Some of my earliest memories are of long, hot, summer holidays sprawled in front of the television, crunching ice to stay cool, and watching the cricket with my brothers.
We also played cricket. In the backyard. On the beach. And it wasn't Christmas without an impromptu game after lunch while the oldies snoozed off the plum pudding.
There was that one time I was sent sprawling by a six, which connected with my head. (I refuse to entertain rumours I've never been 'Quite Right' since then). Then there was the time when we all hid after someone sent a cricket ball through the (closed) kitchen window and onto the stove where a furious Mum was cooking dinner.
Good times, hey?
That's why, it took me about a second to respond 'You Bewtay' to an invitation to play around with the great Allan Border at Allan Border Fields in Brisbane this week.
The occasion was Queensland Cricket's launch of their Junior Cricket Revolution, a new family-friendly format for kids.
God Allan Border and Junior Cricket's brand ambassador Chloe Maxwell, the idea is to tempt time-poor, financially-stressed parents and their kids back into cricket with a fun new take on the game.
Junior Cricket Revolution has several advantages over traditional cricket in that:
- No whites are required. (Think of the washing hours saved! And no red ball stains either!)
- It's played with softer balls and bats, so kids are less likely to get hurt. (Mind you it took Miss 8 about 10 minutes to cop a ball in the tummy, and Mr 10 another 10 minutes to sprain his ankle. Shhh ... They were soon back on the field.)
- It's shorter, so it doesn't take up the entire weekend. In fact, it's over in 20 overs (about 90 minutes).
- Every kid gets a turn, and all skills are practised - batting, bowling, fielding, the lot.
- Parents aren't required to be sporty or even participate, though that is welcomed if they want to.
- In fact, parents can sit on the sidelines drinking wine and beer and socialising (gasp!), while the ankle-biters wear themselves out. "You had me at hello," said Chloe Maxwell to that. Amen.
- There's no standing-around for all hours in the heat of the day, and some programs run at night. And the kids are active for the entire time they're playing.
- It's equally attractive to boys and girls - and in some cases the girls are better than the boys. (Gotta love that!)
- It's an affordable taste of cricket for youngsters, costing about $65 for about a ten week term. Kids play once a week, and this includes a backpack, shirt, hat, bat, ball, and Milo competitions/giveaways.
As Chloe points out, kids come home pleasantly exhausted which means: "They don't talk back, they go to bed when you tell them, and they sleep all night."
Where can we sign up?
(Easy ... Go to http://www.in2cricket.com.au/ and enter your postcode to find your nearest game).
Thanks to Queenland Cricket and the Junior Cricket Revolution I have a Junior Cricket pack to giveaway which includes a backpack, bat, ball, bucket hat, sticker and Milo sachet.
To enter, check you are following Maid In Australia and share who your favourite cricketer is and why in the comments below.
Meanwhile, here are a few of our favourite moments from the launch:
I love that Queensland Cricket is located at 1 Bogan Street.
Healthy catering for the kids
Me and bestie Allan Border
Practising my model hair flick with model mum Chloe Maxwell
A little pressie for me from Allan ... (Yes, we are on first name terms now, thank you)!
And the man himself checks my little man's injury is taken care of ...
The Milo queue
Good to the last drop!
Chase and Harmonie with the wonderful, very patient and giving Allan Border.
Harmonie doesn't want to wash her arm again ...
AB gives Chase a private bowling lesson ...
Harmonie's turn ... Honestly AB was like a Pied Piper with the kids. What a man!