2020 National Cricket Inclusion Championships

During January, the best Deaf cricket players in Australia competed at the National Cricket Inclusion Championships (NCIC) in Geelong. Both Victorian teams represented their state proudly with the women’s team winning against a combined All Stars team that featured players from all states. The men’s team fell short in the semi-final against eventual champions, NSW. 

The NCIC is  a fantastic tournament, which provides cricketers who have an intellectual disability; are blind or have low vision; and are Deaf and hard of hearing the opportunity to represent their state. The tournament is now in its fourth year with this year featuring the inaugural Deaf women's competition. 

“Having a Deaf women’s cricket division really offers empowerment and empowering opportunities so that women and girls understand that there’s nothing stopping them", says Melissa Hale, Expression Australia board member and a long-time advocate for Deaf women’s cricket.

“They can step out of their comfort zone and as NCIC has grown, there has been more opportunities for women to participate.” 

In recognition of Melissa’s commitment in developing Australia’s first Deaf women’s cricket competition, Deaf Cricket Australia named the winner’s trophy after her.

Video – Melissa Hale explains the importance of giving women opportunities in cricket.

One of the biggest barriers Deaf cricketers face is communication with hearing teammates.

“Many Deaf players tend to be isolated in their mainstream hearing clubs and that leads to social isolation when it comes to communication”, says Michael Parremore, team manager and past captain of the Victorian Men’s Deaf Cricket Team.  

“You can imagine one Deaf person there trying to talk with a bunch of hearing people. So if you’re trying to think of a group or social setting, it’s hard for that Deaf person to monitor lip reading and to see who is actually talking. That’s not inclusive, that’s why having a Deaf team is so inclusive, and we’re sharing that common language (Auslan).” 

Video: Michael Parremore discusses the many barriers Deaf cricketers face.

Stephanie McDonald faced those barriers growing up playing cricket. She is grateful for the opportunity that the NCIC provides her and other Deaf and hard of hearing cricketers.

"I’ve grown up and played cricket as a young person, but faced those barriers that you do in terms of communication and understanding the game. This is an amazing opportunity; here I am representing my state", explains Stephanie. 

Video: Stephanie McDonald talks about her experience playing cricket.

Expression Australia would like to congratulate the Victorian Deaf Women’s Team on winning the inaugural Melissa Hale trophy. We wish both sides the best of luck in preparation for the next NCIC in January 2021

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