WA build great memories at National Inclusion Championships

WA Cricket sent three teams to the 2024 National Cricket Inclusion Championships in Brisbane across the Intellectual Disability, Blind and Low Vision, and Men’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing competitions.

The week provided opportunities for team bonding and meeting people who share lived experiences from right around the country.

Each side played in round robin matches across the week before a day of finals action to determine placings.

Several WA players did well individually with Ryan Honschooten scoring the most runs in he Blind and Low Vision B1 category, Michael Berg taking the most wickets in the Blind and Low Vision B3 category, and Tim Regards taking the most dismissals in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing competition.

David Melling had a standout individual performance in WA’s preliminary final in the Men’s Hard of Hearing competition as he scored 135 runs from 71 balls to secure the side a 75-run victory over South Australia.

WA’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing team also won the Spirit of Cricket Award which embodied their positive approach to the week.

The WA Cricket Foundation’s inclusion and diversity programs identify talent through tailored high performance pathways that lead to State representation.

James Woodley was selected in the Intellectual Disability team after using cricket as a vehicle to turn his life around after finding himself in trouble in his early teens.

Now 16-years-old, Woodley has embraced being part of a team, meeting new people, and is constantly striving to become better.

“My mum wanted me to do some group activities, so I started playing for Joondalup Kinross and then tried out for WA,” he said.

“It’s sensational meeting new players from different states and our team is fun and we have great teamwork and chemistry.

“It’s about going out and trying your best. There is no shame in that, never give up on your dreams. If you’re down or in a dark place just keep going to see the light, then your life starts.”

WA Cricket Inclusion and Diversity Specialist Jade Wyllie says it’s all about having a go in a safe space and knowing everyone is welcome no matter their background or ability.

“This is a culmination of the seasons work across all three teams and at WA Cricket we have a full pathway so children with a disability can play from five years old all the way to our State team,” she said.

“It is amazing to have all three categories together in the same place and having them able to interact and learn from each other about their different disabilities and help each other through.

“We have three women in our Blind and Low Vision team for the first time and they were able to play in an exhibition match and interact with other women from different States and they’re also thriving within their own team.

“Having a space like this and a national competition where we can showcase the talent of people with a disability is wonderful.”

To find out more about how the WA Cricket Foundation is creating a sense of belonging and inclusion for people with a disability, click here.