The Full Story
The Joint Competition is a bringing together of two Associations that have long history in the sport in Sydney. At the point of joining both Competitions, Churches Cricket NSW has a Hundred and Nineteen year, continuous History, where it brought together teams across Sydney from mainly the Presbyterian Church Community. At its height, the Association broadly brought teams together as far afield as Camden and close to Sydney city as Leichhardt, Concord and to the East of the City.
The Inner West Harbour Association, formally Gladesville Cricket Association, has a History going back to 1923, nearly 99 years ago. The Competition ranged from mostly the lower North Shore around Gladesville and the Ryde Municipalities to the inner West in Balmain.
The reason for both Associations coming together in a joint competition, is embedded in the modern social construct. Thirty years ago, Cricket was the premier Summer sport and played predominantly on Saturdays around Greater Sydney and the State. It was mostly a male sport and was supported by the social construct of the time. We are in a whole different social landscape today, where people are working longer and at different times of the week, especially Saturdays. This affects more of the younger population, than it did some thirty years ago.
What we have found is that players are called upon to work a whole lot of different hours that impact their sport commitments. This has meant that player numbers have fallen away over the years and being able by Associations to field large numbers of teams, has decreased. A shrinking player numbers has meant that Associations have had to look further afield to like minded organisations, with similar numbers, to join in compatible competitions.
This has been the case for both Inner West Harbour and Churches to find common ground in both competition rules, playing conditions and district areas to come together to form this joint partnership.
As reported by the Churches President, Rod Walker in their Annual Report,
“In relation to our competition, we broadened our relationship with the Inner West Harbour Cricket Association, playing against them in all grades. I am incredibly
pleased to report that this union flourished in 2020/21; the Executive Committee and
I could not be happier. I have heard nothing but positive comments and great reports
of sportsmanship being displayed by our new partners. I am very pleased to report
that we will continue to expand this relationship with the Joint Committee of our
respective associations working through the details now.”