A new practice facility and refurbished pitch at Quakers Hill Public School, now available to many promising young cricketers courtesy of the Cricket NSW and McDonald’s Facility Grants Program, were officially opened on Tuesday by former student and recent New South Wales Sheffield Shield debutant Param Uppal.
Uppal and New South Wales Blues captain Peter Nevill as well as students from Years 5 and 6 were in attendance for the grand opening of the new three lane cricket practice facility and synthetic pitch.
The School received more than $23,000 to help fund more than half the total cost of the project thanks to the Cricket NSW and McDonald’s Facility Grants Program.
Another $10,000 was contributed by the school Parents and Citizens Council and the NSW State Government Community Building Partnership program provided $21,250.
Quakers Hill Public School is full of promising young cricketing talent. In 2016, the School won the Milo Cup T20 Blast State Championships and were given the opportunity to play at the MCG. Continuing their success, the School were also runners up in the 2017 Milo Cup T20 Blast State Championships. They’re also doing great work in the promotion of female cricket participation with many girls interested in becoming involved.
Nineteen-year-old Uppal attended the school in 2009 and 2010, and was a strong advocate for the new facilities. He made his First Class debut for the Blues in early March during round nine of the 2017-18 Sheffield Shield against Victoria at the newly developed Junction Oval.
Uppal, who migrated to Australia with his family when he was four, demonstrates the encouraging cricket culture at the School.
Throughout his junior career Uppal represented NSW at various levels and the 2017-18 season has seen him emerge as one of the Blues rising young stars.
He was an integral member of the Australian Under 19 World Cup squad that were finalists in that tournament during January and February.
He scored 131 runs at an average of 32.75 and claimed three wickets at 32.33 and a very tidy economy rate of just less than four.
The Blues rookie then became the 745th player to receive his Baggy Blue as a First Class player for NSW against the Victorians.
Since 2013, the community partnership between Cricket NSW and McDonald’s has helped over 135 cricket projects, and funded $22 million in facility developments, through the Grants Program.
Leon Brown, owner of McDonald’s Quakers Hill, says that having worked and operated McDonald’s restaurants locally for 35 years, says he and his wife Elisa feel privileged and honoured to be involved in these partnerships.
“We have been keen supporters of Cricket in NSW for four years and are committed to helping kids get into cricket. Programs like the McDonald’s Community Grants to improve facilities, and in the last few years distributing over 3000 cricket helmets to clubs around NSW, all help to encourage kids to lead a healthy and active lifestyle by playing cricket,” Brown said.
The program offers grants to Councils, Schools, Clubs and Associations to develop or upgrade cricket practice nets, synthetic or turf pitches, playing fields, ground or club amenities across NSW just like those built at Quakers Hill Public School. It is hoped that the facilities will further develop and encourage young cricketers at the School and maybe follow in the footsteps of their former pupil.