Since the Imparja Cup went national in 2001, Victoria has always been the underdog.
Their performance at the 2012 tournament showed that is going to change.
The Noogal Toengorrt Tani team notched the state’s best performance at the tournament with a record five wins against South Australia, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia and Tasmania.
The team’s only two losses came against grand finalists, Queensland, and eventual winners, New South Wales.
At competition’s end, the accolades came flowing for the Victorians as captain Ben Abbatangelo, Fletcher Stewart and Bohdi walker were named in the Black Caps side for the team of the series.
In another great achievement, the trio, along with teammate John Green, was also selected to tour India as members of the Indigenous Development Squad.
Overall for the Victorians, Abbatangelo led the run scoring (244), from Stewart (149) and Barry Firebrace (122), while 16-year-old Walker claimed the most wickets (11) from Stewart (10) and Green (nine).
After an eventful week in Alice Springs, tournament head coach John watkin was proud of his team’s performance.
“It was a great effort all round and the team was very well prepared each day,” Watkin said. “There is lots to work with and on for the future.”
Prior to the tournament, the side were presented their caps by James Pattinson and Eddie McGuire at the Melbourne Stars and Adelaide Strikers KFC T20 Big Bash League match.
Originally created by Indigenous cricketers, Shane Franey and Ross Williamsin 1994, the Imparja Cup has grown from being a cricket match between Alice Springs and Tennant Creek to being a national cricket event that embraces the Indigenous culture and cricket.
In 2001 Cricket Australia turned the tournament national and since then it has been won by Queensland five times, New South Wales four occasions and Northern Territory, Western Australia and Tasmania once.
For more on Ben Abbatangelo’s journey to India with the Cricket Australia Indian Scholarship program visit http://cricvi.co/LNXpC1
May 27 to June 3 is National Reconciliation Week. The dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey-the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision. For more information on NRW visit http://reconciliation.org.au/nrw2012/