Australian Cricket’s community champions were honoured at the second annual A Sport for All Community Cricket Awards last night at Melbourne’s Junction Oval.
The event, held in partnership with the Commonwealth Bank, celebrates the incredible contribution made to the game of cricket by its volunteers, clubs and associations.
12 awards were on offer across the evening, with the two finalists in each category in attendance, after being selected from award recipients in each Australian State and Territory.
Tasmania featured finalists in four of these 12 categories, with three emerging as the eventual national winners in a tremendous result for the State.
Jason Schmidt (TAS) from the New Town Cricket Club won the Volunteer of the Year Award for his work improving the lives of people with disabilities.
Completing the large majority of his work in his own time, Jason has created two disability programs – the Hurricanes Inclusion Cup (HIC) and the New Town All Abilities Program (NTAA).
This has brought players with all levels of ability together to play cricket in a fun, inclusive and semi-competitive environment.
Cricket Australia’s Executive General Manager of Community Cricket Belinda Clark said: “Jason is an amazing individual whose actions provide inspiration to us all."
"Cricket is a sport for all Australians and Jason typifies the passion that exists among Australians to give everyone a fair go.
“Volunteers are at the heart of community sport and cricket is lucky to be the sport of choice for many volunteers.
"They make our sport better every day, by simply providing opportunities for people to play.
“Our award winners are fine examples of people going the extra mile.
"It was hard for the selection panel to choose these winners from such strong fields of community-minded Australians who love cricket.
“We thank and acknowledge all our volunteers and congratulate the national winners.”
The Sheffield Cricket Club (TAS) won the Community Facility of the Year Award for their great efforts with the Kentish Council to redevelop their old second playing surface to allow cricket for local juniors and girls to be re-established in their community.
It was very worthy recognition for the mighty ‘Mountaineers’ based under Mount Roland in Tasmania’s North-West after months of hard work and planning.
Club President Peter King said the award was great recognition for a small club.
“It is great because we are a very small club and it’s good to be seen doing the right thing.”
“The second ground had been out of action for 15 years and it would not have been possible without Don Thwaites and the Council.
“We are hoping to have a women’s team for next season, and it also gave the juniors a ground to train on.”
The New Horizons Club Inc (TAS) won the Partner Organisation of the Year Award.
Since 1986, this organisation has remained a vital link between people with disabilities and their hopes of becoming involved in activities that most people take for granted.
They allow people with disabilities to compete and participate at their own level, displaying their own skills and abilities.
Their sport and recreational activities are ideal ways of building self-esteem, encouraging community inclusion, enhancing friendships, staying healthy and helping people of all abilities to reach their goals.
The New Horizons Club’s sporting coaches and group leaders are all volunteers, ably supported by a dedicated Board of Management.
The Latrobe Cricket Club (TAS) finished as runners-up for the Community Cricket Club of the Year Award which was taken out by Victoria’s Edinburgh Cricket Club after they adopted a formal Diversity & Inclusion Strategy in 2017.
Latrobe Cricket Club President Stephen French said the national nomination after winning the State award was a great ‘pat on the back’ for all the hard work done by the whole club.
“We were a new Board this year and there was a push to be a ‘one club’ model where we were more inclusive.”
“Everyone has embraced the move and we have a lot of volunteers who deserve a pat on the back as well as the local council being terrific.”
The club actively creates a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere via good governance, dedicated volunteers and a genuine commitment to engaging with people from all walks of life.
So congratulations from Cricket Tasmania to our three national winners as part of four Tassie-based Australian finalists.
Naturally ALL our volunteers are extremely valuable and great servants of this game we all love.
And these finalists are just some examples of the many wonderful people involved in our Community Cricket right around this State.
2018 ‘A Sport For All’ National Community Cricket Award Winners
Community Ambassador of the Year: Sam Atukorala (VIC)
Community Facility of the Year: Sheffield Cricket Club (TAS)
Community Official of the Year: Ron Buchholz (QLD)
Partner Organisation of the Year: New Horizons Club Inc (TAS)
Community Cricket Coach of the Year: Darrel Forrest (QLD)
Premier Cricket Club of the Year: Adelaide University Cricket Club (SA)
Junior Cricket Program of the Year: Souths Junior Cricket Club (QLD)
Junior Cricket Champion of the Year: Rob Bailey (QLD)
Community Cricket Initiative of the Year: Ballardong Cricket Academy (WA)
Cricket Association of the Year: Orange District Junior Cricket Association (NSW)
Community Cricket Club of the Year: Edinburgh Cricket Club (VIC)
Runners-Up: Latrobe Cricket Club (TAS)
Volunteer of the Year: Jason Schmidt, New Town Cricket Club / All Abilities Cricket (TAS)
Recognition of Service: Ross Gregory & Donna Dalby