The Goulburn District Junior Cricket Association was recently recognised on a national stage, following news that it is one of two finalists for the Cricket Australia Junior Initiative of the Year award.
The award is a part of the CA Community Cricket Awards night, which will be held on May 20 and livestreamed via Facebook and Youtube.
The GDJCA was nominated by Adrian Brunker, the cricket manager for the Southern Inland region, on the back of its standalone T20 competitions for players in the Under 12s, Under 14s, and Under 16s divisions during the 2020/21 season.
Association publicity officer, Amy Edwards, said the news was "absolutely huge" for junior cricket in Goulburn.
"It was pretty overwhelming, the committee does such big hours and puts in so much time and effort, so to have everyone recognised is really exciting," Edwards said.
"No-one on the committee does it for the recognition, but it's always nice when you're acknowledged for the work that goes in behind the scenes.
"A lot of people don't realise how many hours go into a cricket competition, and everyone who does it, does it because they love it."
Edwards went on to thank the committee and all volunteers who contributed to the success of the 2020/21 season for their "wonderful" efforts.
The T20 competition was developed as a result of the Cricket in Goulburn Strategy, which was developed in 2019 following a stakeholder-led review. One of the key recommendations to emerge from the review was that juniors should play T20 cricket to allow them to emulate their favourite players from such competitions as the Big Bash League.
Additional touches such as pink balls, coloured clothing, and playing under lights supplemented the spectacle.
The competitions were a big hit with the kids, Edwards said, and helped mitigate much of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"A lot of sports had numbers drop off with the coronavirus, and we didn't get to finish our season the year before," she said.
"We kept numbers steady and attracted those kids that couldn't play some weekends or couldn't play half-day games.
"In terms of numbers, we kept a lot of those players we might have lost due to COVID, it was really good."
Cricket NSW CEO, Lee Germon, praised the GDJCA for its willingness to listen to its stakeholders, and said the success of the new competitions was evidence of the value of community contributors.
"Community cricket is at the foundation of our sport, and the dedication of those at the grassroots allows it to reach communities right across the state and the country," Germon said.
"These Community Cricket awards place the spotlight on the many tremendous achievements of our community clubs, associations, indoor centres, community organisations, administrators and volunteers.
"In this state there are many, many wonderful contributors to cricket and for the Goulburn District Junior Cricket Association to listen to their stakeholders and then execute this initiative with such success is one stunning example of that."
The awards ceremony will be livestreamed on Cricket Australia's Facebook and Youtube pages on May 20 from 7pm.
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