St Joseph’s Primary students got to meet Sydney Thunder cricket stars Ryan Gibson and Big Bash teammate Liam Hatcher visiting schools across the Central West.
Gibson and Hatcher were in Nyngan on Monday as part of the Cricket NSW Country Blitz to inspire the next generation of cricketers.
“We're just trying to promote cricket in country towns … and get as many kids as we can playing and enjoying cricket,” Hatcher said.
Students got to listen to the cricketing superstars about their upbringing and the pathways which led them to their careers. Following the session Jasmine Bourke and Ashton Deebank took on Gibson and Hatcher in a competition to see who could keep the cricket ball up the longest.
The Thunder players said Nyngan certainly boasts some cricketing legends, and encouraged students to pursue the programs on offer.
“We had a nice little game to see who could keep the ball up the longest, and I got beat, which is not great,” Gibson joked.
“Every kid has the potential to be something, its just making sure they get pathways or get in a program where they can develop their skills.
“I know myself growing up it was one of these programs that actually got me into playing cricket, so if it wasn't for that then I don’t think I would be here today,” he said.
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Hatcher’s advice for aspiring cricketers is to work hard, but “just enjoy it as much as you can”.
“We do it now for a job but we haven't stopped loving the game since we were 10 years old,” Hatcher said.
“You do need to work hard and there’s certain things you need to do along the way.”
“But if you’re enjoying the game, playing with your mates and having a good time then the hard work seems a lot easier and you get to where you want to be,” Hatcher said.
Cricket NSW General Manager of Community Cricket, Ivan Spyrdz, said that regional and country NSW had always been a vital part of the NSW cricket family.
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“Many of Australia’s finest players are from regional NSW and the Country Blitz is just one way to ensure we keep inspiring the next generation of fine cricketers from the country,” Spyrdz said.
“With much of NSW experiencing drought and hardship, we hope the Country Blitz and the players can provide some joy to those communities by spending time with them, talking and playing cricket.”
Gibsonsaid that after visiting Nyngan, which he says has been “great”, he hopes in the future they will host a trial game out here.
“Coming out here has been great, everyone's been very welcoming to us all,” he said.
“Hopefully we can bring some games out here and give these guys a little bit of more interaction with all our players, as we did in Orange and Albury, so hopefully one day we can get a trial game down here.”