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Spirit of Cricket - The Inclusive Game

"Cricket allows anyone to have a go and feel as though they’ve achieved something. For some kids in our All Ability program, hitting the ball off a cone, taking a catch, is a very special experience."

Cricket has long prided itself on being a sport that welcomes everyone, regardless of their circumstances, to participate - and enjoy – the camaraderie and friendships which underpin the sport.

In recent times there’s been a focus by CNSW on ensuring cricket is the state’s MUST do sport, particularly for those with special needs or disabilities.

Through its All Ability Programs being run by clubs, CNSW has provided cricketers who might be deaf or hard of hearing, blind or low visioned, confined to wheelchairs, or those who have an intellectual disability with the opportunity to experience the thrill of hitting the ball, capturing a wicket, or even taking a catch.

Through hard work and commitment, Sydney’s Northern Beaches earned the reputation as one of state’s All Ability powerhouses. According to Ben Bryant, Cricket Manager for Manly Warringah, the Northern Beaches program was designed to be a multipurpose initiative.

“It not only supported the participation of children living with a disability, but it also offered an opportunity for those aged 16-years and older living with a disability to be involved in coaching the program,” said Bryant.

“Participants each received a personalised Blast Shirt, whilst the initiative also saw the coaches align with Manly Warringah Cricket Club, where they were presented with a Manly Warringah coaches’ shirt.”

Through this initiative, Manly Warringah Cricket Club has opened a pathway for people with disabilities or special needs who want to pursue coaching or volunteering to have an active involvement with the club.

As a result of this, Manly Warringah’s 2021-22 first and second grade team managers came through this pathway. Their success has encouraged the club to create more opportunities for those keen to take on roles. It is hoped other clubs will follow Manly Warringah’s lead.

Each year CNSW sends three teams – the NSW Intellectual Disability team, NSW Blind and Low Vision team, and the NSW Deaf and Hard of Hearing team – to compete in Cricket Australia’s National Cricket Inclusion Championships.