Indoor cricketers with Autism welcomed into local competition
For the last two years, a team of men with Autism have been playing indoor cricket every Friday at Kaleen Indoor Sports in Canberra, up against able-bodied teams. The team's performances have been getting better and better and the team provides a valuable social opportunity for the players.
Rob Regent, who has represented the ACT in both indoor and outdoor cricket, is the founder of disability organisation Everyday Champions and set the team up. He plays in the team and takes on the role of coach and mentor. "These guys really look forward to every Friday night", Mr Regent said. "We have a good laugh, the guys are improving out of sight, the other teams love playing us and we're getting more and more competitive. A lot of the other teams used to take it quite easy on us but that is changing, and we're finding our opponents having to really be on their game to beat us."
According to Mr Regent, the long term goal is to build up enough skilled players to enter a competitive ACT team into the Cricket Australia Lords Taverners Indoor Cricket competition. "It's been six years since we last had a team go to Nationals, and right now, if they [the team] want to play at a national level they have to play for NSW."
The Everyday Champions team is the only one in the indoor competition made up of people with a disability. Mr Regent said it was because people didn't know there was a space to play in mainstream sport. The Everyday Champions cricket team hopes it can show people otherwise.