SCONE Junior Cricket is going from strength to strength, and the club is still elated after receiving an incredible honour at the recent Cricket NSW awards held in Sydney.
Scone Junior Cricket were awarded the inaugural Club of the Year award. Club President Darren Crowther was on hand to accept the award, and said it was an amazing moment for the executives, the community, and everyone that's a part of junior cricket in Scone.
"You don't put your name down to get these type of things but when you're acknowledged like that, it's amazing and being the inaugural award makes it even more special," he said.
The club has enjoyed strong membership, with 192 registrations in 2020 - a 40 per cent increase on what they had in 2019.
"To have that increase, we have bucked the trend that's occurring across the country, especially in a year with Covid," he said.
The club's Junior Blasters program was also acknowledged for it's huge levels of participation, but the proudest achievement for the Scone club is their girls-only competition, which exceeded all expectations.
"Our first year of having a girls only competition, which was 16s in Scone, we had 50 girls," Mr Crowther said.
"It is one of the largest girls only competitions, not only in NSW, but in the country, so it's something that we're very proud of."
Gary Fisher, Cricket Manager for the Hunter, nominated Scone for the award and said the club is a testament to what the great sport can offer.
He outlined some of the factors that attributed to Scone being selected for the award, including their growth mindset and inclusiveness.
"Rural communities in particular Scone have been through a lot over the past 18 months from devastating drought, to poor air quality, bushfires, heat yet cricket has stood above this and provided an outlet for the community to forget its struggles for a short period and enjoy our great game," he said.
"To attract in excess of 50 girls and 30 women to love and play cricket on a Friday night is both inspiring and inclusive," he said.
"The club have sought financial sponsors for every junior team which allows the club to keep their fees very low and removes the barrier of cost for many who may not otherwise be able to afford registration costs. They also provide playing equipment to junior players to reduce financial costs for families."
On the club's growth mindset, he said the club have increased to 16 teams (10 teams in 19/20) which represents growth of nearly 40 per cent, of which 6 are girls' teams.
"The club is led by a small but extremely dedicated and passionate group of volunteers," he said. "It inspires participants from a very wide area encompassing the remote rural communities of Rouchel, Belltrees, Middlebrook, Gundy and Ellerston to participate in our great game."