Fo­cus on fur­ther growth of sport in MW

Geraldton Guardian - - Sport - Justin Fris

Mid West cricket stake­hold­ers ac­tively par­tic­i­pated in a fo­rum head­lined by Cricket Aus­tralia and the West Aus­tralian Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion on Tues­day even­ing.

Held at Mid West Sportshouse, the fo­rum gave lo­cal coaches, play­ers and of­fi­cials the op­por­tu­nity to gain in­sight into how cricket is pro­gress­ing across a mul­ti­tude of port­fo­lios at State and na­tional lev­els.

Once the for­mal com­po­nent of the fo­rum had con­cluded, at­ten­dees formed groups and ex­pressed their views on the strengths, weak­nesses and op­por­tu­ni­ties for cricket in the Mid West.

Mid West Cricket Board chair­man Ger­ard Mar­quis opened pro­ceed­ings and said he was ex­cited about the com­ing sea­son across all lev­els.

“Num­bers are re­ally strong,” he said. “We’ve held pretty well there. We’ve got eight teams in the un­der-12s, which we’ve changed to the new Cricket Aus­tralia game­play struc­tures.

“That’s nine-a-side, so that means there is up­wards of 70 or 80 crick­eters in­volved there, which is re­ally ex­cit­ing with strong num­bers in that age group.”

Mr Mar­quis said plans were in place to strengthen the de­vel­op­ment of fe­male cricket in the re­gion. “We’ve got some girls in de­vel­op­ment pro­grams in Perth at the mo­ment who are go­ing re­ally well,” he said.

“And we are look­ing to start up an un­der-15s fe­male com­pe­ti­tion, which would start in first term of school next year.”

WACA chief ex­ec­u­tive Christina Matthews ad­dressed a va­ri­ety of top­ics — from the chang­ing fo­cus of cricket’s match­day ex­pe­ri­ence to Ger­ald­ton’s fu­ture at host­ing large-scale cricket events.

“As you know, we are bring­ing the 2017/2018 Toy­ota Aus­tralia Coun­try Cham­pi­onships to Ger­ald­ton in Jan­uary,” she told the au­di­ence. “And we are talk­ing to lo­cal gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties about how we can bring more events to Ger­ald­ton — and mak­ing it a bit of a hub. Bring­ing ei­ther one-day do­mes­tic games or women’s na­tional league games as well, so we are work­ing with lo­cal gov­ern­ment on that.”

WACA game de­vel­op­ment and mar­ket­ing gen­eral man­ager Jo Davies out­lined sev­eral de­vel­op­ment-based pri­or­i­ties which have been stream­lined na­tion­ally and pro­vided some in­sight into the WACA’s process of as­sist­ing with the growth of fe­male cricket through­out WA.

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