THE BUILDING momentum of women's cricket in Australia is the backing Sarah Gravolin will use to encourage females of all ages to take up the sport in south-west Victoria.
Cricket Australia reported participation among women and girls had grown 61 per cent in the past four years from 47,831 players across the nation to 76,413 in 2019-20.
In CA's 2019-20 census it recorded an increase of 11.4 per cent year-over-year in female participation in the sport.
As a result of the rise, the country's top body has this week launched its new female participation strategy - The Next Innings: Accelerating Female Participation.
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Gravolin was one of many women who returned or joined the sport for the first time last summer as the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association played trial games and ran training in the hopes of creating a senior women's competition in the near future.
And just like last year the 42-year-old, who was introduced to the sport by her 10-year-old son Liam, will continue to encourage everyone she can to take up the sport.
"Last summer I tried at work (as a physiotherapist at Warrnambool Base Hospital) to get people to play as there is a lot of women in my area and the responses were surprising," she said.
"They were saying 'there is no way, I'm not spending my whole weekend playing cricket' and I kept saying it's only two hours and you don't need equipment and you are out in the sun and having fun."
The mother-of-two said women's cricket in Australia, which saw over 86,000 people attend the World Cup final at the MCG, was crushing the traditional stereotypes associated with the sport.
"The success of the Australian women's cricket team and the media attention is helping," she said.
"Over the summer women's games are being broadcast on mainstream TV. Go back 20 years that was unheard of and you were lucky to get a crowd.
"But now it is big business with the WBBL and with the success of the international team we will see more of that.
"We are also seeing players like Georgia Wareham, who is an export, locally in the media that show women there can be a pathway in cricket and that they can enjoy it."
Gravolin is eager to see a women's competition created in Warrnambool.
"It is really exiting to see the junior growth and watching my son there is girls experiencing it at Russells Creek and they are getting good," she said.
"It would be a shame to get to under 17s and not have anything to do after that.
"It (cricket) gives a bit of purpose (to my life) and I get to enjoy the team spirit where I have made some new friends and connections as I like being part of a club having not growing up in Warrnambool.
"It would be nice to find a club you could be part of for 12 months of the year not just six.
"I'm really hoping for a local competition and if it was going to be successful it needs clubs to drive teams and grow from there."
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