To ensure a sustainable competition that demonstrates a high standard of play and increases enjoyment and player longevity, the competition will next season feature five clubs in First Grade and seven clubs in Second Grade.

The Premier Cricket Committee, comprised of one representative from each of the 13 Premier Cricket clubs and a representative from the South Australian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, has endorsed the new structure after an extensive nomination process.

Both First and Second Grade divisions will contain one team each from Sturt, West Torrens, Southern District, Northern Districts and Kensington, with Second Grade also to include teams from Glenelg and Adelaide University.

SACA General Manager, High Performance Tim Nielsen said:

“The nomination process has helped us to understand that we currently have the depth for five teams to consistently play competitive cricket at First Grade level.

“Adding a sixth team would mean we increase the potential of players leaving the game altogether through lack of opportunity and playing in a competition beyond their skill level.

“These changes are a result of clubs wanting to prioritise successfully engaging women and girls at club level.

“It allows clubs to provide an appropriate level of support and development and then over time, we will see the best players come through to play for our State and for Australia.”

The nomination process was the result of a recommendation made through the Cricket Connects consultation between SACA and Premier and community clubs over the past two years, where the need to review the existing women and girls’ structure was identified.

This process, led by the Premier Cricket Committee, invited the nine clubs with an existing women’s program to nominate for one or more places in the Premier Cricket competition for the upcoming season. A Premier Cricket Sub-Committee was formed within the Premier Cricket Committee to produce the criteria and submission process for clubs, as well as a detailed scorecard for each submission.

To have one (or more) team successfully admitted into the Statewide Super First and/or Second Grade competition, the Premier Cricket Sub-Committee directed that clubs would be required to submit a minimum of two female teams. Submissions were to include full player lists, plus information regarding coaching, facilities, culture, finance, current state of play, player recruitment and retention.

“The benefits of this process are that clubs that have nominated teams have been able to display how committed they are to the female game and what they have in place in terms of coaching, resourcing and facilities,” Nielsen said.

“The Premier Cricket Sub-Committee has made these decisions based on what they believe is best for female cricket and the ongoing health of the Premier Cricket competition.”

With Port Adelaide unable to field two teams, as required in their submission, Port Adelaide will enter their women’s team into an alternative community competition.

Both Glenelg and Adelaide University produced submissions that met the criteria and as a result, these clubs have been successful in entering one team into the Second Grade competition and a second team into an alternative community competition.

“In the long-term, we believe we will have a more sustainable and robust competition for the development of female cricket and for the development of players,” Nielsen said.

To focus on player development and provide ongoing support for clubs in the female space, Darius Wyatt has been appointed Pathway Coordinator in a new full-time role at SACA.