The Australian High Commission is pleased to be able to support the Solomon Islands Cricket Association youth cricket development project, with grant funding under the Australian Sports Outreach Program

Australian High Commission representative, Deanna Easton, last week handed over a cheque for more than SBD17,600 to Solomon Islands Cricket Association representative, Mr Matthew Wheadon. The funding will go towards establishing basic practice facilities to enable coaching clinics for children, students and others to be run.

Solomon Islands Cricket Association was first established in 1980. In the period up to 1996, the popularity of cricket in Solomon Islands grew, with a regular senior competition and junior development activities including coaching high school and college students. However, this was discontinued in 1996, due to a lack of funding.

The revival of cricket began in 2009 with a four-team, Honiara-based cricket competition, instigated through the joint efforts of Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Dr Derek Sikua, and RAMSI Special Coordinator, Mr Graeme Wilson, and his colleagues.

Building on the keen public interest in this competition, Mr Wilson and his team arranged for a cricket clinic to be held at Honiara's Borderline community, with more than 40 youths practising their batting and bowling skills, under the watchful eye of one of Australia's leading school cricket coaches, Robert Dan.

last week, the Solomon Islands Cricket Association has received funding, under the Australia Sports Outreach Program, to continue these cricket development activities. Mr Wheadon said "these funds will help to broaden the appeal of the game in the Solomons including in schools and colleges and encourage greater participation in the local league".

Ms Easton said "the Australian High Commission was pleased to support sports development in Solomon Islands and increasing opportunities for Solomon Islands children living in remote areas to be fit and healthy and actively engaged in organised sporting activities."

Solomon Islands Cricket Association was one of five sporting organisations which received funding under the Australian Sports Outreach Program 2009-2010.

Source: Press Release, Australian High Commission