Tuesday 24th March marked the conclusion of Cricket Australia’s inaugural All Abilities Championships. The tournament was a big success with over 100 cricketers with a disability earning the opportunity to represent their Country, State or Territory. Just as significant however was the local, state, national and international coverage the tournament received which will ensure many more children with a disability and parents of children with a disability are now aware of the exciting opportunities that exist in cricket for them and/or their children. The advertising value based on media coverage generated has been valued at $646,266. The major media coverage of the 2015 All Abilities Championships included:
- A national television story on Ten Eye Witness News which was also placed on cricket.com.au
- A television story on ICC 360 that will be aired in May
- A full page article on the front page of The Guardian website
- An article on international sport online magazine Inside the Games
- A full page feature article on Blind National Championships in the Eastern edition of The Leader which also featured on the Herald Sun website
- Live ball by ball broadcast and interviews with players and officials on Blind Sports Radio
- Several articles on cricketaustralia.com.au
- Daily wraps, results, stats and articles on the 2015 All Abilities Championships website (13,000 page views between March 5 and March 25)
- All Abilities Championships Facebook and Twitter updates
The Inas International Cricket Series
The Inas International Cricket Series showcased the high standard of international cricket for players with an intellectual disability. England won the series 5-1 and dominated the tournament from the outset. There were several standout performances for the English team with Captain Chris Edwards winning the Player of the Series making 272 runs at an average of 90.7 including a magnificent 104 in the final game at Carlton Cricket Club. Chris also took 7 wickets at 10.4 during the tournament which demonstrated his capabilities as a genuine allrounder. Other highlights included an incredible innings of 115 off 64 balls from Dan Bowser in game two (back home, Dan plays Minor Counties for Devon and has played 2nd XI for Leicestershire and Somerset County Cricket Clubs) and a deadly spell of bowling from fast bowler Matt Cowdery who took 7/19 in game four.
The Australian’s were very well led by Captain Gavan Hicks and well managed by Head Coach and former international cricketer David Hemp, assistant coach John Lonergan and Team Manager Jo Connolly. The find of the tournament was young Australian player Boyd Duffield who took 9 wickets (equal second for the tournament) and made some handy runs. Gavan Hicks produced the highlight of the tournament for the Australians with a very well compiled 94 runs in the final match.
The Blind Cricket Division
The Blind Cricket Division was a hotly contested tournament played on the magnificent facilities at Caulfield Grammar School, which produced some incredible individual and team performances. South Australia defeated Queensland in the final to clinch their first ever National Championships. South Australian 20 year old all-rounder Stephen Palmer was a standout performer amassing 230 runs in five innings at an average of 76.7 and taking 7 wickets at an average of 15.1. Incredibly Stephen was also Australia’s wicket-keeper at the recent Blind Cricket World Cup played in Cape Town late last year. Stephen tied with Victorian David Gauci for the B3 Player of the Series. The B2 Player of the series was also a tie between Queensland and Australian all-rounder Lindsay Heaven and NSW Captain Scott McDonald. The B1 Player of the Series was awarded to ACT all-rounder Cameron Roles.
Following the inaugural All Abilities Championships and consistent with the National All Abilities Cricket Strategy, we are looking forward to hosting this event on an annual basis with three National Divisions from 2016: Blind Divison, Deaf Division and Intellectual Disability Division. The timing of the event and the host state and region will be determined in close consultation with all key stakeholders.
Thank you very much to everyone who contributed to making the inaugural All Abilities Championships a successful event particularly our major sponsors:
- The Lord’s Taverners Australia
- Victorian State Government
- Caulfield Grammar School – Wheelers Hill Campus
Thank you to the many people who made it happen including all our volunteers, there are way too many to mention everyone individually but I’d like to particularly acknowledge:
- Briana Binch – Tournament Director
- Robyn Smith – Inas International Cricket Series Division Director
- Troy King – Blind Cricket Division Director
- Melissa Lowrie – Deaf Division (Exhibition Match) Director
- Melanie Jones – Opening Ceremony MC
- Graeme Innes AM – Guest Speaker
- Max Walker AM – Guest Speaker
- Aaron Pereira and the CA Communications team
The legacy that all your efforts will leave is something that you will continue to be proud of in years to come. This is just the start of a journey that is only going to get bigger and better and I hope that you will continue on this journey with us and help us to increase opportunities for all cricketers with a disability.