An overwhelming response to the WACA’s new Integrated Cricket League competition has forced organisers into adding an additional team to the fixtures.
The ICL is an initiative focused on promoting and fostering mental wellbeing and social inclusion in people with a disability, by integrating players in teams with alongside counterparts without a disability.
The competition runs for six rounds with matches every three weeks, with three matches pre-Christmas and three in the new year.
The ICL launched with five teams, but a turnout of 52 players for Round 1 resulted in an additional team added to the fixtures, with two teams from both Coolbinia and Kardinya, and a team each from Secret Harbour and Warnbro.
WACA Multicultural and Disability Programs Coordinator Brad Denham said the response from players, volunteers and clubs had been beyond expectations and praised the efforts of all involved.
"A huge credit has to go to the clubs, parents and volunteers for getting the players excited about the competition and assisting them all to get down to Warnbro,” Denham said.
"We’ve had to reconfigure how the competition will run slightly, but it’s a great problem to have.
"The transition from junior to senior cricket can be quite daunting for players with a disability, especially for those who haven’t played much cricket before.
"The ICL ensures there’s an option for people to experience cricket at a level suited to them, while still being a valued member of a club.
"We’re only a few weeks into the program and we’ve already seen players transition from the ICL to higher grades at the clubs and have an impact.”
Denham said the commitment from clubs to the ICL had been extremely pleasing and had provided year-round sporting options to players with a disability.
"The response from the clubs has been unreal and this competition wouldn’t exist without them,” Denham said.
"A lot of the players are involved in Integrated Football Clubs so for the community cricket clubs to take this on provides the players with year-round sporting options, often at the same facilities they use during footy season.
"The real benefits for the players come from being a valued member of a club and the social and mental benefits that are associated with that.
"The clubs do a great job of integrating the players into their environments and making them feel welcome.”