participates in at least four sessions of a formal cricket program.
The 2015-16 census has been compiled by specialist researcher Street Ryan, with the cooperative efforts of Cricket Australia and each of the eight state and territory cricket associations.
The organisations are responsible for recording the number of programs, teams and registered players within their state/territory for each cricket program area.
Cricket Australia’s junior participation programs are supported by Nestlé and the Australian Government via the Australian Sports Commission. The Government support aims to get children healthy and active through participation in sport.
The WACA’s initiatives to facilitate involvement in cricket for all Western Australians are also proudly supported by the WA State Government.
Street Ryan is responsible for the collection of participation figures for Australia’s major sports, including AFL, NRL, ARU, basketball, hockey and golf.