The Melbourne Deaf cricket mum expanding female inclusion
Taverners Victoria are proud to support Melbourne Deaf CC and the NCIC.
Based on “What about deaf women? How one mum changed cricket” by Adam Burnett, for cricket.com.au - 23 Sept. 2021.
Melissa actually hated cricket back in the early 2000s, but agreed to fill in as secretary at MDCC. Her initial stint at the club revealed a tight knit community. However, it was very much a “boys club” she proclaims, with no opportunity for women or girls.
She left after one year but was encouraged to return in 2005 by a friend and new Club President, James Hale. Together, with James’ vision, MDCC has become “a cricket club for everyone; men, women and – most importantly – families”, Melissa says.
Born with hearing loss, Melissa was raised in a mainstream school environment. "I had no connection with other deaf people my whole childhood," she recalls. She felt like she did not belong at school.
At 17, Melissa had a Cochlear implant to make use of the little hearing she had left. Soon after, she attended the National Deaf Basketball Championships in Adelaide. It was her first encounter with the Deaf community and with sport.
Melissa said, "That weekend changed my life. I met so many people who were just like me... and they treated me with so much love and kindness.”
By 2006 Melissa was the personal assistant to the CEO of the Victorian Deaf Society and had acquired Auslan skills. She felt empowered to make positive change in the deaf community. This has been achieved with James at MDCC. The two are now married, with a blended family of 4 hearing kids, all who play at MDCC. Melissa plays cricket in the same team as her 12-year-old daughter Charli.
Beyond local cricket Melissa was concerned there were no Women’s teams at Cricket Australia’s National Cricket Inclusion Championships (NCIC), nor any National Women’s teams like there are for Men’s Blind, Deaf and ID cricket.
At a planning meeting for the 2020 NCIC, Melissa spoke out and said, “Well, what about deaf women?”
The reply was — find two deaf women’s teams for an exhibition match at the opening ceremony. Within 48 hours Melissa had a Victorian team and an All Stars team signed up. The match was named The Melissa Hale Cup and it was a major talking point at the NCIC.
Melissa’s focus was not the skill level but on three key values: “empowerment, sisterhood/brotherhood/power of community and having fun.” These values stem from her philosophy in life.
She says, “There’s not much that can’t be resolved without genuine inclusion, kindness and recognising the power of belonging to something.”
Melissa is now Head of Deaf Women’s Cricket, for Deaf Cricket Australia. She oversees that the women’s NCIC programs are keeping pace with their male counterparts. This is the initial step in what will be a long and challenging road. But if we get this right, Melissa is confident we will have a thriving National competition in the future.
Congratulations Dylan Alcott - Golden SLAM
Dylan said during the trophy ceremony "I just can't believe I've just won the Golden Slam. I used to hate myself so much. I hated my disability. I didn't even want to be here anymore and I found tennis and it changed and saved my life.”
Dylan is an exceptional individual sportsman and role model for all people living with a disability. A the age of 30, Dylan is an OAM, a motivational speaker and also a champion Australian Wheelchair Basketballer.
Taverners are proud to have supported Dylan in the early days of his Wheelchair Tennis career and delighted for our 15-time major singles tennis champion.
Big News: Merv Hughes inducted into Cricket Australia Hall of Fame
It is with great delight we report Taverners Victoria Legend and Hon. Vice President, Mervyn Hughes was elevated into the Cricket Australia Hall of Fame on 2 February, 2021. Merv becomes the 56th cricketer to join this elite group.
One of the great fast bowlers and characters of Australian cricket, loved for his fierce tenacity, bristling moustache and on-field antics, Merv’s career spanned from 1985-94, including 53 Tests and 212 Test wickets at 28.38 apiece.
In 1988, Merv produced his career best figures of 8-87 vs the West Indies in Perth, in the first innings. He snared the last 2 wickets with consecutive balls. With the loss of Geoff Lawson to a broken jaw in that game, Merv completed a famous Hat-Trick with his first ball in the 2nd innings, reflecting the strength and determination of the man. Merv claimed 13 wickets in all for the match.
After helping Australia retain the Ashes in the UK with 31 wickets in 1993, at the pinnacle of his career, Hughes was named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year the following year. He had amassed 176 Test wickets over a 4 year span, more than any other international bowler during the same period.
Over 14 first class seasons Mervyn Gregory Hughes also represented Victoria, Essex and the ACT and played 33 ODIs for his country. He became a selector for the Australian cricket ream in 2005 through to 2010. His continued involvement in the game is well known.
Many fine accolades were stated at Merv’s induction to the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame. These highlights appear on the Cricket Victoria website are well worth reading:
“Hughes’ influence on the game goes beyond showmanship – he was a cricketer and a character that drew people to cricket and made them love the sport. And underneath it all, he is a deep-thinker of the game who continues to be a mentor to future generations.”
Earl Eddings, Cricket Australia Chair, said:
“Merv Hughes is an Australian sporting legend who was one of the greatest bowlers to have played our national game”.
Greg Dyer, former teammate and Australian Cricketers’ Association Chair, said:
“A thoroughly deserved accolade for one of the most wholehearted cricketers of the 1980’s and 90’s. A fine fast bowler – quick and nasty in the best traditions of the breed.”
Congratulations Merv, very well deserved.
$50 from each Dozen sold went towards funding the inspiring participants in the Melbourne All Abilities Cricket Association.
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Acting National Chairman, John Jeffries was in attendance to accept the award on behalf of members all over Australia.