How a cohesive approach in a country region has taken junior girls cricket from 0 to 100.
The surge of interest in cricket continues to become evident as knowledge arrives from innovative methods being applied to encourage participation. As sports clamber to find the next entry level program of interest to keep primary school age children active, interested and engaged, Warrnambool & District Cricket Association (WDCA) has achieved an impact of significance with a girls competition not played before. A recent encounter with Andrew Sloane (Program Manager at South West Sport and a WDCA Director) at a Vicsport event uncovered this knowledge.
The WDCA recognised a level of interest, were mindful of not overloading club volunteers and developing an environment where new volunteers could find their way to be involved.
From the initial awareness of 6 local clubs and a neighbouring association, assisted with funding from Cricket Australia and support from Cricket Victoria and the Western Waves, a series of practice sessions were scheduled. Stephanie Townsend, the WDCA Female Renegades Ambassador, travelled to clubs to conduct practice sessions and share her experience of playing at Premier Cricket level.
Following this contact, cohesion and energy, 100 participants were unearthed and formed into a competition. Credit is due to the WDCA for the innovation in creating a competition by not falling into the application of traditional thinking.
The season was structured to cover six rounds from November 9th to December 14th on a Wednesday evening. The age groups U16 and U13. Matches started at 5pm, consisting of 16 overs each, modified rules and played over three grounds. For the top two teams in U16 a final is to be played on Australia Day weekend as part of the Sungold T20 Tournament.
“Cricket is a sport for all, the steps that the WDCA have taken sets the foundation for a successful and sustainable junior and eventually, senior female competition.” – Andrew Sloane (WDCA Cricket Delegate)
The WDCA will look to build on their inaugural season with additional clubs already expressing interest in fielding female teams in 2017/2018. The process is fluid however, and with growth will come continued learnings. The challenge for the WDCA, and many other sports in the modern era, will be the need to strike a balance of innovation, stability, and adapting to its participants needs.
Purpose: To introduce girls cricket to the Warrnambool region.
Strategy: Create interest with a cohesive approach amongst stakeholders & activate an ambassador.
Innovation: Wednesday evening, modified rules, quality grounds and facilities used.