A SEASON of positive and profound change for Bendigo's all-abilities cricket program will hit off this Sunday at Marist College.
After years of being based at Axe Creek Cricket Club in Longlea, the program has found a new home at the Maiden Gully Marist Cricket Club.
The move has been accompanied by a change in name, fresh uniforms and an exciting opportunity for division one cricketers to play games on a turf wicket.
The rebranded team will now be known as the Bendigo Albion Lions All Abilities Cricket Team.
It's a move long-time all-abilities cricket co-ordinator Rob Fisher believes will stamp the club as even more inclusive and encompass the whole Bendigo region.
"Over the years, the program has provided people living with disabilities a platform to have regular exercise, be part of a mainstream community club, make new friends, have fun, and a pathway to play representative cricket at both state and national level in the all-abilities format," he said.
"The move will provide the players with greater stability with the strong administration of the new host club and closer proximity for most local players at our new training venue.
"It will now present an opportunity to play on a turf pitch for the division one players, and our home ground at Marist College will now allow both teams to play simultaneously at the same venue for the first time at our home venues since the program's inception."
The club, which will field teams in division one and two of the Melbourne All Abilities Cricket Association, currently has about 40 players, supported by three coaches.
The move will provide the players with greater stability with the strong administration of the new host club and closer proximity for most local players at our new training venue.- Rob Fisher
A new journey as the Bendigo Albion Lions will launch with matches against two visiting Melbourne-based teams, Williamstown in division one and and St John's in division two.
Sure to be a key for the division one line-up will be state representative and national team training squad selection Mitchell Lawrence.
The introduction of two all-abilities teams swells to 15 the number of teams representing Maiden Gully Marist Cricket Club in male and female competitions this season in the Bendigo District Cricket Association (BDCA), Castlemaine District Cricket Association (CDCA) and now the Melbourne All Abilities Cricket Association (MAACA).
With new uniforms needed for all 40 players, Fisher said the club was grateful to local disability support providers Lifely and Adventurebilities for their assistance with some of the NDIS-funded program participants.
The club secured extra support from Albion Sports, Lifely, Eaglehawk UFS Pharmacy, Melbourne All Abilities Cricket Association and Community 1st IGA.
Sunday's games at Marist College start at noon.
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