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9 April, 2022

PHIL MINNIECON CRICKET FESTIVAL: A celebration of Indigenous children in sports

ON Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2, Cairns saw the celebration of the Deadly Choices Phil Minniecon Cricket Festival at the Walker Road Sports Precinct, a sports event for young Indigenous athletes and an introduction to cricket for children in a healthy and friendly environment.

By Isabella Guzman Gonzalez

Cairns West State School students (L-R) Neziah Kynuna, Yarrin Bosen, Thompson Gibson, Xzavier Pep and Dieu Veut Ishiwme

The Carnival, coordinated by Mulgrave Cricket Club and Deadly Choices, returned after a long hiatus because of COVID-19 to introduce the FNQ community into the world of cricket. 

This year the event was held over two days; Friday was for the Juniors, which saw kids from schools around FNQ come together to learn the basics of cricket; Saturday was the Community Carnival for all ages and counted with a talent scout on the field. 

Program Officer for Deadly Choices and Coordinator of the 2022 Phil Minniecon Cricket Festival, Chloe Ah Kee, said the event not only introduced the sport to children and youths but offered a space of fair game and bonding. 

“This Carnival is a memorial carnival for FNQ’s cricket legend Phil ‘Tracker’ Minniecon,” Ms Ah Kee said. 

“It’s about bringing everyone together and playing some cricket. It’s not about who’s going to win, who’s the best; it’s about getting everybody involved. 

“The kids are very excited, they’re very competitive, and it’s fun because we’ve mixed some of the school teams together, so they’re getting to know each other.” 

The Juniors Carnival saw teams from Cairns West State School, St Therese’s School, White Rock State School, Mareeba State School, St Gerard Majella, Innisfail State School and more learning the basics of cricket, playing games and having a tasty lunch. 

St Therese’s School year 5 student Makaiyahs Uiduldam said that he was excited to participate in the Cricket Festival. 

“I’m here because I’m Indigenous, and I’m going to play Indigenous cricket,” Makaiyahs said. “It’s fun, and I’m most excited about bowling today.” 

Year 5 pupil from St Therese’s Alanai Guivarra said that although she did not know much about cricket, it was fun to play with friends. 

Year 5 students at St Therese’s School (L-R) Jonah Ja, Aiyanna Cashmere, Makaiyahs Uiduldam, Hayne Daodeish and Alanai Guivarra

“We’re here celebrating our culture, and it’s very exciting,” Alanai said. 

“I can’t really play well, but I just go with it. 

“It’s just nice giving it a try and playing a team sport.” On Saturday, the Community Carnival counted with the participation of eight teams coming from regional areas like Mareeba and Yarrabah, Mount Garnet, and even Hope Vale. 

This was the opportunity for families and communities to engage in friendly competition in an all ages and all genders game, free lunch and t-shirt and a fun afternoon of sports and community. 

Ms Ah Kee said that holding events like the Phil Minniecon Cricket Festival was an opportunity for kids to take a break from their routine and bond through sports. 

“Although it’s a school day because it’s the end of the term, it makes it easier for the kids to come down and play,” she said. 

“I enjoy seeing how excited they get even when it feels like it’s 70 degrees; they’re still so keen and so happy to play.”

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