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Victoria’s young blind cricketers are ready to play

October 12, 2011
Category: Game Development,
Victoria’s young blind cricketers are ready to play

Being partially sighted or blind has not proved a hindrance to the hundreds of people across the country involved in blind cricket, as told by Daniel Paproth of the Melbourne Weekly Times.

The Victorian Blind Cricket Association, which runs four clubs from its base in Kooyong, will celebrate its 90th anniversary next year. Victoria is the national champion and will be looking for its fourth consecutive title this season.

Vice-president Rod Pritchard says blind cricket is important in ensuring the vision-impaired enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

“There seems to be a perception of ‘I’m blind, I can’t do this’ and when they try it out, they are surprised with how well they do,” he says.

The game is played with a white plastic ball with metal washers inside that rattle when bowled or thrown. Bowling is performed underarm and the bowler calls ”play” immediately before bowling.

There are about 600 blind students in Victoria between prep and year 12, and only 5 per cent are involved in sport, says Pritchard. The association is keen to enlist more players, and runs clinics to teach students how to play.

Pritchard became involved with the sport when his son, who has partial vision, took it up.

“It has become a really big part of his life; he is captivated by it,” he says. “It’s created a lot of opportunities for him and we need to get that injection of young people.”

Players are graded into three categories, depending on their sight. B1 players are totally blind, while B2 and B3 players are partially sighted.

Someone with normal vision can see clearly for about 60 metres, says Pritchard. “A B3 player sees with clarity within six metres and for a B2 player that’s about two to three metres.”

Former Australian star Max Walker has been the club’s patron since 1997. Pritchard says it is a privilege to have the man they call “Tangles” representing the club.

“It means we have someone who has credibility both in the cricketing community and the wider community,” he says.

“Max is a great guy who makes his time available for us whenever he can.”

The 2011-12 season starts on October 8, when the four Victorian clubs – St Paul’s, Burwood, Institute and Glenferrie – embark on a nine-round season.

St Paul’s is the current Victorian champion and will be looking for its third consecutive title.

All matches take place at the VBCA’s ground at 454 Glenferrie Road, Kooyong. For information, call 9822 7713 or visit www.vbca.org.au

More information from Melbourne Weekly can be found at http://www.melbourneweekly.com.au/

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