Saturday, April 1, 2023

SACA launch School Cricket Pitch Funding Program

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The South Australian Cricket Association has launched a School Cricket Pitch Funding Program, with the hope of sustaining and growing junior cricket participation and enable more available ovals for schools and cricket clubs.

This program will allow schools to receive a grant of up to $20,000 to install a new cricket pitch (hard wicket).

SACA, schools and community clubs will then work together to ensure there are more cricket ovals available for club’s junior side to play at, with the schools and club forming connections which will hopefully lead to the schools become a participation feeder for the clubs.

The initiative was launched at Forbes Primary School on Monday, with Mr Blair Boyer MP, Minister for Education Training and Skills, Mr Kirby Dickinson, Principal, Forbes Primary School, Mr Shane Bernhardt, General Manager Community Cricket, South Australian Cricket Association, Mr James Fiebig, Plympton Cricket Club Junior Coordinator and West End Redbacks players in attendance. 

Shane Bernhardt, SACA’s General Manager Community Cricket, said the program is a great example of school, community cricket club and SACA working together.

“With limited open space available for additional cricket grounds and many existing grounds operating at full capacity, accessing and retention of current cricket facilities including community and school facilities becomes critically important,” Bernhardt said.

“In just the South Central region, there has been a 28 per cent increase in Under 10 to Under 14 teams over the last four seasons.

“Schools play an important role in connecting community sport and this is a great example of schools who are the heart of our communities working with a nearby sporting club and community to facilitate a much-needed place to play.

“We look forward to supporting similar partnerships between cricket clubs and schools through SACA’s school cricket pitch grant program.”

Alex Beckington, Forbes Primary PE Teacher, said that this initiative is timely given the interest his students have in cricket.

“We are incredibly grateful to SACA for helping our school increase the learning and sporting potential of our students and take further steps towards establishing ourselves as a community hub,” Beckington said.

“This fantastic new pitch will increase student engagement in cricket, which has been building in recent times, and allow us to form a rewarding connection with the Plympton Cricket Club who we look forward to working with for many years to come”.

James Fiebig, Plympton Cricket Club Junior Coordinator, said this is an outstanding initiative from SACA, with the investing in school facilities enabling greater participation in the game.

“We hope this project lays the foundations of a partnership between the Plympton Sports Club and the school to provide cricket programs so students can enjoy the thrills of playing cricket,” Fiebig said.

“By having the new facilities at the school, we are aiming to associate our entry level programs such as cricket blast with the school to inspire the next generation of players to play the game and create a pathway for participants to join our cricket club, as well as providing flexibility for the club with scheduling training and games.”

Minister for Education, Training and Skills, Blair Boyer spoke about the impact this program would have on the community.

“Sport is such an important part of children and young people’s education, not only for their physical fitness, but to create a sense of belonging and wellbeing,” Mr Boyer said.

“I happily spent all my recess and lunch times playing sport all throughout my school days. 

“I’ve been lucky enough to visit Forbes Primary School previously and have seen first-hand the great work that Principal Kirby Dickinson and his staff do here – and this cricket pitch will mean so much to the community.”

School Cricket Pitch Funding Program applications can be submitted via the SACA website.

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