Photo Credit: Cricket NSW
Cricket NSW (CNSW) partnered with Waverley Council to organise Bondi Beach Cricket Blast, a free school holiday program, on the iconic Bondi Beach on September 25.
Sydney Sixers star Maitlan Brown joined the children in a barefoot Cricket Blast that offered a glorious spring morning of cricket excitement for 64 young Cricket Blasters, also featuring Sixers giveaways and fun cricket activities led by CNSW’s Blast Coordinators.
Brown, who signed a two-year extension to her contract with the Sixers on the occasion that locks her in with the WBBL team for the next three years, said she loved the idea of the Beach Blast and the fact that children could be out on the beach and playing cricket was a great way to keep them active and healthy.
The Beach Blast transformed Bondi Beach into a cricket hub, complete with Sixers marquees, umbrellas and beach chairs to ensure an enjoyable experience for players and parents alike. All necessary equipment was provided, and children, sunscreen on, took turns playing modified batting, bowling and fielding activities, while parents lounged on the beach for some sunny downtime.
Warren Manners a parent who brought in his son Robbie and daughter Cindy all the way from Berowra, said, “It is an amazing way to start the holiday. My children are big fans of the Sydney Sixers and loved to play Cricket Blast with Maitlan Brown.” Cindy bowled a full over to Brown on the beach.
Manners’ sister-in-law Stephanie, who grew up in the US and is new to cricket, brought her daughter Bronte in to play cricket for the first time. “It’s a free program and a great way to start the holidays. If she likes it, we’ll sign up for a Cricket Blast program for her,” she said.
The Bondi Cricket Blast is a decisive moment for Cricket NSW to hold more and more Beach Blasts this season. The idea of a Beach Blast originated from the CNSW’s endeavours to increase Cricket Blast participation on NSW’s beaches. The state is blessed with a long coastline with expansive and beautiful beaches. While brainstorming ideas on connecting the culture of the beach areas to cricket, CNSW felt Beach Blast would be the answer.
There is also a perception that cricket is long and boring and that children (and parents) would rather be on the beach than stand in a field. Beach Blast is bringing cricket to the beach. The idea was that the Australian tradition of being on the beach whilst playing cricket is exciting.
The September holidays were the perfect time to take cricket to Bondi Beach. Earlier, a couple of very successful pilot programs have been held on the Manly Beach and Dixon Park Beach in Newcastle.
The Beach Blast is a modified form of the Woolworths Cricket Blast, a Flicx pitch is laid out on the sand replicating a proper cricket pitch, providing an authentic playing surface for participants. The beach cricket is mostly played barefoot, and some of the modified activities during the program have been inspired by local surf club trainings.
This Bondi Beach Blast follows the recent success of the Play Cricket Week celebration in NSW, which featured Australian cricket star Ash Gardner. Last month, Gardner participated in a barefoot Blast session on Manly Beach, where she engaged with 40 Woolworths Cricket Blasters, providing them with valuable cricket tips and insights. The event not only marked a celebration of cricket but also encouraged young talents to register and participate in cricket for the upcoming summer season.
“It is so important to encourage kids to play the sport and get out in the sun with their friends. It’s super important from a social aspect as well to play a team game, and what better way to spend the summer than playing cricket?” Gardner said. “It’s awesome to see how many kids have already registered this year.”