The 2021 edition of the Cricket NSW Country Blitz took place on Wednesday September 15 with the initiative engaging 16,477 people from regional and rural NSW.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the program was delivered remotely this year with more than thirty cricketers and state head coaches participating in over 50 virtual Q&As with students, teachers, club cricketers, community coaches and fans.

NSW Blues and Australian bowler Nathan Lyon joined NSW Breakers and Sixers WBBL star Emma Hughes in beaming live into homes and schools across the Far West of the state, speaking with students from seventeen different schools.

Hughes, who hails from Dubbo, joined Lyon in talking about their respective cricket journeys plus fielded questions from students who attend St Ignatius Bourke, Burrabadine Christian Community School, Central West Leadership Academy, Condobolin Public School, Dubbo College, St John’s College Dubbo, St Mary’s Dubbo, St Pius X Dubbo, Red Bend College Forbes, Parkes Christian School, St Laurence’s Primary Forbes, Parkes High School, Parkes Public School, St Augustine’s Narromine, Narromine Public School and St Patrick’s Trundle.

“It’s been a challenging couple of years with the pandemic, particularly in the west over the recent months and while we can’t get out into the community in person, it was fantastic to connect with families and schools online,” Hughes said.

“Both myself and Nathan are very appreciative of their time and had a heap of fun talking to students about all things cricket and hopefully our stories will inspire many to play and register with their local cricket clubs this summer, where they are guaranteed to have plenty of fun in a safe and supportive environment.”

Two new inclusions for this year’s County Blitz were a Q&A session specifically for Girls aged 12 – 18 featuring Sydney Thunder WBBL player Sam Bates and Sydney Sixers’ Angela Reakes, plus a webinar for community cricket coaches hosted by Blues Head Coach Phil Jaques and Breakers Head Coach Gavan Twining.

Cricket NSW General Manager – Community Cricket Experience, Joanne Scanlon said the 2021 version of the concept was a resounding success.

“This year’s Country Blitz was simply incredible, with a huge amount of positive feedback from those who participated,” Scanlon said.

“Now more than ever it’s important for Cricket NSW to remain connected with regional and rural communities who are not only passionate about cricket, but many are isolated in lockdown.

“We would like to send a massive thank you to the teachers and club administrators for their assistance in making this year’s virtual Country Blitz the success that it was.

“Our focus now turns to readying ourselves and our cricket community for the commencement of the cricket season in a fun, safe and compliant environment as soon as settings permit.”

To play cricket this summer, sign up to your local club at PlayCricket.com.au.