Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Queensland Cricket: Eddie Gilbert Program takes the Cape

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Photo Credit: Queensland Cricket

Queensland Cricket is set to embark on an exciting two-week tour of Cape York to officially launch the revamped Eddie Gilbert Program. From June 9th to June 26th, the tour will make stops in Weipa, Aurukun, Mapoon, and Thursday Island, bringing a renewed focus on cricket to these communities.

The Eddie Gilbert Program Cape Tour, funded by the Queensland Cricket Foundation, has undergone a significant transformation. Originally a talent development initiative, the program has evolved into an entry-level program, reflecting the ongoing evolution of Queensland Cricket’s First Nations talent pathway. This tour marks the official launch of the revamped program and aims to engage local communities through a series of school clinics, cricket gala days, and a specialised coaching course on Thursday Island.

Kieren Gibbs, Queensland Cricket’s First Nations Project Officer and a past participant of the Eddie Gilbert Program, spoke proudly about its redesign.

“Many of our past state Indigenous players came through the Eddie Gilbert Program. However, as we now have several coaching and talent staff based across all of the cricket regions, much of the talent development has become core business,” he said.

He continued, “Restructuring the program to become a first taste for cricket provides us with an opportunity to introduce kids to the game, and also showcase some of our pathway players to hopefully motivate them to continue.”

Local support for the tour has been overwhelming, with Rio Tinto generously providing free accommodation for staff at the Weipa base. This collaboration underscores the strong community partnerships that are integral to the success of such initiatives.

Tour organiser and Far North Queensland Cricket Manager, Trish Spry, is also excited about the regional activation.

She said, “Thanks to the QC Foundation and support from Rio Tinto, we’ll be able to spend a lot more time across the region, and hopefully help the community develop a love for the game and to promote the growth of locally run social cricket events, to counteract the huge distance to their nearest club’’

“There’s so much talent and want for sport in the remote regions of Queensland, but a lot of the time some of the kids, and even adults, can’t experience it due to long distances.” She continued.

The tour stands as one of the major projects supported by the Queensland Cricket Foundation, which also generously funded a variety of other impactful projects this season. These include Indigenous Cricket tournaments, such as Team Indigenous Corporation’s Stan Alberts Shield in Rockhampton and the Southwest Indigenous Network’s Western Rivers Cup in Toowoomba, as well as the Valley District Cricket Club’s All Abilities inclusion program.

Queensland Cricket extends its heartfelt thanks to all contributors to the foundation, whose support has enabled these programs to make a meaningful difference in communities across the state. To find out more about the Queensland Cricket Foundation or to donate, visit here.

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