Southern Stars Visit The Lodge

 The Southern Stars spent time at The Lodge with Lucy Turnbull. Photo: Sourced. 

The Southern Stars spent time at The Lodge with Lucy Turnbull. Photo: Sourced. 

By Laura Jolly

What do you do the morning after a massive win when you're the Australian women's cricket team?

Pay a visit to the Prime Minister's pad for scones and tea with Lucy Turnbull, of course! 

Not only did Meg Lanning and the Southern Stars get a rare opportunity to tour The Lodge, they were also among the first to visit since its $10 million refurbishment- an operation years in the making that was only finished late last month.

 Not a bad pad. Welcome to The Lodge, where the Prime Minister of Australia lives. Photo: Sourced. 

Not a bad pad. Welcome to The Lodge, where the Prime Minister of Australia lives. Photo: Sourced. 

On Wednesday morning, The Delivery headed along to see the likes of Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy and Holly Ferling rub shoulders with big political names including Federal Minister for Sport Sussan Ley and Senator Penny Wong.

Ms Turnbull was quick to grab a group snap with the team and some of the ACT's most talented young female cricketers in The Lodge's luscious gardens, before everyone had a chance to tuck into some tea, scones and lamingtons.

A tour gave the girls a chance to take a squiz at The Lodge's restored wood panelling and the huge array of art work – including works from Indigenous artists and female Australian artists - selected from the National Gallery by Ms Turnbull… while a few eager people were eyeing off the tempting pool on a warm Canberra morning!

 Holly Ferling met some Southern Stars fans at The Lodge. Photo: Sourced. 

Holly Ferling met some Southern Stars fans at The Lodge. Photo: Sourced. 

"This is a pretty nice house actually, I wouldn't mind it for myself!" Stars batter Beth Mooney said.

"This all raises the profile of women's sport, with politicians and high profile people in Australia talking about women's cricket. 

"It's nice to get recognised and this is probably just a small step in the direction of women's cricket in the future and hopefully it can continue to grow."

The Southern Stars are making a habit of trailblazing when it comes to Canberra and the Prime Minister, it seems.

They were ALSO the first people to meet Malcolm Turnbull in his first 24 hours as Prime Minister last year.

After being presented with a cricket bat from Lanning, Ms Turnbull reflected on her own days playing school cricket and the progress made by the world beating Australian team, who are ranked No.1 in all three formats and are the reigning World Cup champions in both limited-overs formats.

 Lucy Turnbull receives a gift from Southern Stars captain Meg Lanning. Photo: Sourced. 

Lucy Turnbull receives a gift from Southern Stars captain Meg Lanning. Photo: Sourced. 

"It was great to hear Lucy speak, she's so relaxed and welcoming," Australian vice-captain Alex Blackwell said.

"Sussan Ley was as well and it was particularly pleasing for me to meet Penny Wong. She's someone I particularly look up to and we had a great chat which was awesome."

Shane Warne Has Jungle Fever

 Welcome to the jungle! Spin bowler Shane Warne is the newest member of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Australia. Photo: Network Ten. 

Welcome to the jungle! Spin bowler Shane Warne is the newest member of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Australia.
Photo: Network Ten. 

By Taryn Elder

Forget Paul Hogan from Crocodile Dundee, there's a new Australian cowboy hat wearing larrikin on our screens! 

Household name Shane Warne is reportedly going to pocket a healthy $2 million (possibly $3 million) in total for packing up his life for six weeks and heading into the South African jungle. 

Herald Sun: Shane Warne's massive pay check

Speculation has been rife that the former Australian cricketer would be entering the jungle for I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, and on Sunday night it was revealed that Warnie would indeed be the ‘mystery’ 12th camper/intruder to join the list of celebrities already ‘braving’ the conditions.

Around the same time the above promo shots of Warnie in a cowboy hat started surfacing and half of Australia  started asking themselves... is this is a joke? 

He was shown entering South Africa on a private plane (geez, roughing it already) and was greeted by two of the show's cast members, Heather Maltman and Joel Creasey on the 11th hour.

Despite reportedly being terrified of spiders, the former spin bowler has chosen to suck it up in the jungle to join some other 'familiar' faces , including former AFL player Brendan Fevola and international DJ Havana Brown.

“One of the advantages of a show like this is that people will tune in and they’ll watch the real me, because I think there’s a misconception of what I’m actually like,” Warnie told The Fitzy and Wippa radio show on Monday.

 Forget the suit. Shane Warne says he loves nothing more than spending a night in wearing, "tracksuit pants on the couch."  Photo: Getty Images. 

