In a historic move, all eight local premier clubs in Canberra have signed up to take part in a revamped women’s first grade competition which will feature four combined teams made up of Weston Creek/Tuggeranong, Eastlake/Queanbeyan, Ginninderra/North-Canberra Gungahlin and Western District/ANU.
Cricket ACT is also pleased to announce the introduction of a second division, providing more opportunities than ever for women to play cricket across the region. Whilst clubs are currently recruiting for players, the second division is likely to feature between six and eight teams.
This is the first time all eight premier clubs will be involved in the women’s competition at the same time and is a ground-breaking step in creating a high quality and sustainable local competition. The changes have been put in place to help retain local players, provide a positive playing experience for all levels, and develop the next generation of elite cricket players.
The first grade competition will also be strengthened by the inclusion of contracted Abode Hotels ACT Meteors players who will be distributed between the four teams when available around their Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) and Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) commitments.
The restructure is a significant uplift from the previous six-team one division structure, with ACT Meteor Erin Osborne excited by the changes.
“This is great stride forward to help prepare our emerging female talent to compete at the next level and close the gap between club cricket and the WNCL and WBBL,” said Osborne.
ACT Meteors Head Coach and Cricket ACT Female Pathway Manager Jonathon Dean was looking forward to seeing the Meteors further integrating with local clubs.
“A number of the Meteors already have a connection with local clubs, but having all contracted players put their hands up to play club cricket here in Canberra is a great result across the board,” said Dean.
“Improving the quality of the local competition will also provide further match play for the Meteors and in turn gives local players the opportunity to improve and learn from the region’s best.
“The introduction of a second division will also provide a safe and welcoming environment for both existing players as well as those who have always wanted to give a cricket a go but didn’t want to step straight into first grade.”
Canberra is fast becoming a talent hotspot for emerging female talent with strong representative results across the regional last season. The ACT Under 15 Emerging Meteors claimed victory in the Margaret Peden Shield while the ACT Aces won the inaugural NSW Women’s Regional Bash in a great reflection of the increased investment made in recent years into female pathway programs.
The rising popularity of cricket with girls in the ACT was also evident in the recent Australian Cricket Census with a 21.4% increase in registered junior club and Woolworths Cricket Blast participation in 2020/21 despite a COVID-19 impacted year.
Eastlake Cricket Club President Damian Eaton said the new competition structure was welcome by the local cricket community.
“The restructure will strengthen the ACT women’s competition to an unprecedented level and will establish an exciting pathway from junior and senior club cricket through to our high performance programs.” said Eaton.
The introduction of two divisions is the first step in a three-year plan to significantly increase the number of women playing cricket across Canberra, whilst also offering a complete pathway for emerging talent to progress to the next level.
Both divisions will get underway on Saturday 16th October and will play a combination of One Day and Twenty20 cricket throughout the season. The first grade Twenty20 Grand Final will also be played at Canberra’s premier cricket venue, Manuka Oval, on Sunday 13th February.
Interested in playing women’s cricket? Contact your local club for details