A cricket party
Friday, 18th November, 2011
By John Casey
BH junior cricket will enjoy a major celebration tomorrow as it prepares to chart a course that is hoped will guarantee the future of the sport in the Silver City.
For the first time ever, all primary school cricketers will play at the same venue when they converge on Norm Fox Oval from 8am - and the unification of all players aged six to 16 could become permanent next season.
“This hasn’t been possible in the past due to the large numbers of games being played,” Primary Cricket Association President Dale Dwyer explained.
“But with the decrease in numbers over the last few years following retrenchments at the mines, we now believe the time is right to trial having all children at the one venue.
“This will not only enable better facilities such as the canteen to be utilised by players and parents of the junior grades, but will also allow the Primary Cricket Association (PCA) to have better communication between the hardball and junior conveners,” Mr Dwyer added.
A number of other flow-on benefits are anticipated, not the least of which is the encouragement the younger players should take from watching the older children in action.
“We hope the junior players will take an interest in the hardball games and will strive to play the bigger game as their skills improve and they enter the higher grades at Primary School,” Mr Dwyer said.
“It will also allow parents who have children playing at both Norm Fox Oval and Picton Oval to be able to watch all their kids in action.
“In turn, we hope these parents will also be able to become more involved in the games once the problem of distance and travel is removed.
“This level of cricket is based solely on parental support and involvement at all levels whether it is as members of the executive, coaching, umpiring, scoring or simply keeping the kids occupied while waiting their turn to bat,” Mr Dwyer continued.
The PCA is concerned that if changes aren’t made to the current system it could spell the end of cricket in BH.
“Our competition is a feeding ground for local cricket and with the problems currently being experienced in the Under 14 and 16 grades if we do not make changes to enhance the cricket experience for both junior players and parents then in the next few years we may see no junior cricket played in Broken Hill,” Mr Dwyer warned.
“We believe that if kids aren’t playing cricket by age 10 then they probably won’t play at all, so we feel we have a responsibility to foster the game from kindergarten on.
“Some initiatives we have introduced already this year include white balls for Wednesday games and enforcing the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ policy where there will be no forfeits in hardball and teams must even up the sides if there is a discrepancy in playing numbers,” Mr Dwyer added.
As part of tomorrow’s Gala Day there will be a free sausage sizzle and drinks at reduced prices.
Hardball will start at the normal time of 8am with the Academy/Joey/Lightning games at 9am. This will enable organisers to have hardball up and running before starting the junior matches.
Junior games will return to Picton Oval at 8am the following Saturday, November 26.
“We welcome any feedback following this weekend’s games - both positive and negative - and will next year look to implement any ideas or innovations we think may be beneficial,” Mr Dwyer said.
“I’d also like to thank our supporters and sponsors, Don and Maureen Campbell, Top End Meats and Craig Thomas, because without them this would not have been possible.”