New cricket hub is pitch perfect

Howzat! In a cricketing first for the Fleurieu, Tatachilla Lutheran College has partnered with McLaren Districts Cricket Club to establish a high-quality cricketing hub for aspiring young cricketers seeking to train at the next level.

It heralds new innings for McLaren Vale’s emerging Southern Stars and Baggy Greens.

The cricketing hub will establish cricket as a major sport for students at Tatachilla and provide the McLaren Districts Cricket Club with access to contemporary and expanded training facilities.

The hub will comprise four netted practice pitches valued at $150,000.

A brand new $20,000 hard wicket cricket pitch will also be laid on the existing college oval as part of the cricket hub thanks to a grant from the South Australian Cricket Association.

The new facilities will be available for use by all Tatachilla students and McLaren Districts Cricket Club players with a view to boosting participation in Australia’s national sport at the local level.

Tatachilla Lutheran College Business Director, Christo Botha, says that the cricketing hub has only been made possible through strong community relationships and a shared passion to ensure that the game of cricket continued to thrive in the community and attract new talent.

“Our new partnership with McLaren Districts Cricket Club is an example of community collaboration at its very best,” says Christo.

“We have worked together to secure funding from local, state and national bodies and turn this cricketing dream into a reality for our children and our local cricketing community.

“Our partnership demonstrates what can be achieved when like-minded entities work together to benefit the community at large.”

The partnership has been awarded several grants through funding rounds offered by the City of Onkaparinga, the South Australian Office for Recreation Sport and Racing, and Cricket Australia. On top of this, Tatachilla Lutheran College has invested its own funds to ensure the hub’s success.

President of the McLaren Districts Cricket Club, Len Labuschagne, who has been a prominent advocate of cricket in the McLaren Vale region for the past two years and who oversees one of the biggest junior cricket programs on the Fleurieu Peninsula, believes the partnership will see more local players stay in the game for longer and draw out aspiring cricketers from across the region.

“McLaren Districts Cricket Club, known locally as the Crushers, is a thriving community of 140 members,” says Len.

“This includes 80 junior players and 60 senior players, each of whom will now be able to utilise the new cricket hub to hone their skills in an enhanced practice environment.

“The club is particularly proud to support an under 12s all-girls team, which is an inspiration for all young girls and women seeking to join a team sport and improve their ball skills in an historically male-dominated arena.

“We hope our partnership with Tatachilla Lutheran College will encourage all amateur cricketers – girls and boys – to participate in cricket and build their confidence, focus, athletic ability and leadership and teamwork skills.”

Len says that McLaren Districts Cricket Club fosters a strong sense of belonging and that the new cricket hub will only strengthen current ties between the club and Tatachilla Lutheran College.

“Many of our junior club members attend Tatachilla as students, and so the new cricket facility will simply be a physical expression of a partnership that already exists while also being testament to our shared love of cricket and sport generally.”

Works on the new facility will commence in April this year and the first players will be up to bat by May.

“Tatachilla Lutheran College is delighted to be the home of this new cricket facility, which will not only support our local cricket club but also enable our students to pursue the game of cricket in a way and at a level that they have not been able to before, right here on college soil,” says Christo Botha.

“It is our hope that we will also be able to introduce a club room in due course so that our sporting families have a place to connect and spend time during training and games.

“In the meantime, our new cricket facility will equip local players with contemporary training facilities and help ensure that this much loved and skilful game continues to flourish on the Fleurieu.”

Photo: Tatachilla students celebrate the new cricketing partnership with two of South Australia's state cricket champions.

Back row (L-R): Kate Peterson from the SA Scorpions and Nathan McSweeney from the West End Redbacks.
Front row (L-R): Luka Labuschagne (Year 6), Angus Hockey (Year 2), Fletcher Hunt (Year 4) and Mitchell Hollitt (Year 4).
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