Cricket Victoria has revamped the player pathway model for junior cricketers across the state ahead of the 2023/24 season.
Following consultation with key stakeholders, the new pathway now streamlines the journey from junior cricket to the state’s representative squads.
Updates include adjusting the age group of the Dowling Shield and Marg Jennings Cup representative underage competitions. The male age group will change from Under 17 to Under 16, while the female competition will move from Under 18 to Under 15. In country regions these age groups will participate in a newly formed ‘Country Cup’.
The pathway is now further aligned to state’s highest level of club competition, Victorian Premier Cricket with the introduction of an Under 18’s competition involving Premier Cricket clubs as well as Academy squads for U16 males and U15 females across metro and country regions.
The introduction of the Premier Cricket Under 18s competition and Country Cup along with updates to the Dowling Shield and Marg Jennings Cup will replace the Youth Premier League.
This video explains the journey from junior cricket and the stages to progress through to professional cricket through the FTE Model.
The player journey starts in the Foundation stage from as early as five years old participating in Woolworths Cricket Blast at a local junior cricket club.
The Talent phase is where the CV Cricket Performance department will closely work with players and coaches, especially in their participants formative teenage years as they progress through representative competitions through to senior Premier Cricket.
The last stage of the pathway model is the Elite phase – this is when the highest performing players reach professional cricket, this includes selection in Victorian state squads or Second XI teams as well as opportunities that may arise with W/BBL clubs.
It’s important to note that players can enter and exit the pathway at any point, the pathway isn’t linear and may be a different experience for all players.
Each of the 18 men’s Premier Cricket clubs and 10 women’s Premier Cricket clubs will have their own academy established.
Country regions will also see the implementation of Academies.
The Dowling Shield and Marg Jennings Cup will be shifted to younger age groups (male changes from U17 to U16 & female moves from U18 to U15). The Country Cup will be introduced in country regions and will cater to the same ages.
A new competition will be introduced to Victorian Premier Cricket.
Male Under 18 matches will take place on Sundays throughout the season while female matches will be held in the December/January period.
The existing Dowling Shield and Marg Jennings Cup competitions in metro regions will be targeted towards younger cricketers with the age groups shifting to under 15 for females and under 16 for males. While in country regions a new ‘Country Cup’ competition will be created catering for the same age groups.
A new under 18’s competition will be created with all Victorian Premier Cricket clubs participating across male and female competitions (First & Second XI).
The new Cricket Victoria Player Pathway comes following year-long consultation with key stakeholders and aims to streamline the journey from junior cricket to the state’s representative squads. The updates will further align the pathway with the state’s highest level of club competition, Victorian Premier Cricket.
Each Premier Cricket club and country region will also establish their own development academies.
In metro regions each of the 18 men’s Premier Cricket clubs and 10 women’s Premier Cricket clubs will have their own academy established as part of a Premier Cricket Junior Development Program.
While in country regions each region will have their own academy established as part of a Country Development Program.
Academy squad age groups will stay consistent with the Dowling Shield, Marg Jennings Cup and Country Cup ages (under 16 for male & under 15 for female).
The academy squads will provide additional opportunities for up to 1,200 of the state’s best emerging talent and strongly align players with Premier Clubs in metro regions.
Squads for the Marg Jennings Cup, Dowling Shield and Country Cup carnivals will then be selected from the development academies.
The revamped CV Player Pathway will replace the Youth Premier League.
The Premier Cricket Under 18’s, Dowling Shield, Marg Jennings Cup, and Country Cup, will all consist of five rounds, plus finals.
Not at this stage, Cricket Victoria will work with relevant key stakeholders to assess the demand for renaming these competitions.
No, you can be involved in a Premier Cricket Academy and play in their Dowling Shield or Marg Jennings Cup (Victorian Premier Cricket’s underage competitions) whilst still playing for your community cricket club on the weekend.
This gives players the flexibility to play at a Premier Club without having to commit for the whole season, creating an easier transition for the best underage talent in the state, providing optimal environments for player development and to deliver increased match opportunities.
Players need to be playing Premier Cricket at a senior level to be selected for any senior Victorian team.
Male Under 18 matches will take place on Sundays through the season while female matches will be held in the January period.
No, senior men's 4th XI and women's 3rd XI teams will continue to operate as open age teams. Underage matches are scheduled on different days to senior matches, so players are eligible to play in both.
No, you may contact and trial for whichever club’s academy you choose, should there be availability in that program.
You may trial at more than one academy to get an understanding if this is the structure that is right for you, however you cannot complete full academy programs at multiple clubs.
Please ensure you are transparent with clubs if you are still in the stage of deciding which academy to play for.
Players will need to have decided to fully commit to one academy by the end of the registration period on July 31.
More is not always better; Premier Cricket Academies are planned environments, developing fundamental skills whilst supporting the athlete with a focus on long term athletic development.
Including yourself in multiple academies may cause an imbalance on physical performance, increase risk of workload/stress related injuries, as well as restricting time for other important factors such as school, family time and other sports participation.
If you have trialled or participated in more than one Premier Cricket Academy, you should now understand each club has its own philosophy and delivery method and choose the one that suits you best.
You will not be able to be named in multiple academies at the same time.
This is different for each club, some will be invite only, others will have trials and there will be some clubs that you will have the availability to join without trialling.
You can find a full list of male and female Victorian Premier Cricket clubs and relevant contacts here.
In metro regions, clubs will define the pricing structures for their academy programs as well as their Dowling Shield and Marg Jennings Cup squads – these prices will cover costs such as coaching, venue hire and equipment.
