Vic Imparja Cup Team vs. Master Blaster Corporates

The Victorian Indigenous Cricket Team had a hit out  against a composite side from the Master Blasters Corporate Twenty20 Cricket Competition, playing a Twenty20 match at Harry Trott Oval in Albert Park last Sunday.

The match was held as part of the final training session for the Victorian representatives before they head off to the Imparja Cup to be held from February 7-12 in Alice Springs.  The tournament is the premier showcase of indigenous cricket talent in Australia.

The match was also a useful warmup for the The Master Blasters Corporate Twenty20 players who are about to start their 5 week season.  Master Blasters organisers Kate East and Jeremy DeZylva started the week night competition for business people unable to to commit to weekend cricket.  The competition is now in its second year and involves 10 teams from significant Melbourne corporations.

As well as attracting some decent cricketers, Master Blasters have also worked hard to support community initiatives through its charity partners Sacred Heart Mission and Urban Seed’s Credo Cricket Program. Indian student, Ashish Narula who plays for Urban Seed’s Indian Tigers Indoor Cricket Team joined the Master Blasters and was most impressed with the talent of the Indigenous team.

“They were very fast bowlers. I could barely hit it, let alone off the square!”

After being hit for the biggest six he had ever seen he said,

“I was happy, I finally got a stumping with my topspinner!”

More great photos of the day can be found at the Cricket Victoria Flickr site here

Victorian Imparja Cup Team

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Floods & Cricket…

Thoughts and prayers go out to many across Australia’s Eastern States and particularly those with whom we are connected in North and Western Victoria who have been affected by the recent floods.

The reports are coming in to Cricket Victoria of many clubs that have lost facilites, kits etc.  Obviously playing cricket is not the first thing on people’s mind in the midst of a crisis but soon after, the cultural role that it plays it bringing people together, offering a sense of positive hope can be powerful.   This is ‘re-creation’ in its best, healing and resotrative sense!  This was evident in the response to the Black Saturday bush fires and the Asian Tsunami.  Stay tuned as I know that people in cricket circles are banding together and various initiatives will soon be launched.

I think these photos from Harrow Discovery / Johnny Mullagh Cricket Centre taken by Bec Potter of the Johnny Mullagh Cricket Ground at Harrow in Western Victoria are amazing!

Ironically the Compton Cricket Club are scheduled to play against the Johnny Mullagh XI on this ground on February 7th as part of their Australian Tour.   Having initially in contact with Premier Anna Bligh’s office in Queensland about donating proceeds from some of their Tour Events to Australian flood relief efforts the Harrow pictures served as a stark reminder for the ex-gang team from South Central L.A. about the different environment they are coming to play cricket in.

Custard hitting one into the deep… April 2010

The deep… January 2011!

Custard’s Top 5 Willowfest Nicknames

What is it about cricket and nicknames? I was honoured to be invited to play with the Johnny Mullagh XI at the recent Willowfest Cricket Carnival in Mildura but as an invited player I didn’t escape the power dynamics of being ‘named’…

1. Custard: I have always liked to think it’s because of the ‘cus’ at the end of Marcus but really it has more to do with my throwing arm… or lack thereof…

2. Curdle: Apparently this is what happens to Custard when its been in the sun too long!  5 games of cricket in 4 days in 35 degree heat and my team mates could tell I was wilting!

3. Colonel :  I’m not sure about this one.  Perhaps a KFC reference as they are a major sponsor of Victorian Bushrangers (see next nickname below).  Or was it because I was the white guy from down South?

4. Cricket Victoria/ CV: It’s not news that some of the Johnny Mullagh XI have had a few differences of opinion with the cricket authorities over the years.  Given my current contract with Cricket Victoria this one was heard as an ironic jeer whenever I did something ordinary…like a mis-field… ‘Good pickup CV!”

5. Digger: This was by far the most embarrassing!  In the first game we were playing on a pitch that was sub-standard.  I hit one short, but wide of mid wicket and took off for a quick single but was turned back by the non-striker.  Attempting to get back into my ground my spikes got stuck in a hole just centimetres outside my crease.  I was aware of mid wicket approaching the ball out of the corner of my eye but,  as he was a long way away, instead of just dropping my bat inside the crease,  I once again attempted to place my foot behind the line in front of me. Once again my spikes got stuck in the same hole.  Realising I was stuck I went to place my bat down behind the crease.  Unfortunately I was unaware that mid wicket had ambitiously launched a full blown kick at the ball and had managed  to “Bend one like Beckham” from outside the box.  The ball cannoned into the stumps from nowhere the moment before I touched my bat inside the crease… much to the joy of the fielding side who celebrated like they he just scored at Wembley!  Shirt over the head and everything.  Walking off I was a mix of perplexed, embarrassed and angry.   My less than sensitive team mates called me ‘Digger’ for the rest of the tournament… because I never made it out of the trench!

-Marcus

Johnny Mullagh XI play Willowfest

Aunty Jemmes Handy Welcomes the Johnny Mullagh XI to Country (photo:Lenny Coops)

The Johnny Mullagh XI team finished runners up for the second consecutive year at the annual 2010 Globalwater Willowfest Cricket Championships in Mildura.

The Johnny Mullagh XI was defeated in the Working Man’s Club B-Grade division final by 24 runs against a local team from Coomealla-Wentworth.

The Johnny Mullagh XI is now an invitational side featuring Aboriginal cricketers from the South West Indigenous Cricket Association (SWICA) as well as several non-Indigenous players who were invited to join the side for the Willowfest Championships.

Four non-Indigenous cricketers from the region and Melbourne had bolstered the side with batting, bowling, fielding and wicket keeping strength.  The four guest cricketers were Jung Tigers CC veteran opening bowler David Puls, promising Homers CC wicket-keeper/batsman Dylan Young, Heywood CC A-grade captain Mark Jones and all-rounder Marcus Curnow, from the Footscray area and Cricket Victoria.

