Australia’s retention of the Men’s and Women’s Ashes has given registrations for the coming season a major boost ahead of national Play Cricket Week (August 21 to 28) which begins next week.
The Ashes created enormous interest across Australia emphasised by an early surge in the number of kids signing up for Woolworths Cricket Blast and Junior Cricket.
Woolworths Cricket Blast registrations are up 75 % nationally on this time last year and junior cricket registrations are up 13 % as Woolworths Cricket Blast centres and clubs prepare for a full summer of action.
Big Bash stars Joe Burns, Matthew Renshaw, Nicola Hancock, Jimmy Peirson and Michael Neser will also be in attendance to meet and inspire the next generation of cricketers ahead of a blockbuster summer of cricket with the Weber WBBL and KFC BBL.
The event welcomes local kids and families of all abilities to take part in on-field Woolworths Cricket Blast clinics and enjoy family-friendly activities.
This will be the start of an exciting week in which cricket competitions and programs are showcased across Australia.
During Play Cricket Week and throughout August, almost 150 Australian, State and Big Bash players will make appearances at community clubs, schools and special events to promote the benefits of cricket and help drive registrations for this summer.
Cricket Australia has also launched a new campaign, 'Imagine the Fun' to drive awareness and consideration to join the Woolworths Cricket Blast program.
In its five-year strategy, Cricket Australia has set the ambitious target of doubling the number of 5-12 year-olds playing cricket to ensure the game remains strong at all levels.
James Allsopp, CA General Manager of Community Cricket, Capability and Infrastructure said:
“Play Cricket Week is a really important time for the game as we look to get even more kids playing cricket,” he said.
“You could sense the excitement created by the Men’s and Women’s Ashes and it will happen again this home summer during the family-friendly Big Bash leagues. It’s really pleasing this inspires more kids to sign up for Woolworths Cricket Blast and Junior Cricket.
“Our participation and retention rates have remained strong but Australian Cricket has accepted the challenge of attracting more 5 to 12 year-olds to play cricket to ensure the game’s long-term health.
“In Play Cricket Week we will showcase all the things that make cricket great including some of the new features of Woolworths Cricket Blast that will make the program even more fun and engaging and the excitement of the Big Bash leagues.
“A big part of the week is connecting elite players with the grassroots and it's especially pleasing so many players will spend time in the community sharing their knowledge and experience.
"Cricket is fortunate to have so many great role models who inspire kids to follow in their footsteps and we're also really grateful to our commercial partners who provide such great support.”
Activity highlights across August and Play Cricket Week
Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades will take over regional Victoria, visiting more than 80 schools across three days as well as visit local cricket hubs, host several functions and player-led coaching masterclasses and clinics each evening
Melbourne Renegades captain Sophie Molineux and Melbourne Stars’ Annabel Sutherland will host a mini derby at the MCG before they face off on the hallowed turf in a historic clash during Weber WBBL|09.
Nathan Lyon and Ash Gardner will join a barefoot Woolworths Cricket Blast session at Manly beach and NSW’s Country Blitz will see contracted players visit 85 schools in regional communities across the state.
Courtney Sippel will visit Great Barrier Reef Arena for Mackay Woolworths Cricket Blast activities ahead of Brisbane Heat's WBBL clash against defending champions Adelaide Strikers. Max Bryant and Matthew Kuhnemann will also be in Townsville at the Townsville Primary Schools Blast Cup.
South Australian Women Tahlia McGrath, Megan Schutt and Darcie Brown along with Redbacks players Wes Agar, Jordan Buckingham, Nathan McAndrew and Daniel Drew attended a Woolworths Cricket Blast Clinic at an Adelaide School. Adelaide Strikers WBBL/BBL, Scorpions and Redbacks players will also attend Woolworths Cricket Blast Clinics across Adelaide throughout the month.
Perth Scorchers and WA Cricket players will take part in a range of events across the Perth metropolitan area, including 36 school visits and three community hub clinics, with a separate regional roadshow to follow next month.
Tasmania Tigers and Hobart Hurricanes players are visiting 30 schools across the southern, North, North West and East Coast regions of the state and running clinics with approximately 4,000 young Tasmanians.