Bowling over a new generation
Bowling over a new generation

Australia's Ashes glory and the resurgence of stars such as Mitchell Johnson and Brad Hogg have helped drive an explosion in cricket participation in WA, which has soared more than 40 per cent in 12 months.

According to the soon-to-be- released 2013-14 Australian Cricket census, participation in WA rose 41.8 per cent to 124,252 - an increase of more than 40,000 players.

WACA game development manager David Clear said the success of school programs such as the four-week extended skills scheme and the T20 Blast for seven and eight-year-olds was partly behind the rise.

Local heroes including Johnson, Hogg, Ashton Agar and brothers Shaun and Mitchell Marsh had also captured the imagination of the community.

Johnson, who fought his way back to the Australian side from injury, was named man of the Ashes series while fellow comeback-king Hogg became a cult figure for the Scorchers during the Big Bash League. "For kids to identify heroes is a big factor in increasing their excitement about the game," Mr Clear said.

Club participation rose in WA for the first time in four years, up 5.3 per cent, and female participation was up 44.2 per cent.

The census reveals that 83,000 supporters attended the Ashes Test in Perth in December, including 22,000 on the first day.

About 90,000 fans attended Scorchers' BBL games in the 2013-14 season, with average attendances up 1500 a game on the previous summer.

Mr Clear said the BBL had brought the game to a new audience. "We've had mums, girlfriends, kids and families coming along because of the shorter duration and the fact the weather is more pleasant in the late afternoon," he said.

Mr Clear said the T20 Blast contest, which replaced under-8 and under-9 competition last year, grew from 389 to 1641 to give WA the highest participation rate in the country. The WACA is looking at expanding the shortened T20 version to other age groups.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West