Driven by the incredible volunteer workforce across the region, junior club cricket participation grew by 4.1% last summer, the largest increase of any state and territory.

The rising popularity of cricket with girls also continued with a 21.4% increase in registered junior club and Woolworths Cricket Blast participation aided by the success of Australia’s World Champion Women’s Team, who were on show at Manuka Oval during the ICC T20 World Cup in early 2020, and the significant contribution from the Woolworths Community Fund.

Canberra also saw a 12.3% overall growth in Woolworths Cricket Blast registered participants, almost double the national average uplift of +6.4%.

Despite the rise in those numbers around children and girls, the inevitable impact of the pandemic and the subsequent cancellation of many tournaments and leagues, in particular indoor cricket, led to an overall year-on-year decline in registered participation of 11.4% across all forms of cricket from 13,300 to 11,700.

Where competitions were able to proceed, the lift in numbers among 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.

Cricket ACT CEO Olivia Thornton said the efforts of local volunteers and clubs should be applauded.

“To see so many young cricketers still able to a take the field last summer despite a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic is a testament to the strength of our local community and dedication of local staff from Cricket NSW and Cricket ACT,” Thornton said.

“I would like to say thank you to every volunteer, parent, player, official and staff member who kept our game going despite all the hurdles.

“We know that this coming summer won’t be without it’s challenges, however these results showcase that cricket is stronger than ever and together we can overcome anything that comes our way.”

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.