Cricketers Justin Nilon and Connor Sheppard from South Launceston CC have spent the last few months fine tuning their games ahead of a series of matches against England in early October.
The duo are off to Brisbane next week to compete in the INAS Games and represent Australia.
Following strong performances in the National Cricket Inclusion Championships in January, both players earned selection in Cricket Australia’s ID high performance program.
Through this program, they’ve attended training camps at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane in March and have been training over the last six weeks under the watchful eye of some of Tasmania’s best coaches to help them prepare to represent their country.
Andy Gower – Head Coach of the Greater Northern Raiders and Pathway Coach with Cricket Tasmania, has been working with their pair and including them in training with other high performance squads.
Andy has been learning just as much from the pair and using the experience as part of his coaching program to complete his High Performance Level 3 Coaching certificate.
“It’s been great having the guys involved in our programs, their enthusiasm is infectious and they bring great energy to the group,” said Gower.
“Nothing is too much trouble and they are always keen to learn and improve.”
He has been supported by Tasmania’s Inclusion Championships coach – Liam Devlin, and together they’ve seen the players develop significantly over recent years.
“Justin and Connor are both fine young men and they give 100% of their effort at every training session,” said Devlin.
Cricket Tasmania and New Horizons are currently working together with squads in each region of the state ahead of this year’s National Cricket Inclusion Championships and Devlin is on the lookout for new talent.
“As word gets out, we seems to be picking up one or two players every year. Some of them involved in mainstream cricket, whilst others are new to the sport. They’re all welcome and we’re having a lot of fun,” said Devlin.
In recognition of the pairs ongoing development and prominence, cricket equipment company ICON Sports has extended their sponsorship of the boys, providing them with a full set of playing equipment for use in the International Series.
ICON Sports’ Daniel Salpietro is enthusiastic about the ongoing support.
“These guys are great role models for all sports people,” he said.
“They give it their all, play with great spirit and have plenty of laughs along the way. We couldn’t be more proud of their achievement or more keen on seeing them do well. We wish them all the best for the INAS Games and beyond."
About the INAS Global Games
The INAS Global Games are the world’s biggest sports event for athletes with an intellectual impairment. More than 1,000 athletes from all around the globe gather every four years to compete for medals.
The 2019 INAS Global Games are expected to be the best yet. The Games will be hosted by Sport Inclusion Australia – INAS member organisation in Australia. They are working with many national and international sporting bodies.
More than 1,000 athletes are expected to travel to Brisbane just under one year ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The host nation are expected to be strong, continuing their Global Games record where they have finished on top of the medals table at every edition since 2009