Forget the suit. Shane Warne says he loves nothing more than spending a night in wearing, "tracksuit pants on the couch." 
Photo: Getty Images. 

“I think people see me leading this unbelievable high life, and all this sort of stuff, I actually like nothing better than tracksuit pants on the couch.”

Really ....?

If he survives six weeks and isn’t ‘eaten’ by a spider,  he will pocket a cool $100,000 for his chosen charity.

To make it a bit easier for those watching at home, we’ve come up with a bit of a form guide to see how Warnie might fare against some of his new jungle 'mates'. 

The Celebrities v Warnie

 The cast of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here 2016, from left to right. Val Lehman, Lauren Fleure,  Akmal Saleh, Bonnie Lythgoe, Dean Geyer, Havana Brown, Shane Warne, Paul Harragon, Anthony Callea, Courtney Hancock, Jo Beth Taylor, Brendan Fevola. Photo: Network 10

The cast of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here 2016, from left to right. Val Lehman, Lauren Fleure,  Akmal Saleh, Bonnie Lythgoe, Dean Geyer, Havana Brown, Shane Warne, Paul Harragon, Anthony Callea, Courtney Hancock, Jo Beth Taylor, Brendan Fevola.
Photo: Network 10

(DJ) Havana Brown: She’s originally from Melbourne which means Havana Brown and Shane Warne share common ground already. (Does this mean a fiendly alliance?). Both have had global success in their chosen professional careers. One likes spinning tracks in high profile clubs, the other one likes visiting them frequently to socialise. We’re not sure who would win a bug eating challenge out of these two, but if it comes to some sort of dance off in the jungle.. we think Havana might have it covered. Thoughts?

Anthony Callea: Anthony is a former Australian Idol star who has picked up an ARIA or two (someone google it and let us know) during his career, Warnie is regularly approached about starring in Bollywood Films and has even had a musical made in his honour (Shane Warne: The Musical). Both aren’t used to roughing it,  so we’re not sure who will crack first after many sleepless nights in the jungle? These guys might be a lifeline for each other, with hope they might share their rations of hair gel to maintain their signature hairstyles.

Brendan Fevola aka Fev: He has been labelled as one of the best full forwards to play the game of AFL, Warnie is one of the best bowlers to have taken to the cricket field. Both have had their fair share of media headlines… not always of the positive variety! We’re pretty sure it’s going to be an instant ‘bromance’ between the two, with reports the guys are already mates. It's also rumoured that ‘Fev’ tried to slim down using the same diet and workout regime of Warnie, so maybe they can prepare their jungle food together?

Laurina Fleure: She’s had her heart broken on a national reality TV show (The Bachelor), Warnie has witnessed the breakdown of relationships in the media spotlight. Both share a tough tale of romance, so will this bring them closer together in the jungle? The one issue we see here for an alliance.. Laurina isn’t a fan of ‘dirty street pies’, the staple diet of every true blue Aussie bloke, which might deter Warnie from striking up a friendship!    

Dean Geyer: Another Australian Idol singer, turned actor! Yep he even starred in the hit TV show Glee and much like Warnie, Dean has been splitting his time between Australia and the US trying to grow his international career. Perhaps these two will bond over their late night jaunts in LA’s hot spots, or maybe they will share stories about their former high profile love interests? 

Courtney Hancock: When it comes to fierce competitors, Courtney is one of them! The champion Ironwoman is at the top of her game, and unfortunately for Warnie will probably trump him in the fitness department. The two may however switch stories about the best way to maintain their golden locks… anyone know what hairdressers they both go to? (Also as a side note, Courtney is the partner os Brisbane Heat cricketer Nick Buck). 

Val Lehman: She was one of the big stars of Australian TV show Prisoner and even won a few TV week Logie Awards. Warnie is also no stranger to picking up a string of awards for his cricketing talents. Both are very good at speaking their minds, so this will prove to be interesting banter wise.

Bonnie Lythgoe: She’s an English dancer, choreographer, director, television presenter and producer who has worked alongside some big name musical stars including Michael Jackson, and the Bee Gees. She’s also a regular judge on So You Think You Can Dance Australia. We’re not really sure what these two have in common, possibly a mutual connection with Warnie’s former flame being British actress and model Liz Hurley?  

Akmal Saleh: He is one of Australia’s best known comedians and Akmal is not afraid of telling the type of joke Warnie might find amusing. Like Warnie, Akmhal has had a long standing career within his chosen industry. We haven’t been to one of Akmal’s shows lately so we’re not exactly sure if Warnie has ever been at the centre of one of his jokes? Only time will tell if these two hit it off!

