The outlook for cricket in the ACT this season is positive, despite a number of changes required as a result of Cricket Australia’s amended plans for the 2020/21 financial year.
Cricket Australia (CA) recently released a program of operational changes that will provide savings in response to the COVID-19 situation while ensuring the long-term sustainability and growth of the game.
Due to the funding and resources that Cricket ACT receive from CA in relation to several competitions, ACT programs will inevitably need to be modified.
Despite this, Cricket ACT said the outlook is positive, which is largely attributable to several commercial partners who are renewing or reinvigorating their connection with cricket in the region.
Earlier this month (18 June), Cricket ACT outlined how the changes to CA’s plan will impact competitions and programs in the ACT.
Notably, the National Premier Cricket T20 Competition, Toyota Second XI (ACT/NSW Country Comets), and Male U15s, U17s and Female U15s National Cricket Championships have all been paused.
Cricket ACT are working closely with Cricket NSW and other states to create a bilateral Second XI competition. The finer details are still being worked through; however, it is expected there will be some form of Second XI cricket for the Comets this year.
While the National Cricket Championships have been paused for the coming season, a new partnership with a local partner has enabled Cricket ACT to investigate the possibility of hosting a national U15 carnival in Canberra for both male and female teams.
At this stage, only preliminary discussions have been initiated; however, Cricket ACT are confident that there will be a competitive opportunity for this cohort of players during the 2020/21 season.
Cricket ACT has also introduced a Rookie Program as part of their High-Performance Pathway, and a franchise pathway competition will be introduced this season to provide players with additional competition and training opportunities.
In other competitions:
Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) – ACT Meteors
CA has confirmed that the WNCL will remain unchanged at eight rounds and a final, with the first round likely happening in September. Cricket ACT have finalised the squad for the new season and will be announcing a new captain/coach combination in the coming weeks.
It is unlikely that the ACT Meteors will travel to Darwin this year to participate in the Strike League, however, the intention is to play in that competition leading into the 2021/22 season.
Cricket ACT High Performance staff are working closely with Cricket NSW to schedule a series of home and away pre-season trial matches as well as intra-squad competitive fixtures.
The WBBL will remain consistent as per last season which Cricket ACT are grateful for as many ACT Meteors take part in that competition.
Toyota Australian Country Cricket Championships
CA has confirmed that the Australian Country Cricket Championships (ACCC) will go ahead for the coming season. The ACT had not represented in the ACCC for six years until last year’s competition. The intention is for the ACT to again compete in the 2020/21 season, subject to funding.