Cricket Victoria has today released a blueprint for the future of community cricket across Melbourne.
The vision proposes the transition towards a five-zone model for cricket that aims to improve cricket and better service the administration of the game at a local level.
Melbourne Metropolitan Cricket - a strategy to embrace a changing game has been co-designed by a steering committee of representatives from local cricket associations.
Participation is at the centre of the strategy, with Cricket Victoria and the Steering Committee focused on ensuring the future sustainability of the sport.
It builds on the successful set-up of Cricket Southern Bayside in 2016-17 and the existing delivery of cricket via the 22 metropolitan cricket associations and cricket clubs across Melbourne.
The new zones are geographically aligned with Local Government boundaries and made up of north west, northern, eastern and south east, joining Cricket Southern Bayside which is already in operation.
Cricket Victoria General Manager of Game and Market Development Rohan O'Neill said the move to new zones was a key pillar to ensure cricket remains the sport of choice in Victoria each summer.
"This blueprint will build on and improve support across grassroots cricket. It's all about being efficient in terms of how cricket operates in our communities. We want to grow investment in clubs and competitions, speak with a unified voice to local government and ensure sustainability of our cricket infrastructure," O'Neill said.
"Ultimately we want to ensure participation grows and that we retain players and volunteers in the game. By supporting the competition management of cricket in geographical zones, combined with a focus on participation, we believe we can better support and grow the game."
The 2016-17 season saw the introduction of Cricket Southern Bayside with participating clubs overwhelmingly positive in terms of the management of the competition. Improved communication, fixturing, competition formats and governance were listed by players and officials among a range of benefits from the inaugural season
"We'll use what we've learned from Phase 1 of the Cricket Southern Bayside project to guide and inform us. Each zone will naturally have local differences and our overarching principle is to work towards a set of common objectives achieved through local ownership" O'Neill said.
"The next step in this process is to work with all cricket associations within each proposed zone to build and develop a model for that area. We understand the timeline will depend on several factors within each zone," O'Neill added.
Cricket Victoria CEO Tony Dodemaide said the plan would ensure cricket is easier to access for a greater number of people.
"We live in a time-poor community. People are juggling their travel and participation in cricket with various family and school commitments. We need to ensure we're providing a participation structure that understands those challenges that our players, coaches, volunteers and administrators face," Dodemaide said.
For more information, please click here to view the Melbourne Metropolitan Cricket Executive Summary.