Perhaps it's not all doom and gloom for cricket in the region with the rise and rise of the Illawarra Passionate Cricket Club (IPCC).
There was genuine disappointment among cricket supporters after Helensburgh and the once mighty Oak Flats cricket clubs pulled out of the Illawarra and South Coast first-grade cricket competitions respectively.
While it's true that around Australia several community-based sporting codes and their clubs are struggling to attract new players to keep their clubs going, IPCC seem to be bucking this trend.
In fact IPCC will be playing in Cricket Illawarra's (CI) first-grade competition only two years after becoming a CI affiliated team.
IPCC first appeared on the scene in the 2016/17 season when a group of players competed in the IPCC Cup in the Battle of the 12 Teams T20 competition.
Backed by longstanding UOW Cricket Club president Bruce Tosswill, the following season IPCC played as a UOW fourth-grade team called UOW Gold.
IPCC has expanded rapidly since its acceptance as a Cricket Illawarra affiliate in the 2021/22 season.
That same season IPCC fielded a third-grade, fourth grade and women's T20 team in the Illawarra competition.
In the 2022/23 season the club fielded a third-grade, fourth-grade and Under 13 team, with its fourth-grade side winning the T20 and one-day competitions.
This season IPCC will have a first-grade team, two third-grade sides, fourth-grade, a U13 and U10 team competing in Cricket Illawarra competitions.
IPCC president Dr Shiva Hampasagar said the club already had 90 players and 10 volunteers registered on Play HQ.
He said IPCC's teams currently train at Illawarra Sports High School but have been promised a home ground by Wollongong City Council.
Typical of IPCC's initiatives to improve its players' skills is the appointment of Phil Jaques as a consultant coach for both its senior and junior players.
Dr Hampasagar said the club was committed to putting in the hard work needed to enjoy long-term success.
"Our goals are to prepare a master plan for the home ground allocated to the club by Wollongong City Council and to produce a national player or two," he said.
The 2023/24 Cricket Illawarra season starts on Saturday, October 7 with the first round of the T20 competition.
IPCC will play all its home games at at Rex Jackson Oval in Helensburgh.
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