Cricket named number one in Australia

GROWTH: Samoa Vs Cricket Without Borders during the ICC EAP Women's Trophy at Sano Grounds on May 10, 2014 in Sano, Japan. Picture: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

GROWTH: Samoa Vs Cricket Without Borders during the ICC EAP Women's Trophy at Sano Grounds on May 10, 2014 in Sano, Japan. Picture: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

CRICKET has been named the number one sport in Australia, with the highest participation on record. 

Cricket Australia said they have seen an eight and a half per cent increase since 2014-15 while female participation is also on the rise. 

Female participation reached record figures in 2015-16, growing nine per cent to 314,936 participants – 24 per cent of all participants in the sport, including 581 girls and women’s teams playing 11-a-side cricket at clubs.

Horsham Cricket Association president Tim Hopper said he has seen a growth at junior level but not at a senior level in the Wimmera. 

“From the juniors up to the under-16s we have definitely seen an increase,” he said. 

“People are starting to come back for the seniors but not as much as we would like.” 

Hopper said older players seem to drop off due to other available activities. 

“Technology probably has a bit to do with it, wanting to play computer games rather than be out in the real world,” he said. 

“Summer is a time where locally we have access to more water sports too.” 

Hopper said he believes women’s cricket has grown. 

“Cricket has been over 10 years ahead of the AFL with women’s teams,” he said. 

“A lot more girls are starting to play at Milo level. 

“The Big Bash getting televised has given it more exposure.” 

A new cricket program for Wimmera girls will start on November 6 and will run for six weeks. 

Hopper said he believes the exposure has helped improve junior numbers within his association. 

“Exposure is what you need in any sport,” he said. 

“They are watching the games in prime time in the Christmas period which is exciting for the juniors.” 

Wimmera Mallee Cricket Association president Anthony Hogan said the numbers in his association have been static. 

“I wouldn’t say there has been an increase but the junior and Milo cricket is certainly holding its own. The dry years haven’t helped in the farming community,” he said. 

The Horsham Cricket Association’s new season will start on October 15 while the Wimmera Mallee will start on October 22. 

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