New South Wales Districts Cricket Association Centenary
|About this Item||Subjects||Sport and Recreation; Australia: History; Parliament: Sydney; Tourist Industry; Cricket
||Speakers||Greene Mr Kevin; Nori Ms Sandra
||Business||Private Members Statements
Mr KEVIN GREENE (Georges River) [6.02 p.m.]: Last November I had the pleasure of hosting at Parliament House the centenary dinner of the New South Wales Districts Cricket Association. I congratulate David Draper and his staff on their magnificent job catering for almost 400 people at that significant function celebrating the history of cricket in New South Wales. I also congratulate the President of the New South Wales Districts Cricket Association, Jeff Evans, who has been in that role for about 10 years and is doing a wonderful job leading that organisation. I congratulate the organising committee chairman, Mr Eric Myatt, OAM, who is well known for his work over almost 30 years for junior cricket in the Sydney area, particularly the Parramatta district, and Mr Alf James, who collated the 100-year history of the New South Wales Districts Cricket Association in a magnificent publication. I also congratulate all those involved with the function.
Kerry O'Keeffe the well-known Australian leg spin bowler of the 1970s, was the guest speaker at the dinner. Kerry, who played his junior cricket in the St George district, shared some interesting thoughts about cricket development as a junior and the many hours that he spent practising at Scarborough Park, which still plays an important role in junior cricket in the St George area. The New South Wales Districts Cricket Association has produced many Test cricket players, not only Kerry O'Keeffe and Murray Bennett, the current President of St George District Cricket Club—who was also a St George junior—but Stephen and Mark Waugh, who are famous players from the Bankstown District Cricket Association.
The New South Wales Districts Cricket Association also organised a number of other functions throughout the cricket season to commemorate its centenary. The first event was a cricket match at Bradman Oval last October, which unfortunately could not commence because of wet weather. It also held a cricket match at Bankstown Oval over the Christmas period between the New South Wales Districts under-21 side and the Victorian under-21 team. I compliment Ted Poulos from the Illawarra Catholic Club first grade team on his selection to play for the New South Wales Districts side. It was a three-game series and, as president of my local cricket association, I was able to attend the match at Bankstown Oval. All presidents were invited to that function and my wife and I and George and Camille Phillips, who also represented our association, enjoyed it very much.
The last event that the New South Wales Districts Cricket Association will hold to commemorate its centenary is the Watson Shield competition, which is the under-16 district representative competition. The final of that competition will be held on Tuesday 24 February at the Sydney Cricket Ground. This is a fitting conclusion to the association's centenary celebrations, with the under-16s culminating their junior careers by playing at the home of New South Wales cricket, the Sydney Cricket Ground. We all know of the fine and proud tradition of that ground. Roger Ridgway will be one of the match umpires in recognition of his enormous service to cricket.
Roger has been the secretary of the Illawarra Catholic Club—of which I have been president for many years—for more than a decade. He is also a life member of the Georges River St George Senior Cricket Association, the Georges River Penshurst St George Junior Cricket Association and of the Umpires League, of which he is currently secretary. It is a fitting reward for Roger that he be asked to umpire at the Sydney Cricket Ground. All of us who have been involved in cricket would love to be able to take part in a match at the ground. Roger Ridgway is most deserving of this honour and I congratulate him on his achievement.
In reflecting upon the centenary of the New South Wales Districts Cricket Association it is also appropriate to remember not only the managers, coaches, club officials and players who have been involved in cricket at a junior level for the past 100 years with New South Wales Districts but all those who have made a great contribution to junior sport and ensured its continued growth. I coached my under-10 C-grade team this season, and it is great to see both boys and girls enjoying their cricket and, of course, all dreaming of playing for Australia. Not many will make it—only 300 or so players have ever represented our country at cricket—but so long as they enjoy the game we should encourage them to continue in their sport.
Ms SANDRA NORI (Port Jackson—Minister for Tourism and Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Women) [6.07 p.m.]: It is a pleasure to respond to the contribution of the honourable member for Georges River, who is an active local member who takes great interest both in the sport that he adores and in junior sport generally. He is most supportive of local sports men and women and of the many volunteers who make local sport possible, particularly at a junior level. Without that enthusiasm and support in the junior cricketing ranks we would not have the critical mass of junior players, who may eventually progress through the age-group competitions and make it to the Australian team, for which this fantastic cricketing nation is renowned.
I did not expect it, but cricket has proved to be important to the tourism portfolio. It became evident during the Australia-India cricket series this summer that many visitors from India had swelled our international arrivals figures. In fact, during the season we apparently had the second largest crowd in the history of cricket. That was good to see. I congratulate the Australian Tourism Commission on appointing Stephen Waugh—who has hero status on the subcontinent and is extremely popular because of his service both to cricket and to the Indian people—as a cricketing ambassador to attract more Indian tourists to Australia. There are all sorts of niche markets in tourism, and I suspect that cricket tourism is another.