Cricket future in doubt

By David Kavanagh | posted on June 20, 2019

JUNIOR cricket in Albany could soon come to an end if replacements for outgoing Albany Junior Cricket Association committee members are not found soon.

None of the attendants at the AJCA annual general meeting early last week put up their hands to fill the roles of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer for the next season.

Current President Jackie Boyce said without a committee to coordinate things like fundraisers and competitions, the sport was unlikely to continue.

“If the people want to play cricket and there’s no opportunity for them, then they’ll just play another sport or they won’t get to fulfil that desire,” she said.

“That has a flow-on effect. If the kids aren’t playing junior cricket then they’re not going to grow up to play senior cricket.”

Ms Boyce served as the AJCA’s secretary for two years before taking on the top spot.

She said like herself, most of the committee were leaving due to “personal reasons”.

“For me, three years on the executive is enough and it’s time for new ideas and new people to get involved,” she explained.

“People are not staying in those executive positions as long, maybe because there is a lot more frameworks that you have to fit in with.

“There’s a lot more paperwork and liability which also makes it more time consuming and people just don’t have as much time.”

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington began his own cricket career as a junior and said it was “a shame” the AJCA was struggling.

“There’s a lot of enjoyment in sport. It’s a big part of our lives,” he said.

“Unfortunately it’s a fact of life these days that you’ve got to have volunteers to run these things.”

He said volunteer organisations often experienced “revolving situations” where parent committee members whose children outgrew a junior sport left as they did.

“I think the solution is basically with the parents of the children that are playing at the time,” he said.

The AJCA’s conundrum comes as the State Government moves to expand cricket in the Great Southern.

Two forums exploring the future direction of junior and senior cricket in the region are set to run in Albany and Katanning at the end of the month.

They will be coordinated by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) alongside the Western Australian Cricket Association and WA Country Cricket.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Mick Murray said the events would provide a “terrific resource” for the AJCA and “clearly comes at a very timely point for the club as it looks to attract new members”.

“I’d encourage anyone who is interested in junior cricket to step up and nominate for one of the vacant AJCA committee positions,” he said.

“Volunteering in such grassroots sports groups can be a rewarding experience, both for the volunteers and the junior players.”

Mr Murray noted the DLGSC’s online resource Every Club Hub could provide guidance on all things related to running local sports clubs.

“Personally, I believe sport is an important, character-building tool for children where they can gain an understanding of the concept of rules and boundaries early on in life,” he said.

The AJCA will host an extraordinary meeting at the cricket pavilion at 6pm on Monday July 1, with the hope of finding the replacements.

The findings from the Albany and Katanning forums are expected to be available for review around the middle of next month.