Photo Credit: South Australian Cricket Association
In partnership with Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), the South Australian Cricket Association is proud to announce the opening of a wide range of new cricket facilities on Kangaroo Island.
Funded by SACA and Community Bushfire Recovery Fund (CBRF), a joint initiative between CA and the ACA, the facilities replace those destroyed or damaged during the devastating fires during the 2019/20 summer.
Ravaging almost half of Kangaroo Island, the fires took so much from the tightknit community, and SACA, CA and the ACA hope that the redevelopment of several sports facilities on the island will be another vital step on the road to recovery.
Cricket Australia Facilities Support Coordinator Callum McIlveen said he is proud to be involved in the CBRF and it has been incredible to see first-hand the effect it will have on the Kangaroo Island community.
“The CBRF was developed to provide support for Clubs in bushfire affected regions of Australia, including new and upgraded facilities, but also to create community hubs to bring Clubs back together,” McIlveen said.
“Cricket clubs are important meeting points in communities, and these new facilities build excitement and creates more participation opportunities for those who may not have previously been involved in local sport.
“Sport is the heartbeat of regional areas like Kangaroo Island and the work done here to recover from the bushfires will see the return of these central community hubs.
“The CBRF is a partnership between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association, so the players are supporting it through the Grassroots Cricket Fund and there has been great investment and support from SACA, Kangaroo Island Council, local Clubs and Associations, Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing and the South Australian Government.”
Kangaroo Island local and Sydney Thunder player Alex Ross says he is privileged to be a part of the recovery efforts.
“The facilities look incredible and the community are going to be all over them, as we have seen at the launch today,” Ross said.
“I feel very proud to be here and to have played a part in the players contribution through the ACA and the Grassroots Cricket Fund. It is so important and I can’t wait to see the kids get stuck into the new facilities.”
Taking place in Kingscote at the brand-new cricket nets, the official facilities opening was attended by key staff from SACA and Cricket Australia in addition to members of Kangaroo Island sporting teams.
SACA General Manager Community Cricket Shane Bernhardt is thrilled to see what the new facilities will bring to Kangaroo Island.
“We have redeveloped the centre wickets of six grounds across the island, and at four of those grounds we’ve redeveloped the training facilities as well,” Bernhardt said.
“It is so important for SACA to be involved in these projects. We know that growing participation is about providing great facilities, and that is what we have been able to do here with the help of Cricket Australia through the CBRF.
“Sport plays an amazing role in the community, especially when recovering from natural disasters like the horrific bushfires of 2020. Sporting clubs bring people together and that is extremely important in times of need to ensure that local connection.
“For the cricketers across the island to be able to train and play on these exciting new facilities will be a huge benefit. And it is not just about the players, we know that the wonderful volunteers will enjoy the facilities as well, something that will ensure the continued growth of our great sport.”
Kingscote has also seen their changing rooms and clubrooms upgraded in recent months, while new facilities, including cricket pitches, have all been built and installed across the islands cricket grounds.
Wisanger, MacGillivray, Parndana, Kingscote, Western Districts and Penneshaw have all seen fresh infrastructure at their cricket venues, including centre wickets, practice facilities and changeroom and pavilion redevelopment.
Michael Slade from the Kangaroo Island Cricket Association also spoke at the launch.
“Everyone on Kangaroo Island was affected by the fires. Every Club had people fighting fires, we cancelled a lot of games across the season, we lost so much. Facing up to that was tough, but that is what communities do – they get together, especially through sport,” Slade said.
“Cricket has always been here on the island, kids just love to play. Now with these new facilities, we’ll have kids playing all through winter as well as summer. They just want to get involved and now everyone will be able to get around it. All they want to do is play cricket.”
Western District Cricket Club President Greg Bald thanked all involved in bringing the CBRF to life.
“The community was devastated by the fires. We lost clubrooms and facilities; we were hit really hard across the island,” Bald said.
“We are going to benefit greatly from these facilities, the upgrades are the best we have seen. It is so appreciated that we are able to rebuild and enjoy this new infrastructure.
“The facilities make you want to go out and have a hit in the nets; they are fantastic. For all the Clubs to have this happening is so exciting, everything looks great. Cricket and sport in general gets everyone away from day to day life, you can get out and join your mates and have a great time together.
“I would really like to thank SACA, Cricket Australia, the ACA and the government for the money they have put back into our community. It is outstanding and we can’t thank them enough.”
The CBRF upgrades come hot on the heels of SACA’s launch of the ‘Places to Play’ initiative which will see cricket pitches installed at schools across the state in the coming months. Forbes Primary have already seen their pitch unveiled, fully funded by SACA, with a long list of schools next in line to receive similar infrastructure.