TASMANIAN disability services and the state’s up and coming talent involved in the Hurricanes Inclusion Cup celebrated the end of the 2018/19 season with cricket royalty.
Players from disability services Nexus, Mosaic, Life Without Barriers and Possability convened at the Cornelian Bay Rugby Park to play in a friendly game of cricket before being presented with awards and trophies by Hobart Hurricanes captain Matthew Wade.
The Hurricanes Inclusion Cup is an all abilities cricket program supported by Lord’s Taverners Tasmania that brings together people who have a disability to play in a round robin competition that spans the cricket season.
Tasmanian sports coordinator for Special Olympics and strategy and inclusion manager for Lord Taverners Jason Schmidt said the competition provided players with independence and confidence, as well as the opportunity to set achievable goals.
“The aim of the program is to make disabilities mainstream,” he said.
“It gives them the chance to get in and play cricket – get that real team feeling that a lot of these guys are lacking and never experienced.
“Cricket is just a platform that we use to address many of the social means that they’re not getting within the community.”
Mr Schmidt said the competition had grown from a six-player program to a four-team competition with 50 players.
“We had about 150 show up at our come and try and we want to continue to double this – we want to make more divisions and more teams to make this a proper competition where people with a disability can play in their respective divisions,” he said.
“It’s just a great experience for all of them.
“They come far and wide, and are so happy and engaged.”
Nexus disability services took home the cup for the season, but mentor and coach Jayden Broad said the competition was mainly about inclusion.
“We’ve seen plenty of improvement, and whoever takes home the trophy isn’t the only winner – all of them are for turning up and giving the sport of cricket a go,” he said.
Mr Broad said he was grateful to see Matthew Wade come and support the program.
“Having the captain of the Hobart Hurricanes here really helps us get the guys involved and also shows that the Hurricanes care about making inclusive sport a big thing.”
Mr Wade said it was a great opportunity for the players to develop a pathway for higher honours and representative sides.
“It’s great to see them get a lot of enjoyment out of playing cricket and in the end that’s what it’s all about,” he said.
During the season Nadan Alisha, Ben Hunter, Nadan Hall and Tom Johnson represented the south in the Tavs Tas Inclusion Shield against the northern disability team.
Dennis O’Keefe was also selected to represent the Tasmanian intellectual disability team.
Caption: From left, Anthony Barrett, Andrew Alberry, Matthew Hill, Hobart Hurricanes captain Matthew Wade, Max Swift and Special Olympics member Craig Hanson.