Stars to dazzle Valley students

Stars opening batsman Ben Dunk was a hit among the kids at the Big Bash League announcement at Ted Summerton Reserve.

Gippsland school children will have the Stars in their eyes this December when the Big Bash League’s two Melbourne clubs go head-to-head in a practice match at Ted Summerton Reserve, Moe.

The Stars and Renegades will be kings of the kids on 14 December with local schools invited to line the boundary in a day out reserved exclusively for the region’s children.

Stars CEO Clint Cooper said the decision to stage an event for schools was about making sure country kids had access to their sporting heroes in their own backyard.

“The Melbourne Stars are excited to bring this practice match to Moe’s Ted Summerton Reserve, giving children right across the Latrobe Valley an opportunity to see some of their cricket heroes up close and personal prior to the Big Bash main event on 23 January,” Mr Cooper said.

“The Stars practice match, played on the morning of Friday 14 December, is an opportunity to provide schools in the Latrobe Valley an exclusive term four excursion in a kids only event.”

The game comes as part of a three-year partnership between the Stars and Latrobe Valley Authority to bring events and community programs to the region and follows a successful inaugural Valley Smash attended by over 5,000 people last December at the Traralgon Recreational Reserve.

LVA CEO Karen Cain said the December practice match was all about inclusivity and inspiring Gippsland’s youth.

“LVA has a strong focus on supporting community programs that build local capacity, increase active participation and improve health and social outcomes in the region,” Ms Cain said.

“Offering this once in a lifetime opportunity to school children in our region breaks down barriers to participation in sport and recreation and provides access to events that may not otherwise be available to them.”

Latrobe City Mayor Darrell White said offering all local children, regardless of their circumstances, the chance to see this calibre of cricketing talent up close was an exciting prospect.

“The positive impact that these experiences can have on our local youth cannot be underestimated and we’re excited to offer this inspirational opportunity to our region’s schools,” Cr White said.

Schools across Gippsland will be invited to take part in an expression of interest process to attend the match.

The general public will be able to join in on the Big Bash buzz in January, when the Stars play an historic regional Victorian game for points against the Adelaide Strikers at Ted Summerton Reserve.

The events form part of the State Government’s $85 million Latrobe Valley Sports and Community initiative.