Regional NSW and Blues join forces

The Department of Regional NSW (DRNSW) and the Cricket NSW Men’s Team, the Blues, have joined forces for the 2023/24 summer.

DRNSW will be the front shirt partner of the Blues’ Marsh One-Day cup playing shirt, while the DRNSW logo will also appear on the sleeve of the NSW Sheffield Shield strip.

This season’s NSW Blues squad includes a host of players of regional origin, including Daniel Hughes (Cowra), Chris Tremain (Yeoval), Matt Gilkes (Ulladulla), Jason Sangha (Newcastle), Blake Nikitaras (Wollongong) and Hayden Kerr (Bowral).

Australian Test stars Josh Hazlewood (Bendemere), Nathan Lyon (Young) and Adam Zampa (Shellharbour) are also NSW players.

The partnership continues CNSW’s long standing affinity with the state’s regional areas. Regional NSW accounts for around half of the state’s registered players, more than 250 cricketers aged 13-19 years are currently in the CNSW Pathway system and the regions typically produce around 50% of NSW’s contracted professional cricketers.

Since 2020, KFC BBL matches have been played in Coffs Harbour, while last summer saw the first BBL fixture played in Albury. Both fixtures in the 22/23 season were sell-outs. Last season also saw a pair of WNCL fixtures played in Orange.

Earlier this year CNSW developed a Regional Cricket Content Strategy, Inspiring and Activating Regional NSW with Cricket, which aims to advocate for funding for content to be played in regional venues.

Cricket NSW CEO Lee Germon said Regional NSW played an important role in the state’s cricket community and the partnership with the Blues reflected that ongoing connection.

“Supporting Regional NSW is a priority for Cricket NSW,” Germon said.

“Regional NSW accounts for about half of the state’s registered players and half of our contracted players.

“Some of the greats of the game have come from regional areas in NSW. Our registration numbers in country areas so far this summer have been great and with this partnership we hope to be able to inspire more youngsters in Regional NSW to play and love cricket.”

Minister for Regional NSW Tara Moriarty said the NSW Government was proud to support Cricket NSW to support the next generation of cricketers from regional and rural NSW.

“Cricket is part of the fabric of regional and rural towns right across the state, and every weekend in our regions you’re bound to see players, young and old, battling it out on local ovals in the heat of summer,” Ms Moriarty said.

“Young regional cricket players aspire to reach the heights of Australian greats like Don Bradman, Ellyse Perry, Steve Waugh, and Adam Gilchrist, by joining forces with Cricket NSW more pathways can be opened for players from the bush.

“The NSW Government acknowledges the role Cricket NSW plays for regional cricketers in supporting growth and excellence, and coaching them to realise their potential to play professional cricket to become one of the next generation of greats.”

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