As the Imparja Cup in Alice Springs reached its climax, Matthew Hayden today spoke to the next generation of Indigenous cricketers at the Yipirinya School as he launched the Indigenous CricKids Playing in Harmony School program.
The program follows on from Cricket Australia’s successful Playing in Harmony resource, with Federal Government funding making it possible to have the entire resource redeveloped specifically for, and then introduced to, Indigenous communities.
“The Indigenous CricKids program introduces the Harmony themes of leadership, respect, fair play, teamwork and dealing with racism in the school curriculum,” Hayden said.
“Not only does the program help engage children in school by using fun methods but it also introduces the children to cricket and the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle.
“Some of the talent I’ve seen in remote communities out here is quite amazing, and with programs like this hopefully we’ll get closer to the having the next Indigenous player to wear the baggy green.”
Hayden also visited and spoke to students at the Clontarf Football Academy in the morning to see another example of how sport is helping engage Indigenous children in education.
The Imparja Cup Final teams have been settled with defending champions Queensland to meet Tasmania in the Final at Traeger Park on Saturday, a replay of the 2008 Final. The match will be broadcast nationally through NITV (Channel 180 on the Foxtel/Austar platform) from 5:30pm (Eastern Summer Time) on Saturday.
In the women’s division New South Wales will also be attempting to defend their title as they take on the Bellette Cougars on Saturday morning, with NSW Breakers development squad player Sam Hinton likely to be the key player.
Another highlight of Final day will be the appearance of the Australian Cricketers Association Masters XI, who will take on an Indigenous All-Star XI from the tournament in a Twenty20 curtain-raiser to the men’s final. International stars such as Brad Hogg, Greg Matthews, Terry Alderman, Matthew Elliott and Ryan Campbell will take part in the match.
First held in 1994 as a Northern Territory community-based event between Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, the Imparja Cup has grown to become a premier fixture on the Australian cricket calendar.
The Imparja Cup is hosted by Northern Territory Cricket and Cricket Australia.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS