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Why it's essential to bolster grassroots cricket

Northsiders bowler Kev Cumming is among the experienced players representing the South East Queensland Stormers next weekend.
Northsiders bowler Kev Cumming is among the experienced players representing the South East Queensland Stormers next weekend. David Nielsen

ON the issue of Australian cricketers' new contract agreement and its implications, many different opinions have been expressed by the Cricket Australia and the Players Union.

The crux of the deal was to deliver a package or memorandum of understanding for funding over the next five years and how that revenue would be shared between players, boards and local cricket associations.

This is not profit dividend but revenue predicted to be raised by all Australian cricket ventures through broadcast rights of cricket, gate-taking or other revenue streams.

Essentially, the new deal will give Sheffield Shield cricketers and women players more money from the revenue raised by Australian national team.

The Australian contracted players will not see an increase as such but still take 25% of that revenue pie.

This increase is important for the young players to stay in cricket when up against the threats posed by AFL and rugby league codes that pay their players significantly more money.

The long stand-off fight over a revenue sharing model was a silly one as almost all of world sports are now of this model of player payment.

Trying to reverse this model was a questionable policy and ultimately pushed players to towards the Players Union. Giving individual contracts to Steve Smith and Dave Warner was another misstep.

This method may have worked only two years ago but the players seem to be more harmonious under Smith's leadership and employing two board members for this specific reason backfired spectacularly.

If the Cricket Australia board spent more time trying to convince the Australian public on the need to make grassroots clubs better off, they might have won the war. However, the players' solidarity won out.

In the cut and thrust of this agreement, funding for grassroot cricket was raised by each side and both quoted they had their interest more so than the other side. Now, that the dust settled, local cricket associations and clubs are now expectant of those promises made. It is hoped by that Cricket Australia and players follow through.

Many clubs in Ipswich are in need of help, with both grounds and player facilities. Starting with the Ipswich Logan Hornets and Ipswich Association, they need many improvements to their Marsden grounds. The new nets will be ready soon, but the fields need more money to improve them.

The clubhouses around the clubs need to be more women friendly. Women's cricket will probably boom in the next few years and clubs must start to take advantage of this. Not having a changeroom is unacceptable for them.

All canteens need to be bigger so clubs can raise more revenue independently. All clubs need help to cover other basic equipment like heavy rollers, whether a new model or just maintaining the old one, sightscreens, and even money to club officials to prepare pitches for the weekends.

This will roll into helping in lowering weekly wicket fees to players and general costs to clubs too. The clubs may be able to branch out and try to attract sponsor- ships from local business.

It is also hoped more first-class cricketers, both men and women, can travel to coach and partake in more games in Ipswich, especially in Ipswich T20 Baxter Big Bash.

Firstly, it will help people connect more with state players which few know unless they play in the BBL.

Secondly, it would help Brisbane Heat especially support knowing that Ipswich fans can follow and watch a BBL star through the summer. This will no doubt lead to more spectators at the Gabba.

Lastly, it would inspire the local players having a star player in action at their own club, either playing in that match or supporters coming to watch in the crowd.

Having the occasional Brisbane Heat or Queensland Bulls player, men or women, also touring the Ipswich schools teaching and encouraging kids during a lunch break with Qld development coaches would not go astray in reviving cricket. At the moment, cricket is almost dead in primary schools.

These kids could then pester the parents play in Milo Have a Go and start their cricketing career.

Currently, Australian Rules, soccer and rugby league do it so much better.

Stormers on T20 Country mission

THE South East Queensland Stormers, the T20 team that represents Ipswich, Logan and Beaudesert associations, is heading to Mackay next week.

The team will again to take on Queensland Country's best T20 players in the latest series starting on Friday night.

Over the past two years, SEQ have started off slowly due to lack of match practice.

This season, with a few trial games under their belt, the team will be better and give the competition a shake like they did in 2014 when making the final at the Gabba.

SEQ have Wide Bay, Far North Queensland and Central Queensland in the pool. They will have their game on Saturday afternoon at 2.30pm streamed on Bulls Masters facebook page.

The team is: Brodie Dwyer (Redbacks), Michael Ridgewell (Brothers), Troy Copper (Northiders), Mitchell Weatherhead (Brothers), Dylan Blackman (Northsiders), Joel Thorne (Beaudesert), Dave Tyler (Centrals), Matt Guest (Centrals), Geoff Klease (Beaudesert), Vaughan Oldham (Redbacks), Kev Cumming (Northsiders) and Jasper Singh (Redbacks).

Topics:  grassroots cricket ipswich cricket wayne jones wayne's wicket