Special needs kids roll up for DreamCricket19-Mar-2015
CENTRAL WESTERN DAILY
The stumps were out in Wade Park on Thursday, when DreamCricket came to Orange.
DreamCricket is the brainchild of Rotary, the Movement Disorder Foundation and the Bradman Foundation, designed to give children with special needs the opportunity to participate in the game.
Murray Patterson, president of Rotary Orange Daybreak, is one of the local organisers. He says primary school-aged children in grades three to seven from Blayney, Bathurst, Orange and Parkes were involved.
"They're disadvantaged students or in some cases children with disabilities, and students who haven't necessarily achieved well at school. Our aim is to provide an opportunity for these children to achieve success in a cricket activity."
Mr Patterson says the children took part in five different skill-building activities - bowling, batting, fielding, throwing and catching - as well as taking part in a friendly game of 'run-out cricket'.
"They hit the ball as far as they can, and then make as many runs as they can before getting run out. Everyone can participate, even if they're using a wheelchair. I think it's just fabulous.
"Dream Cricket goes back about four years, when some Australians were in America and they saw the 'Miracle League', baseball that had been adapted to meet the needs of disadvantaged and disabled students. They saw it in New York, and thought we could do this in Australia and adapt it to cricket.
"They brought it back to the Bowral Oval, through the Bradman Foundation. The Rotary club of Bowral-Mittagong got hold of it, and have held it in Bowral for the last three years."
Ian Simpson was our region's district governor with Rotary last year, when the Bradman Foundation got in touch to see if they'd like to be involved.
"We put together a team of people to show interest, and they were all old cricket fanatics and tragics," Ian remembers.
"Last year we ran eight clinics with over 400 students attending. There are about 150, 200 children here in Orange today."
Ian describes himself as a 'cricket watcher' rather than player, with a particular fondness for one-day events. He says it's wonderful to see children with special needs an opportunity to participate in mainstream sports.
"It's tremendous for me to see how it's taken off across the district, because we were one of the first districts outside the city area to take it on.
"It does tend to be taken up in country areas. By bringing the network of Rotary into it, we can bring it to the children of the bush."