Jo Beth Taylor: Both were 90’s icons! Yep, former presenter Jo Beth Taylor, from Australia’s Funniest Home Videos and Hey Hey It’s Saturday (with Daryl Somers) and Shane Warne have more in common than you think. Warnie actually appeared on Hey Hey during the 90’s, so it looks like the two may have briefly met back then.  

Paul Harragon: Paul is a legend of his chosen game, rugby league, Warnie is a legend of his chosen sport, cricket. Like Warnie, Paul has maintained his presence in the media working as a commentator and presenter outside of career on the field.  We think it’s going be pretty friendly between these two thanks to some striking similarities (picture two best mates talking ‘manly’ things at a backyard BBQ). Or perhaps too much of the same thing is never a good thing?  

Meg Lanning: "It's a major problem."

 Meg Lanning fronts a press conference. Photo: Getty Images. 

Meg Lanning fronts a press conference. Photo: Getty Images. 

By Taryn Elder
 

Superstar cricketer Meg Lanning is used to coming up against some pretty challenging situations on the cricket field.

The Australian Women's captain who played a crucial role in helping the Southern Stars take home Ashes glory against England last year (2015), recently picked up Player of the Tournament in the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL), thanks to her on field role for the Melbourne Stars.

However, one challenge off the field that is plaguing Meg and causing her some anguish is her crusade to save smashed avocado, also known as 'smashed av' or 'smashed avo' to dedicated breakfast fans around the world.

Yep..  Meg believes her favourite breakfast dish 'smashed av' is in danger of becoming overpowered by the taste of coriander, due to the fact hipster cafes around Australia and the world are starting to mix the popular garnish into smashed avo dishes.

 Meg Lanning has faced plenty of on field challenges, but her plight for coriander free avocado is proving tough. Photo: Getty Images. 

Meg Lanning has faced plenty of on field challenges, but her plight for coriander free avocado is proving tough. Photo: Getty Images. 

“It’s a major problem. It absolutely ruins it. I have no idea why people think it’s a good idea to mix it in (coriander) with smashed avocado,” she says.

Meg is so passionate about her vendetta against coriander that she wants it permanently banned from all cafe menus around Australia and eventually the world. She’s even rallying up her fellow team members to spread the word.

When we spoke to Meg in downtown Chapel St in Melbourne (the heart of trendy cafes and expensive coffee), her team mate Alyssa Healy was overheard yelling from the other end of the room, "are you talking about smashed avocado again?" 

 Coriander on smashed avocado is a major, no-no for cricketer Meg Lanning. Photo: Sourced. 

Coriander on smashed avocado is a major, no-no for cricketer Meg Lanning. Photo: Sourced. 

So what will it take for cafes to stop adding in coriander when it comes to smashed avo? 

"Awareness" says Meg. "Everyone needs to let them know that it's just not on." 

Touche. 

Catch Meg Lanning and the Southern Stars do battle against India in the One Day International Series by live streaming the match on cricket.com.au. ALSO: If you enjoy smashed avocado, follow Meg's easy recipe (below) to make your very own delicious version with add on ingredients.. eggs and pumpkin bread, 

Meg Lanning’s Smashed Av on Toast (with poached eggs and tomatoes) 
Serves: 1
INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of pumpkin bread
  • ½ avocado
  • salt and pepper for topping
  • quartered heirloom tomatoes for serving
     
  • INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pretty simple really. Bring a pot of water to boil  and use enough water to cover the eggs lying in the bottom of the pot.

  2. Once the water is boiling hot, you can turn off the heat and carefully crack the eggs directly into the pan. If you're wanting to get them just right try and use some metal rims within the pot to create circular eggs. 

  3. Cover the pot and poach for 5 minutes (4 for super soft, 4:30 for soft, 5 or more for semi-soft yolks).

  4. While the eggs are cooking, toast the pumpkin bread and smash the avocado on top with a fork, PLUS add some tomatoes.

  5. When the eggs are done, use a spatula to lift the eggs out of the water.

  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper... use in moderation! 

Handy Hints

  • Adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the water before boiling helps the eggs stay together in the water.
  • Most of the fats in this recipe are healthy but definitely use in moderation. 

Is fresh food really the best?

By Michelle Cort

Today’s busy lifestyle often results in meals being made in a hurry.  The convenience of adding frozen vegetables to a dish means we don’t always ‘eat fresh’. Is this a problem?

Any fruit or vegetable eaten immediately after harvest is the best choice in obtaining essential nutrients. However if, (like most people), you don’t have your own veggie patch and backyard orchard, frozen vegetables can be a great alternative.

