Sunday, June 16, 2024

Queensland Cricket Reconciliation Action Plan – One Year On

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Photo Credit: Queensland Cricket

The 12-month anniversary of the launch of Queensland Cricket’s inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan highlights the significant progress that has been made in the past year.

With National Reconciliation Week now underway, the latest initiatives to emerge from the RAP have been unveiled, complementing the work already completed.

The ‘Innovate’ RAP launched last year at Allan Border Field has encompassed a broad range of activities that have helped grow Indigenous cricket opportunities throughout the State.

There has been sound progress made to date on its key organisational components, including deliverables in each area:

  1. Relationships
  2. Respect
  3. Opportunities
  4. Governance

The RAP is championed internally within Queensland Cricket by the RAP Working Group and externally through quarterly meetings with the Queensland First Nations Cricket Advisory Committee.

A popular initiative that took place during the 2023-24 season was the launch of the Harmony Shield, with the Queensland male and female Indigenous teams playing matches against a Queensland Multi-cultural XI and Queensland Invitational Pathway side respectively at Allan Border Field.

This match followed the introduction during the year of the inaugural Michael Mainhardt T20 Indigenous Challenge that was held at Cairns’ Griffith Park.

The three match T20 series saw some of Queensland’s most talented Indigenous cricketers, including several current Queensland Indigenous states representatives, clash.

The South Queensland Men’s Indigenous team defeated North Queensland to take out the inaugural title.

Indigenous representative cricket is a key deliverable in the RAP and Queensland’s male and female Indigenous teams featured in a cap presentation and farewell event in Brisbane prior to the National titles in Alice Springs in February.

Queensland had mixed results. The women’s team were the reigning titleholders and again made the Final where they finished runners-up to NSW.

Grace Abdy, in her second tournament, was the leading wicket-taker and Tracee Williamson was the third highest runs-scorer. Those two players, and Carys Underwood, all made the Team of the Tournament.

The men’s team finished fifth. After a slow start due to injuries to key players on the eve of the tournament, Queensland became more competitive the longer the tournament went. A highlight was Daley Martin’s five wicket haul, while the team claimed the Spirit of Cricket Award.

Elsewhere, the KFC Queensland Premier Clubs held their Reconciliation Round in February which was well supported by all clubs.

All of the above are key deliverables in the Opportunities Focus Area of the RAP.

Looking ahead, a major outcome to emerge from the RAP will be the re-launch of the Eddie Gilbert Program in 2024-25.

Originally designed to be a Talent ID and specialist training program when it was launched in 1998, the new Eddie Gilbert program will focus on delivering targeted introductory cricket skills clinics to Indigenous communities.

This will assist with driving participation growth and further building a First Nations playing base in Queensland.

The re-launched Program’s logo draws from the artwork created by SEQ artist Aunty Delly McDonald for the Brisbane Heat’s inaugural First Nations playing shirt that the club’s teams have worn in the WBBL and BBL since 2021-22.

It illustrates the water holes and water course that gave Woolloongabba its name, ’place of whirling water’. The centre circle represents the Brisbane Cricket Ground (the Gabba) with the 87 strokes in the design paying homage to Eddie Gilbert, representing the 87 first class wickets he took in his 23 matches for Queensland.

The support of the Queensland Cricket Foundation has helped create further opportunities for Indigenous cricket.

The Queensland Cricket Foundation’s purpose is to make cricket more accessible and has Indigenous cricket as one of its four key pillars.

QCF highlights included $18,000 raised from online auctions of signed WBBL and BBL First Nations playing shirts, with each player from the respective squads signing and donating one of their match shirts from the KFC Big Bash League and Weber Women’s Big Bash League seasons.

This was the second season that the First Nations shirts had been auctioned, with record sales generated, including notable individual purchases for the likes of Heat BBL captain Usman Khawaja ($1452), Marnus Labuschagne ($2,146) and WBBL Heat captain Jess Jonassen ($462).

The $18,000 raised has supported several Indigenous cricket initiatives, including the Stan Alberts Shield community cricket competition, Metro First Nations Gala Day and Engagement Carnival with Indigenous Schools.

Queensland Cricket staff will enjoy a range of activities this week, including attendance by key stakeholders at the Queensland National Reconciliation Week dinner, specialised cricket cultural training, a short film showing and an Acknowledgment of Country learning session.

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