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Transforming fun for children

HANDS-ON EXCITEMENT: The Ironhide wicketkeeper catches the ball during her team's latest match against Optimus Prime in the Ipswich Transformers vigoro competition.
HANDS-ON EXCITEMENT: The Ironhide wicketkeeper catches the ball during her team's latest match against Optimus Prime in the Ipswich Transformers vigoro competition. Franca Tigani

A NEWLY introduced "Transformers'' competition is proving popular, providing fun and a potential pool of future talent for the Ipswich Vigoro Association.

President Deanne Lawrie is delighted with the six-a-side competition being played from 8am on Saturdays at the East Ipswich fields.

"We've had some really good feedback,'' Lawrie said.

"The parents appreciate it's only an hour.

"We're really happy with it.''

From four teams during a three-week trial, the competition now has six sides with emphasis on fun and skill development.

The competition is mainly for boys and girls aged 10 and under, who learn the game under modified rules.

The Bumblebee batter has a ball enjoying her turn in the Saturday morning games.
The Bumblebee batter has a ball enjoying her turn in the Saturday morning games. Franca Tigani

Everyone receives a set amount of time to bat, bowl and wicket keep.

"It's a great way for players new to the game to start out,'' she said.

"We have a Kanga cricket ball, so it is a lot softer, so the kids actually get more confident when they are batting.''

Lawrie said the competition was called Transformers as the new children start out without much vigoro knowledge and are "transformed'' into vigoro players.

The teams are named after characters in the Transformers movie. They are Occasionals Optimus Prime and Jetfire, Sports Megatron and Skyhammer, T.C. United Ironhide, and Wildcats Bumblebee.

Lawrie said the Transformers format had another advantage, building a link to the separate junior competition that follows on Saturday mornings.

"With the junior comp, which is for 14 or 15 under, we were trying to give everyone a go but there was such a wide range of ages,'' she said.

"So we found that even though some of the Transformers are still playing up in the junior comp, they're getting a really good skill base.

"The aim is to encourage participation and skill building whilst still having the benefits of playing the game.

"The average age is probably about eight.''