Cricket Australia released its National Cricket Census figures today for the 2017-18 season.  One of the key highlights of the census revealed that 30 percent of cricket’s participant base are female, translating to six in every 10 new participants.
 
This participation increase is one of the highest year-on-year growth figures Cricket Australia has experienced. The census also revealed a record breaking 1,558,821 Australians have actively engaged in cricket competitions or programs - an increase on 9 percent from the previous year.
 
This includes 854,951 participants engaging in cricket programs in schools and 703,870 players engaging in regular competitions or club-based programs at junior and senior level across Australia.

The NT has a small population but definitely packs a punch per capita when it comes to success and providing opportunities for players to progress through the cricket pathway to higher honours. In the last year alone, Tabatha Saville made her debut in the WNCL, D’Arcy Short was selected for the Australian T20 Squad and One Day Squad to tour England.  Kane Richardson was selected in the Australian ODI squad, and Jake Weatherald was included in the National Development Squad.

Overall the NT census figures demonstrated 24,138 participants and 8954 registered players.  The NT Participation statistics also note that 33% of our NT cricketers are Indigenous, thanks to the work being done in remote centres and communities to introduce people to cricket through clinics, school programs and carnivals.  The growth of women and girls’ cricket is encouraging across the NT with 33% of our participants being female.  The Junior female players saw an increase of 29% over the season to bring the player total to 1099, most of whom were new to the game and involved in Entry Level Programs no doubt generated through the excitement of the WBBL.

NT Cricket saw growth in Coaches and Umpires during the census period, accrediting more Community Coaches thanks to Cricket Australia offering free courses in 2017-18.  Multicultural participation also rose with the formation of the Top End and Alice Springs Asian Cup tournaments, engaging new players in the game and forming relationships with the multicultural communities across the Territory.  The Imparja Cup and remote Cricket Carnivals continue to grow and develop our Indigenous cricketers and provide opportunities for remote based players to play competitive and social cricket as well as take part in clinics.

School Programs continue to flourish across the major centres and the development of girls and women’s only opportunities saw the rise of female players participating in programs across the NT.  Alice Springs hosted the Summer League for girls and women, comprising T20 and 50 over formats which was a great success.  The Darwin region developed the Top End Women’s League and the Girls’ Sunset League to introduce new female players to the game.

Across the Northern Territory, 67% of junior associations have adopted the junior formats and continue to try to build their player base and offer opportunities for young players to grow and develop their game.
 
Speaking on the results, NT Cricket’s Chief Executive Officer, Joel Morrison, said:

“NT Cricket has performed well over the past 12 months with increases in our total playing numbers, and by providing opportunities for more women and girls to play.  We’re looking forward to capitalising on this foundation as we look to grow cricket in the north.

“The success of the NT Men’s and Women’s Strike League this year showcased cricket in the north to the rest of Australia and the opportunities that exist for people to play and develop their cricket outside the southern summer cricket season.

We’re also excited at the potential to grow the women’s game as we capitalise on the work being done in entry-level programs and social cricket, with the aim to consolidate regular playing opportunities for women and girls.

“Our Indigenous Cricket Carnivals continue to be a highlight for cricket in the north, and the opportunity to have the Imparja Cup, National Indigenous Cricket Championships, and the men’s Big Bash League played together in Alice Springs in 2019 is something for cricket fans to get really excited about.”