West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook Cricket Club and volunteer Mechelle Hare are the toast of Cricket NSW after winning major Cricket Australia National Community Cricket Awards last night.

Hare took out the Inclusion and Diversity Initiative of the Year division, while West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook, in Sydney’s Hills District, won the gong for the Women and Girls Initiative of the Year, which was awarded to the organisation who best delivered female-based experiences by finding clever or innovative ways to engage and grow their program.

Led by tireless volunteer Kirsty Newbury, West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook CC launched an innovative program for teenage girls that was designed to develop leadership and inclusiveness in a cohort of players that don’t necessarily have ambitions of pulling on the Baggy Green or Baggy Blue.

The program is about equipping young women with all the skills and resources around the game, so that when they find their niche in cricket, or in life in general, they aren’t lost to the sport.

Held as part of National Volunteer Week and supported by CommBank, the National Community Cricket Awards recognise excellent performance and outstanding initiative in all areas of community cricket volunteering, club administration, officiating, participation, diversity and inclusion and program development.

Alongside Hare and West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook, NSW had a pair of runners-up - Bega Angledale Cricket Club in the Community Cricket Club of the Year category and Aaron Hagenbach (NSW/ACT) for the Technology and Media Initiative of the Year.

Cricket NSW Chief Experience Officer, Anton Brown, congratulated the winners and runners up.

“Our deepest thanks go out to all of the wonderfully selfless volunteers in our cricket community and a big congratulations must go to Mechelle, West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook and our other finalists on their awards,” Brown said.

“We are extremely focussed on providing a good experience for our volunteers and growing the footprint of women right across our game and the girl’s leadership program at West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook strikes to the heart of that.

“Hopefully we can all share the lessons learned from this valuable program.

“Mechelle was recently named the coach of the National Blind team and this is another fine accolade for her commitment.

“We look forward to continuing to provide all the support we can, so collectively we can inspire everyone to play and love cricket.”

The 2022 National Community Cricket Award winners are HERE.