Cricket how the kids love it

IT’S 5.15pm last Friday night and one by one the cars stream into Xavier Oval.

Within minutes, all parks are taken and dozens of mums, dads and children hustle through the Fallon Street gates with the sound of Redfoo’s latest single blaring over the ground.

But there is nothing “Ridiculous” about Cricket Albury-Wodonga’s Milo T20 Blast.

It’s a smash hit.

One hundred boys and girls from St Patrick’s, New City, Lavington, Albury, East Albury, North Albury and Holbrook have rocked up for Patties’ turn to host the 10 and under competition.

Similar numbers are doing exactly the same thing over in Wodonga on Wednesday nights.

CAW players are out in force with Kane Arendarcikas manning and sampling the barbecue, Braedon Hensel and Andrew Mackinlay patrolling the six matches and co-ordinator Robbie Mackinlay busier than Lavington youngster Oscar Lyons running between wickets.

Lyons is one of the stand-outs in a competition that caters for players of all standards.

Some charge into the bowling crease with a longer run-up than Michael Holding while others prefer to dawdle in a bid to catch the batsman off-guard.

But everyone gets a go.

Sides face 16 overs with each of the eight players bowling two overs on the freshly mown wickets.

When a player is dismissed, they stay in until that batting pair have faced four overs and the bowling team get runs credit for each wicket it takes.

St Patrick’s captain Heath Naughton has a son, Sam, in the program and swears by it.

“As a parent, it’s awesome,” Naughton said. “The young fella loves it.

“He has stumps up in the backyard now and I think he enjoys being able to wear the St Pat’s shirt and feeling more of a part of the club.

“He’s developed so much in his cricket and just wants to go back and play each Friday.”

Cricket NSW Murray development manager Robbie Mackinlay said the 12-week program had proved a winner at all levels and he was confident it would continue to flourish on the Border.

“It’s an excellent way to introduce kids and, in many cases, parents into cricket,” Mackinlay said.

“It’s the best thing to happen to junior cricket locally for many years.

“It is also proving to be a great social evening out for parents, grandparents and club members of cricket clubs.”

After 90 minutes of frenetic action, it’s stumps for another week.

Parents slowly make their way to their cars, listening to what their kids did or didn’t do and already their attention is turned to round seven at Bunton Park tonight.

See you there.

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