About the time Australian men’s cricket team was going down in a three-nil in the test series whitewash in Sri Lanka, the Australian women’s football team was in Rio, making it to the quarter-finals only to lose a soul-destroying penalty shoot-out to Brazil.
But today Cricket Australia claimed it was the nation’s most popular and highest participation sports, with a record 1,311,184 people playing it last year. That’s an 8.5% increase since 2014-15, with female participation up 9% to 314,936. School and indoor cricket numbers were up 7.5% and 9.9%, respectively.
Juniors, aged 5‐12 years, contributed 59.4% of all players, in 422 associations and 3,741 clubs nationwide.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland crowed that “Cricket is clearly the sport of choice for many Australians and we’re proud to be billed as one of the biggest participation sports in the country.”
Just two months ago, Roy Morgan Research was a lot more generous in its female participation numbers, at 413,000, concluding that 200,000 women aged 14+ played the game in the 12 months to March 2016, up 22% on last year, while 213,000 girls aged 6-13 years picked up the willow.
Cricket Australia’s findings suggest a dramatic improvement in the fortunes of the sport, with Roy Morgan Research declaring swimming the nation’s most common sporting activity for Australians in the year to December 2014. Soccer came a close second for kids 6-13, followed by cycling, which was the second most popular sport among people over 14.
Around a quarter of kids play cricket regularly (25.7%) and 1 in 5 play netball (20.5%) or tennis (20.0%).
Dancing beat cricket in all age groups according to Roy Morgan. Soccer had 1.79 million participants they claimed. Cricket 961,000, about 30% under Cricket Australia’s research
And here’s the rub, Roy Morgan had 1.2 million soccer young players, followed by around 750,000 basketballers, 630,000 cricketers and 500,000 netballers. Some 14 months ago, the research company had 378,000 women aged 14 and over playing soccer.
Perhaps that’s what led them to sledge their cricketing rivals on Twitter when they attempted to claim bragging rights for popularity.
— Football Australia (@FFA) August 23, 2016
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