While in country regions, Cricket Victoria will subsidise the costs for all country academies. If selected as a Country Cup squad member, the registration fee will be $350 per participant.
Players may play in multiple competitions should fixturing and workload management allow.
All clubs will be given guidelines surrounding physical workloads for youth development and players should adhere to these to reduce the risk of sustaining injury. We also understand that athletic development is non-linear and do not want to put too many constraints in the way of a talented athlete. Each players situation will be taken on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with Cricket Victoria’s talent development team.
No. Should you not be selected in the Dowling Shield or Marg Jennings Cup squad of the academy you are involved in; you won’t be able to then join another squad at the end of the selection period and play in their team.
The only players who may be selected in the competitions from outside of the Premier Academies are:
- Country Cup participants; and
- Players who were not able to be involved in any academies due to other circumstances (i.e. other sport, school commitments, time & travel availability).
As at 1 September, to be eligible to part of the Male Academy and play in the Dowling Shield competition, players must be 14 or 15 years of age. To be eligible to be part of the Female Academy and play in the Marg Jennings Cup, players must be 12 - 14 years of age.
No. Players who are selected in the Dowling Shield and Marg Jennings Cup are ineligible to be selected in Craig Shield (VSDCA), Julie Savage Shield, Jim Beitzel Shield and Keith Mackay Shield (VMCU) competitions.
The reason for this is due to workload considerations as the competitions will take place at the same times.
As the academy is a talent development program, squad sizes of 30 players are the maximum intake per academy. Clubs will ultimately decide the capacity of their academy squad that they will operate.
The ideal scenario is a club identifying and developing talent through their academy for selection in their underage Premier Cricket competitions. However, we foresee several scenarios where players are selected for the carnival competitions from outside the academy, so there will be no stipulations that the entirety of the match day squads have come from premier club training academies.
No. To be eligible to play in the Under 18 competitions, a player must be: Female Under 18 Competition: 15, 16 or 17 years of age as at 1 September. Male Under 18 Competition: 16 or 17 years of age as at 1 September.
Completing a cricket academy or playing in the Premier Cricket junior competition will have you registered with that club. Should you wish to change clubs then a permit would be required with justification to do so. This is the same process undertaken by senior players in Premier Cricket.
Yes, you may add additional players to your academy should a player withdraw for any reason.
As highlighted in the Player Pathway infographic above, there are multiple avenues for higher selection in the future and playing Dowling Shield/Marg Jennings Cup is not a pre-requisite for these selections.
6 Victorian Country Cricket League (VCCL) regions will participate in the Cricket Victoria Country Pathway - Western Waves, Central Highlands, Mallee Murray Suns, Northern Rivers, North-East Knights & Gippsland Pride.
Each of these 6 VCCL regions do not have a Premier Cricket club within their region boundaries and therefore the country players & parents may find it challenging to regularly access development opportunities via a Premier Cricket Academy (Dowling Shield and Marg Jennings Cup). The two remaining VCCL regions (Barwon Rockets & South-East Country Sharks) both have a Premier Cricket club within their region boundaries (Barwon – Geelong CC & South-East Country Sharks – Frankston CC). These Premier Cricket clubs will reach out to the local Associations within the Barwon and South-East Country Sharks regions and engage with the talented and aspiration cricketers and coaches for their Premier academy programs.
Country regions (Waves, Highlanders, Suns, Rivers, Knights & Pride) will select a team of 13 players based on performances in the Association Representative Cricket (e.g., Junior Country Week or Western Victorian Girls Cup). Development sessions and a match will be played against the neighbouring region in February/March.
The All Star Program age group is U14 Female and U15 Male. This program will be overseen by the Regional Talent Coaches and leads into the Country Academies as part of the Country Cup for the following season.
We want to ensure every talented player across Regional Victoria, gets the same opportunity to be identified, developed and perform. This competition will be based on the existing region structures (Waves, Highlanders, Suns, Rivers, Knights & Pride) and will be delivered by Cricket Victoria Cricket Performance Department.
The Cricket Victoria Country Talent Development Specialist will oversee this process and program with the support of the Regional Talent Coaches and Region Country Cup Coaches. The Country Cup is where the most talented country players will showcase their skill sets and learnings from the Country Academies. Performances in the Country Cup will assist Cricket Victoria with the selection of players into the Cricket Victoria Emerging Players Programs (Victoria Country). Country Cup Age Group & Timings: U15 Female & U16 Male – December.
An important phase of the Cricket Victoria Player Pathway is the underage Premier Cricket competition for all aspiring and talented players.
Premier Cricket is the pinnacle club competition in Victoria and players need to be playing this competition at a senior level to be selected for any senior Victorian team. The underage Premier competition (Under 16 Boys Dowling Shield & Under 15 Girls Marg Jennings Cup) gives players the flexibility to play at a Premier club without having to commit for the whole season, this is especially important for country players who are unable to travel long distances consistently.
The Cricket Victoria Country Talent Development Specialist, Regional Talent Coaches, Association Representatives and Premier Clubs will work together to identify country players who are aspirational and talented. Country players can participate in both the Country Academy/Country Cup and a Premier Cricket Academy/Dowling Shield or Marg Jennings.
Country players who haven’t been selected in the a Dowling Shield or Marg Jennings Cup team can be identified and connected to a Premier Cricket club through strong performances in the Country Cup.
The Cricket Victoria Country Talent Development Specialist, Regional Talent Coaches and Region Country Cup Coaches are available to support the talented country players & parents with connecting into Premier Cricket.
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