Size no boundary to having big bash with mates
Meet the Beltas, formally known as the MacKillop Cricket Club, a small but friendly Hobart team that is scoring runs and helping build a stronger local community.
The club is now going in to bat with an extra $1000 after successfully renewing its Level 3 accreditation with the Good Sports program and being selected for a prize.
About 40 players across two teams come from varied cultural, social and work backgrounds, with a welcome influx of new members from cricket-mad India and Pakistan.
Like all sports, there are costs involved, and financial pressure on families can make participation hard. The Beltas received their $1000 Good Sports prize to help with those costs, providing extra equipment and uniforms for members to use for free, plus help with registration and game fees.
Hobart Good Sports co-ordinator Hugh Graham, who guided the club through its reaccreditation process, said being a small club was no obstacle to joining the program.
He said even though they shared an oval with a rugby club and didn’t have any club rooms or canteen, the MacKillop Beltas had a suite of policies that ticked all the boxes around responsible behavior and player welfare.
“We worked with the club and that’s something they were keen to do as well,” Hugh said. “We’re giving the club the flexibility to be involved in our program even though we’re typically based around clubs that might traditionally have a liquor licence.”
He said Good Sports provided community sports clubs of all shapes and sizes with different resources and a way to touch base and get advice if player welfare issues arose. He urged any interested club to visit the Good Sports website to start the registration process.
The club has been associated with the Good Sorts program since 2011 and president Jason Menzies said the reaccreditation process was simple and productive.
During a friendly sit-down coffee meeting with Hugh, the club went through what policies it had in place around player welfare and what it wanted to achieve in the future. It was also a good chance to catch up on new regulations, and what kind of issues the club needed to be looking out for.
“For me it was a simple process, very easy, there weren’t any dramas,” Jason said. The Good Sports guys from the Tassie area made it very easy for us.”
And the Beltas’ $1000 Good Sports prize will not only help individual players, but the whole club and the community.
“We want everyone to come along and have fun and enjoy themselves, without the burden of not being able to afford it,” Jason said. “Having this sort of program allows us to bring in new players. To get new players in we need to foster that relationship with the community, to build and grow.”
He said the whole community benefited when people could leave their everyday cares behind for a few hours to have a bit of a bash.
“Cricket is a great bonding experience. Cricket can be great for people for all walks of life that are going through all sorts of issues. To come out on a Saturday or Sunday or to training and have a bit of fun – that’s what we try to make it.”
Looking to the future, the club hopes to expand with a women’s team and some junior programs.
But right now, winning the Good Sports membership prize has provided an immediate lift.
“Winning the prize has been great for us,” Jason said. “We’re only a little club so $1000 for us is a massive boost to our bottom line and also it will be a great way to encourage our community to be involved in our club.”