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NZ Cricket neglects women's game: Report

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/11/2016

A damning independent report into the state of the women's cricket in New Zealand has heavily criticised the sport's governing body.

The Women and Cricket report undertaken by former Auckland representative and strategic advice specialist Sarah Beaman predicts the demise of the women's game unless there is significant change.

Her 428-page report, commissioned by NZC a year ago, contends that women's cricket has been neglected for the last 20 years and its status had regressed.

Beaman made 17 recommendations, placing most emphasis on the need for more women in governance roles at national and regional levels. She found women held just two of 43 regional board positions.

The falling number of junior and youth level players and the lack of a talent pathway were also highlighted.

The report found women comprise about 10 per cent of registered New Zealand players and, of those, 90 per cent are under the age of 12. Many of them are forced to play in mixed teams.

There was also deemed to be insufficient development opportunities for coaches, umpires and officials.

"I felt like I was studying an endangered species," Beaman wrote in her summary.

"I found it ironic that the 1992 amalgamation of the New Zealand Women's Cricket Council with New Zealand Cricket was considered trailblazing: a model for the rest of the world.

"But the buzz quickly faded: women's cricket, which had been run by women for 58 years, was soon run mostly by men."

NZC said in a statement it accepted the report's findings, acknowledging it had allowed the women's game to deteriorate to an unacceptable level.

"We need to put up our hand here and accept responsibility," a NZC statement said.

"We have allowed women's cricket to be run by men for women; we have neglected the women's game on the basis of cost, and a perceived lack of interest. We have side-lined women's cricket both structurally and philosophically.

"We were wrong, and we now need to address the areas we've allowed to slip."

Beaman said a "cultural realignment" would be necessary if her recommendations are to be met.

The NZC statement says solutions would be explored over the next six months, with a particular focus on youth pathways.

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