Supported by CommBank, the awards recognise excellent performance and outstanding initiative in all areas of community cricket volunteering, club administration, officiating, participation, diversity and inclusion and program development.

Held as part of National Volunteer Week, two finalists were selected in 13 categories, with the winners to be announced Thursday evening at an online presentation ceremony.
Young Leader of the Year Neel Kalia is already an extraordinary young role model and inclusivity champion. At just 16 years old, Neel has coached the Star Blast program at Wembley Districts Junior Cricket Club for the past three seasons, giving up his weekends and school holidays to coach children with a disability.

As a result, two of his teammates have become volunteers and the club now has three Under-16 boys coaching the Star Blast program. Word of Neel's impact has spread throughout the community, to the point where young leaders look to him to guide them in their involvement.

Community Cricket Club of the Year Warwick Greenwood Cricket Club (WGCC) set an outstanding example with its initiatives in areas such as participation, inclusivity, child safety and mental health.
A family-orientated club with more than 160 players in men and women’s competitions, WGCC is known to members as the ‘Red Family’. Established in 2012 after a merger between Warwick CC and Greenwood CC, WGCC now fields seven men’s teams and two women’s team, making it the largest club in the northern suburbs.

The club prides itself on providing a positive, inclusive, and supportive environment to players of all abilities. It’s strong relationship with the Warwick Greenwood Junior Cricket Club has formed a pathway for players from the age of five, right through to seniors.

The WA Country Cricket Board’s ‘Out on the Paddock’ podcast was awarded Technology and Media Initiative of the Year for its contribution to connecting regional cricket communities across WA. The podcast brings together past, present and future lovers of the game by capturing the sounds and stories of WA Country Cricket.

Established last year, the podcast was formed after feedback from WA Country Cricket Board members that they regularly missed vital information on carnivals, results and events. Since its launch in September, the podcast has been heard worldwide with more than 1,200 individual downloads, as well as a growing number of regular listeners tuning in via the WA Country Cricket Board website.

WA Cricket General Manager - Community Cricket Jo Davies said the awards provide a fantastic opportunity to showcase the brilliant work being achieved by the WA cricket community.

“The dedication and spirit of our volunteers and the Community Cricket team at WA Cricket is incredible,” she said.

“I am so proud of how we’ve worked together to create, nurture and support our local communities through the sport we all love, particularly given the ongoing pandemic-related challenges.

“Sharing their stories and achievements will hopefully inspire other clubs and individuals to continue to develop new ways to build stronger community connections.

“It is very fitting that it is National Volunteer Week, a week we can thank and celebrate the amazing work our volunteers are doing to unite and inspire healthy communities through our great game.”

WINNERS
Community Coach of the Year: Ian Kenny (SA)
Women and Girls Initiative of the Year: West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook Cricket Club (NSW)
Community Cricket Club of the Year: Warwick Greenwood Cricket Club (WA)
Community Association of the Year: Barossa & Light Cricket Association (SA)
Inclusion and Diversity Initiative of the Year: Mechelle Hare (NSW)
Indoor Facility of the Year: Box Hill Action Indoor Sports (VIC)
Junior Initiative of the Year: Herbert River Cricket Club (QLD)
Community Match Official of the Year: Darrell Holt (VIC)
Partnership of the Year: Blind Cricket Tasmania (TAS)
Technology and Media Initiative of the Year: WA Country Cricket Board (WA)
Young Leader of the Year: Neel Kalia (WA)

Celebrating Cricket in Schools: Wayne Schultz (VIC)
Volunteer of the Year: Nicole Williams (SA)