The 2018 National Cricket Inclusion Championships (NCIC) will begin in Geelong tomorrow, with Australia’s best blind and vision impaired, deaf and hard of hearing, and cricketers with an intellectual disability competing for one of the three titles on offer.
Now in its second year, the NCIC, which will feature 15 teams and more than 230 players, will be staged from 22-26 January 2018.
Cricket Australia Executive General Manager, Game & Market Development Andrew Ingleton said:
“The inaugural National Cricket Inclusion Championships last year was an incredible success. Many of the players who participated have since gone on to represent their country and are role models for aspiring young cricketers back in their home states.”
Cricket fans right across Australia will be able to watch the Grand Final of each division on Friday 26 January via a livestream through Cricket Australia’s Facebook Page.
Australian players Alex Blackwell, Kristen Beams and Nathan Lyon are the 2018 ambassadors for the event.
“Cricket continues to make great strides to being a Sport for all Australians and the impact of the inaugural championships last year on the disability community was extremely positive,” said Blackwell.
“I’ve benefited so much from playing cricket and I’m sure as this competition continues to grow we’ll see more and more people with a disability achieving amazing things on the cricket field.”
“Over the past few years I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in and around many of the teams and players participating in Geelong,” said Lyon.
“If you’ve never seen these players in action I highly recommend getting down to a match or two. The passion and skill possessed by these athletes is some of the most inspiring that I’ve seen on a sporting field.”
“From the first time, I was exposed to the skills our state and national disability teams possess I was inspired to have more involvement in growing the game for people with a disability,” said Beams.
“I can’t wait to head down to Geelong and get around all the teams, share knowledge with each other and see some really competitive cricket.”
As part of its partnership with Cricket Australia, Commonwealth Bank provides full funding for Australia’s national disability teams, to help get them access to the same high-performance support that other elite representative cricket teams receive.
Kylie Macfarlane, General Manager Corporate Responsibility, Commonwealth Bank, said:
“It’s inspiring to see cricket leading the way in levelling the playing field and making it a sport for everyone. We’re proud to be a part of that journey, working in close partnership with Cricket Australia to ensure it’s an inclusive game that people from any backgrounds, ability or gender can enjoy.”
As Cricket Australia’s leading community partner, Lord’s Taverners Australia are again supporting the NCIC with Tav’s President and former Australian Test batsman, Paul Sheahan, saying the event is about more than hard and fast competition.
“Like Cricket Australia, we share the view that cricket should be enjoyed by all Australians and the NCIC is a perfect example of the power of the sport to inspire personal growth while at the same time bringing people together for the enjoyment of the game,” Mr Sheahan said.
In thanking all those who support the event, Andrew Ingleton said:
“An enormous amount of work goes into putting on a tournament of this scale. We are extremely thankful for the support of the Commonwealth Bank, the Victorian Government, Lords Taverners Australia, Cricket Victoria, the City of Greater Geelong, Public Transport Victoria, Gen U and the Geelong Cricket Association (and its clubs) for their financial backing, facilities and resources that ensure this event is a reality. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the work of all those volunteers who have freely given up their time to help bring it all together.”
The championships will be launched tonight at the Lord’s Taverners Reception in Market Hall at Deakin University, Waurn Ponds. Media are welcome to attend the reception at 7:00pm.
To follow all the action during the 2018 National Cricket Inclusion Championships visit www.ncic.cricket.com.au, or follow @CAPathway on Twitter, using the hashtags #NCIC #asportforall
The below matches will be available via live-stream on the Cricket Australia Facebook Page
Cricketers with an Intellectual Disability
Friday 26 January 8:30am (AEDT)
Blind and Vision Impaired
Friday 26 January 12:00pm (AEDT)
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Friday 26 January 3:30pm (AEDT)