Women’s cricket is one of the fastest growing sports on the planet, with a 45 per cent growth in participants last year.
As the Perth Scorchers set out for their fifth finals appearance in the six-year history of the WBBL, more local cricket clubs around WA are starting to open their club rooms to female players.
Willetton District Cricket Club president Ron Kukura says the success of Cricket Australia’s female player program is helping grow the sport.
“The situation for female cricketers’ is great. There are plenty of opportunities as Cricket Australia works to provide equal opportunity for both male and female athletes,” he says.
“There is a distinct interest in girls cricket at this particular stage, this year we have started an under 13s and under 15s junior cricket side.”
According to the WACA, there are currently 5800 registered female cricket players in the state.
WACA chief executive Christina Matthews said in August women’s cricket was expanding at both a professional and grassroots level.
“It’s been a momentous past 12 months for the WA cricket community with more females engaged and playing cricket than ever before,” she said.
“We continue to be committed to providing greater opportunities for women and girls across the cricket community.”
Despite the growth, only four out of sixteen clubs are currently able to provide first grade teams for female cricket.
Mr Kukura says his club does not have a senior women’s team and is waiting for confirmation to expand from the WACA.
Mr Kukura says as much as he would like a female grade team at his club, he understands the hesitation to expand too quickly.
“At the moment there is a disparity between varying skill levels of female cricketers as the sport is still new to most players,” he says.
“There are some games that are not competitive, so by capping the number of teams we can make sure the level of cricket is equal to the level of all of the players.”
Curtin University-Victoria Park Red Backs Cricket Club is another of the clubs in Perth hoping to create a female team.
Club president Andrew Jackson says the club would love to have a female team.
“Much to my dismay we don’t have a women’s cricket team at the moment,” he says.
“I and the rest of the club are committed to getting a women’s team for next year.
“We were trying to bring a team in for this season, but unfortunately the pandemic and a few other issues put this idea on the back-burner.”
He says his club currently does not have the resources and facilities to be able to cater for female players yet.
“We are looking for the WACA and Cricket Australia to expand funding to help support us to get this up and running,” he says.
“We need a subsidy so we can upgrade our changing rooms to accommodate for female players.
“We are not doing enough at the moment and because of this unfortunately we haven’t been able to put the emphasis on it yet.”