Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Australia Best-Placed, Long-Term

Kathryn Wicks has an article in the Sydney Morning Herald asking why women's sport is "friendless".

Ms Wicks was kind enough to indulge me in a Twitter conversation on the subject; and my conclusion is that things might not be great in Australia... but they sure are much better than they are here!

Some of Australia's domestic (women's) T20 is played as double-headers, which obviously gets good crowds; but I was more interested in the stand-alone games, which are a better indication of the health of women's cricket as a spectator-sport.

In England, at the T20 Finals, I counted a "crowd" (trying to discount players and coaches) of around fifty; but this was by-far the largest number I've seen this season - at Berkshire (a Division 1 team, lest we forget) it was usually closer to five!

In contrast, the stand-alone games in the T20 tournament in Australia are getting crowds which actually merit the word "crowd". (Ms Wicks didn't have exact numbers, but reckoned it was much, much more than 50!)

To me, this suggests that Australian (women's) cricket is much better-placed long-term than it is in England; and this has to be a worry.

Interestingly, Ms Wicks suggested that one factor might be that the premier women's competition is state-based - i.e. a level above "grade" cricket, where the crowds are more like we see in county cricket here. I think she might be right about this, which is one reason I've pushed for the reinstatement of a proper Super 4s competition, with games played in the cities and not in (e.g.) Wokingham - however convenient that might be for me!

One thing is for sure - England need to up their game domestically or risk falling behind internationally.

3 comments:

  1. Is women's cricket financially viable above a certain level in UK, without a major sponsor or having T20 at county level working with the men's game? There is a great swell at grass roots but without a financially viable path for the talented girls the standard across the counties will vary significantly.

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  2. It is very difficult - the county system is a millstone but it's all we've got to keep us afloat right now! (Sic!) But I do feel that it could be MADE viable - Australia are certainly making a go of it, with a big branding and sponsorship push behind the WNCL teams, with their slick logos, stylish uniforms and cool team names.

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  3. Well Syd, they got one thing right this year reducing fixture clashes between the 3 tiers. Thus improving strength of Club 1XI games. But there is still a leap from Premier to County women's as most finish at U17 rather than continuing their development. It might need a brave leap somewhere. The plus side is the profile of Lottie and Co at moment that needs to be capitalise on big time.

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