SWICA founder Uncle Wayne ‘Swisha’ Bell said that the four players had been invited to play to support and strengthen the side and were also important additions due to the unavailability of several SWICA players from the 2010 championships.

“The players fitted in well with the SWICA players both on and off the field and the additional experience and guidance they brought to the team was especially good for the team when games were tight”,

Mr Bell said.

While there were no individual awards for Johnny Mullagh XI players the side fared better than their debut year in 2010 after winning all four qualifying games and only losing the final by 24 runs.

Johnny Mullagh XI players Robbie Marks and Mark Jones enjoyed contesting the Willowfest Wack on the Wednesday evening but failed to qualify for the final.

Benny Cooke-Harrison also competed in the Willowfest Fast Bowling competition with a best effort of 114kms per hour, that surprised officials and spectators, bowling in board shorts, sandshoes and without a ‘warm up’!

Johnny Mullagh XI captain Robbie Marks thanked all players and sponsors for supporting the team in the 2010 Willowfest campaign.  Mr Marks thanks main sponsors the Koorie Justice Unit, Department of Justice, the Aboriginal Community Justice Panels Program, and Drew Heard Buses for once again providing bus transport from Horsham for the week.

Mr Marks said that the Johnny Mullagh XI would return for the 2011 Willowfest Championships with a bigger squad to ensure more player rotations over the four days.

“We missed several SWICA players through family commitments and injury this year, especially all-rounders Adrian Rigney and Benno Muir, but the commitment and teamwork both on and off the field was a real highlight for the week”,

said Mr Marks.

Geelong vs. Ballarat: South West Indigenous Cricket Association

Peter Lovett from Ballarat finds a yabbie in his kit!?

Wathaurong Cricket Team Newsletter Issue #1 December 2010

Nyoorra woorreeyn (hello, how are you) my wanoogs (brothers),

Where do I start, firstly, well done to all the players that participated on Sunday 12th December 2010 against Ballarat mob at Meredith Cricket Club, even though the result didn’t go our way, we lost by 8 runs, but we came very close to winning the first round of the South West Indigenous Cricket Association (SWICA) season of 2010/2011.

Geelong won the toss and decided to have a bowl first, as the weather was the main concern; it was drizzling rain all morning.  BJ O’Toole opened the bowling with the new ball and knocked over one of the openers in his first over, great stuff from our youngest team member, 14 years of age, well done BJJustin Taylor opened at the other end and was swinging the ball like a boomerang, he cleaned bowled the other opener and their first drop, he was our best bowler for the day and ended up with the tidy figures of 3 wickets for 10 runs after 3 over’s, well done Justin Taylor.

Chris Parker-Wilson was our most valuable all-rounder (MVA) on the day, his bowling figures were 3 over’s, 2 wickets for only 6 runs, and he scored 16 runs with the bat as well, deadly stuff my brother.  Watson Taylor was the best batsman for the day he scored 18 runs not out, and hit two massive sixes; he will now be promoted up the order, well done brother.

It was a great day had by all.  Huge thanks to Uncle Norm “Shorty” Eccles who could actually play a bit, just quietly has played for Australia, but he was happy to be a part of the team as the team scorer and umpire if required, great to have you on board Uncle Shorty.

Huge thanks to Sue Lovett, for helping out with pick-up’s with the bus, she had a great day and a great laugh, as you could hear her loud and clear from the sidelines.

Lastly thanks to all the community members that came to watch us mob, we all had fun, please come along for our next game to support the Geelong team.  We will be planning a few training days in upcoming weeks as the next side Warrnambool/Framlingham are very competitive and we need to be on our toes.  Next game scheduled for Sunday the 6th February 2011 @ Colac.

Cheers Wayno

Wayne ‘Wanga ‘McEwen

Men’s Health

Wathaurong Health Service

Promoting Indigenous Cricket


Looks like Custard will be doing some work helping Cricket Victoria over the upcoming summer on community cricket, particularly  in indigenous communities around Victoria.  Above is a promo video made for Cricket Australia on indigenous cricket by Carbon Media who produced the doco “From the Ashes” (trailer here) on the recent indigenous Australian Team to tour the UK, retracing the steps of the 1868 team.

Visit to Budj Bim

I had a great trip to Gunditjmara Country in Western Victoria last week, kindly hosted by the long term organiser of the Johnny Mullagh XI Cricket Team , Wayne ‘Swisha’ Bell.   The team carries the tradition and some of the ancestral links to Australia’s “First XI”, the 1868 side to tour England made up of indigenous shearers and station workers from the local area.

I was drawn back to the area because of the fantastic experience I had in April, where I played a match with Urban Seed’s Credo Cricket team against the Mullagh XI on the banks of the beautiful Glenelg River at Harrow and visited the Johnny Mullagh Cricket Museum.

It was an honour to be shown around Budj Bim (Mt. Eccles), the volcano at the heart of Gunditjmara Dreaming stories and cultural identity.  Swisha then took me out to Lake Condah which is presently full of water after many years without, thanks to a recent sustainable development project.  The evidence of the stone hut settlements, smoked eel aquaculture and the stories and landscape of the Eumerella Wars of resistance to European settlement were a powerful and humbling eye opener for me.

Such ongoing connections to country have significantly brought Native Title recognition to the area in 2007.  As a result Gunditjmara are c0-running the National Park with Parks Victoria and it was very inspiring to see young people from the local community involved in its practical day to day running whilst I was there.

I struck me that these stories and places are of huge significance for all Victorian’s and I look forward to my next cricket and cultural education adventure soon!

– Marcus

Lake Condah Eel by Jason Walker via Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Website

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