ONLY 19 per cent of facilities in Victoria are female friendly and regional cricket centres will need to be developed to continue to grow the sport according to Cricket Victoria’s infrastructure strategy.
Released this week, the report calls on data collected in a national facilities audit conducted by Cricket Australia.
It advocates for the funding and development of Regional Cricket and Community centre facilities in the eight country regions under the governing body’s banner.
Bendigo is the 14th largest local government area by total number of cricketers, with 2046 cricketers registered last season.
Four regional cricket and community centres are located around the state, in Ballarat, Moe, Wodonga and Hamilton.
They combine high performance cricket and administration facilities have a minimum of one ground, preferably two, and have both indoor and outdoor training areas.
A facility such as this is identified as a critical priority for Cricket Victoria, with the Northern rivers region serving both Shepparton and Bendigo.
The region is predicted to be the second-fastest growing of the eight country regions in the next 10 years.
Facilities to match growing female participation levels is another key challenge for the sport in the state.
Since 2014/15, female participation has grown 57 per cent. But 81 per cent of change room facilities were found in the audit to be female friendly.
“Access to facilities is fundamental to our ability to grow as a sport – whether that be getting more junior teams out on the ground, having the right changerooms available or creating new regional hubs for communities,” Cricket Victoria CEO Andrew Ingleton said.
The condition of both turf and synthetic wickets was also a concern, with the report stating that by 2022, about 800 synthetic pitch surfaces across Victoria will require replacement due to poor condition.
The differences in preparation and maintenance of turf wickets between venues was also highlighted as a worry, as was the potential for safety risks among training nets.
– Joel Peterson