Understanding cricket pathways (i.e. "what level of cricket can I play next") can be quite a challenge if you're new to the system and wondering what happens next. Young players leaving school will be too old to play MWJCA Saturday morning comp and want to know who they can play for next; or a player may have lots of ability and want to play at a more challenging level. This web page attempts to provide some answers to your questions in relation to boys' cricket.
If you're looking for information on girls' cricket please visit the girls' cricket page.
MWJCA enters teams from U11s to U16s in two representative competitions:
Playing rep cricket is a big commitment and players are expected to make themselves available for every match, including trial matches. Selection trials for the next season usually closely follow on from the end of the current season. The MWJCA web site has a section dedicated to rep cricket (see menu Play Cricket > Rep Cricket) which explains the selection process, eligibility requirements, expectations on players etc.
Regional cricket carnivals are held during the summer holidays and are well supported by MWJCA rep teams. Quite often the team will be the same as the DCA rep team, but players may not be available due to being away on holiday etc which creates opportunities for others. Sometime an association sends both DCA and Presidents Cup teams, and MWJCA have done this on occasions. The expectation on rep players to be available for every match does NOT extend to carnivals. The carnivals are always a lot of fun and families often double them up as their summer holiday. The facilities are usually top notch and there is a big emphasis on having fun. Examples of carnivals attended by MWJCA are:
In December and January Sydney Grade Cricket runs a tournament called A.W. Green Shield. It comprises teams who represent their grade sides in an Under 16 competition consisting of 7 preliminary rounds, qualifying finals, semi-finals and a Final. Green Shield is recognised as the premier under 16 cricket competition in Australia. Many of NSW's top cricketers have come through this very prestigious competition.
As this is a Sydney Grade competition the team is selected, trained and managed by the Manly Warringah District Cricket Club (MWDCC), the grade cricket club, and not by the MWJCA. In other words, this is not a junior cricket competition and may be the first exposure some players have to grade cricket, and is often the first opportunity young players have to associate with MWDCC and its senior players. All points received in this competition go towards the MWDCC's points tally in the Sydney Grade Cricket Club Championship.
Players are usually invited to trial in the latter part of the year and are mostly drawn from our junior representative cricketers who have been playing pathways cricket in Shires or Grade (see below). Because of the close links between the MWJCA and the senior clubs the players are already known to the MWDCC selectors. As with rep cricket, players are expected to make themselves available for every match; with the tournament taking place over the summer holidays of December and January this is a big commitment, but well worth it. All matches are played on turf at some of Sydney's best cricket grounds.
Here on Sydney's beautiful Northern Beaches we are not only blessed to live in paradise, but our young cricketers are also lucky to find themselves in one of the most progressive cricketing areas of Australia. A few years ago some very innovative and hard-working people put in place a formal, structured development pathway for young players who want to progress from junior cricket to playing at a more senior level. This model has been extremely successful (see the success of the senior Manly Warringah District Cricket Club which is full of young men who started playing for local junior cricket clubs) and has become the envy of other cricket associations who are trying to re-create the Manly model.
The model is explained in full at http://www.manlycricket.com/players/junior-pathway-program. In short there is a level of cricket for anyone who wants to take their cricket further:
If your young cricketer is talented they may be able to play at a regional, state or national level. This is no pipe dream! MWJCA are proud to have developed many local young players who have represented NSW (or other states and territories) and even Australian underage teams. It has to be said that the Cricket Australia and NSW pathways are more difficult to understand, and seem to change quite often so it's difficult to explain fully how this pathway operates. But it usually begins with school trials, so those are the opportunities to look out for and you should ask your school how to get into this.
Representative cricket at a primary school level is organised by the NSW Primary Schools Sports Association (PSSA). Most people are already familiar with this through primary school (IS THIS THE SAME WITH PRIVATE SCHOOLS?)
The NSW Catholic Primary School Sports Council (NSW CPSSC) operates under Catholic Schools Sports Services (CSSS) and runs a representative program where players are selected to represent their diocese. The NSW CPSSC is comprised of two regions eligible to participate in the NSW PSSA state fixtures - these regions are known as MacKillop and Polding.
At a secondary school level, schools are categorised into Combined Catholic Colleges (part of CSSS), Combined Independent Schools (CHS), and Combined High Schools (CIS); each runs its own selection trials. If you make it through these you end up at three-way trials of Catholic/Independent/High Schools from which an "All Schools" team is selected to represent NSW at an interstate tournament run by School Sport Australia. Selectors then pick an Australian team from the best players who may play some friendly matches against other countries.
In parallel with the School Sports Australia pathway is the Cricket NSW Academy which is a State-wide program responsible for the identification and development of talented cricketers. Players are usually put forward to the NSW Academy by DCA rep team coaches at the end of the season. This is essentially a development program which involves weekly training usually at Blacktown, Bankstown or the SCG where players will receive specialist coaching. This is a big commitment and involves a lot of time and travel. In the younger age groups there may be some trial matches in order to give players match practice, and they may get match play as part of the NSW State Challenge. As the players go up the age groups they may get picked to represent NSW U17s and U19s at national championships against other states, and then onto Australian underage teams. More information can be found on the Cricket NSW web site (look for Elite Pathway).
Beyond this you need an agent to manage the opportunities for your talented young protégé! If you've made it to this level your child is probably playing first grade and you're familiar with the next set of opportunities. These could include things like rookie contracts for NSW Blues, or a Big Bash League team. In Sydney there is a competition called the "Triforce Cup" where a number of T20 matches are played as selection trials for players pushing for a place on the "supplementary list" or a rookie contract in a Big Bash team. And then, it's "To infinity and beyond..."