Stretch out those lockdown legs with a friendly game of cricket at a community sports club that dates back to 1875.
Based in Royal Park since the 1940s, the Youlden Parkville Cricket Club embraces players of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, offering high-quality coaching, equipment and facilities.
‘Our members love playing cricket in Royal Park because it is a culturally and ecologically wondrous place, and our club has a real sense of community,’ said club President Paul Sinclair.
‘Let’s face it, we chase a ball around a park for hours on end, which on one level is quite ridiculous, but on another level this is how people establish friendships that last well beyond the game.
‘These friendships, which go beyond the boundaries of religion, culture and gender, are the sources of resilience when people do it hard in their personal lives.’
During COVID-19, the Youlden Parkville Cricket Club members have sorely missed getting together to play sport and socialise, but they have also worked hard to adapt and keep active.
‘We’ve run yoga classes, with support from a City of Melbourne grant, and online exercise and cricket skills activities for all ages with former West Indies Test player Kenroy Peters,’ Paul said.
‘One of our players is Dave Williams, the drummer for Augie March, and he ran a workshop too. He had the club drumming along with AC/DC songs using pots and pans.’
The club has also spent time revamping its website, ordering fresh uniforms and implementing COVID-safe practices, which has seen new leaders emerge from its ranks.
Players are now able to borrow an individual cricket kit for a season, which meets COVID-safety requirements and enables people to try the game without investing in equipment straight away.
Looking to the future, Paul hopes to reenergise the club’s work in local schools and the community to continue to build participation in cricket among younger women and girls.
‘I’m really looking forward to sitting out on Ryder Oval with the sun going down behind the 12 big eucalypts, enjoying a bubbly drink and sharing stories with players and supporters,’ Paul said.
‘At its best, sport brings people together to do great things… and tell me if now isn’t the moment our community needs this the most.’
To find out more and how to get involved, visit Youlden Parkville Cricket Club online.
To explore more opportunities for sport and recreation in the City of Melbourne, visit Active Melbourne.