Youngsters give cricket a big bash

MICHAEL Clarke and the rest of the Australian cricket team are not the only ones winning because of the team’s recent success.

Junior cricket across the Western Zone is booming, with spikes occurring in participation levels at both a Milo In2Cricket level and Orange District Junior Cricket Association level during the course of the summer.

Be it Ashes success, the exposure of the Twenty20 Big Bash on free-to-air television for the first time or simply more kids picking up the bat and ball, Cricket NSW western region manager Matt Tabbernor isn’t complaining about the cricketing boom.

“I think it’s got a lot to do with the Ashes and how well the Australian side has done,” he said.

“It’s the first time we’ve seen back-to-back Ashes series. There’s more cricket on free-to-air tv now as well, the one day stuff and the Big Bash.

“There’s certainly plenty of interest in cricket at the moment.”

Orange runs its In2Cricket clinics at Wade Park on a Thursday afternoon, and in 2013-14 attendance has risen by nearly 15 per cent on the summer before.

Places like Dubbo and Forbes are also up.

Dubbo has seen a jump of almost 30 children, while Forbes has 44 Milo cricketers, a significant number for a relatively tiny cricketing centre.

Across the western region alone, 3000 boys and girls have taken part in T20 Blast cricket clinics, with the games, music and atmosphere designed to simulate that same Big Bash feeling the kids are loving on television.

One of 90 children enjoying the Orange In2Cricket clinics, Kaylee Grenfell, also represents a growing number of young girls taking up the game of cricket.

“She just enjoys running around outside,” Kaylee’s dad Shaun said.

“There’s a few of her friends who get involved in it as well. I was surprised by the amount of girls who are involved this year.

“It’s the first year I’ve been down and had a bit of a look, but Tabs and the Bowen (Centrals) boys seem to run it pretty well.”

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