In the majority of cases frozen fruit and vegetables contain more antioxidants (vitamins and nutrients that keep our immune system healthy and fight disease) compared to fresh varieties that are stored in the fridge for a few days.

 Whether your food is fresh or frozen, the cooking method will affect the nutrients retained in the food. Photo: Sourced. 

Whether your food is fresh or frozen, the cooking method will affect the nutrients retained in the food. Photo: Sourced. 

Some fresh fruit and vegetables can spend days, (or weeks), in transit from farm to market to home fridges. During this time, many nutrient levels are decreasing. Alternatively frozen fruits and vegetables are snap-frozen shortly after harvest, which seals in nutrients. Vegetables that have been stored at home for a while are still a great source of fibre, which is another positive reason for eating them daily.

Frozen fruit and vegetables are a good way for Australians to boost their fruit and vegetable intake (which for many is below the recommended 2 serves of fruit and 5 of vegetables per day).

Frozen options are also a convenient option when the fresh item is out of season.

Does Cooking Matter?

Whether your food is fresh or frozen, the cooking method will affect the nutrients retained in the food. Steaming, stir-frying or microwaving vegetables is a much better alternative to boiling. Boiling foods causes some nutrients to leach out into the water.

What’s on Your Shopping List?

If you shop once a week, consider buying a mix of fresh and frozen vegetables. Consume the fresh variety earlier in the week and incorporate the frozen ones into meals later on.

If you are buying frozen vegetables check the label to make sure no salt and sugar have been added. 

About Michelle Cort 
Michelle Cort is an Advanced Sports Dietitian who currently works as the Sports Nutrition Manager for Cricket Australia, and is the Sports Performance Dietitian for the Australian Sailing Team. Michelle has worked with several AFL, NRL and Super Rugby Teams over the past 15 years and has previously worked in conjunction with the Real Madrid Football Team.

Is this cricket player headed for the jungle?

By Taryn Elder 

With only two days to go until the start of one of Channel Ten's most hyped shows for 2016, I'm a Celebrity Get me Out of Here. Big Bash League (BBL) import and former international English cricketer Kevin 'KP' Pietersen, has posted a cryptic photo to his social media pages which has some fans thinking he's headed straight for the jungle.

 Is Big Bash import Kevin Pietersen heading to the jungle? Photo: Getty Images. 

Is Big Bash import Kevin Pietersen heading to the jungle? Photo: Getty Images. 

The Melbourne Stars player who has won a legion of fans in the land down under after a successful season in the Big Bash League, took to Twitter and Instagram this week to post a photo of elephants at a luxury wildlife resort in South Africa. 

The love of, @leopardhills! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘

A photo posted by KP (@kp24) on

Before you ask the question, so what.... the guy likes posting photos of elephants at a native wildlife resort! There's a few things you should know about the photo in question. 

  • The resort featured in the picture is Leopard Hills, a private luxury resort (where you can literally chill out in your lounge room and stare at elephants out your window) located in the western sector of the Sabi Sand Reserve, bordering the world famous Kruger National Park.
     
  • Kruger National Park is also the location being used for I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Here. Coincidence?
     
  • Channel Ten has also been stirring the pot by promoting the fact that an international sporting star will be entering the jungle for the new season of the show... most likely to be a cricketer. 

But before you go announcing the news to the world via social media, one thing that is still a little unclear, and that is why the photo featured was tagged in the location of Wentworth Golf Club?

You see Wenworth Golf Club is a privately owned course and health resort in Surrey, on the south western fringes of London? (Not far from Windsor Castle). So if KP was indeed in the South African jungle.. then why would his location be the UK? 

It's also no secret that KP has been spotted out and about around London town following his return home from Australia, spending time with his family and new born daughter Rosie. 

And according to the Daily Mail there's also a theory that former Australian cricketer Shane Warne is actually headed for the jungle... so we're assuming there's probably not room enough for two cricket superstars... right?

Daily Mail: I'm a Celebrity 2016: Shane Warne's strict no spider-eating clause revealed
 


On a side not, Kevin is originally from South Africa and often visits his homeland, so maybe he's just having a nostalgic moment about his past trip!

So with all of this information to take into account, do you think this is this a clever ploy by the producers and KP to evoke suspicion, is he trying to pull our leg, does he really just love wildlife, or is KP legitimately headed for the jungle?

Only time will tell!

Catch I'm A Celbrity Get Me Out of Here this Sunday night (Jan 31) on Channel Ten. 

A Bright Future For Australia's Female Cricketers

 The year 2015 proves to be an outstanding year for female cricket. Photo: Getty Images. 

The year 2015 proves to be an outstanding year for female cricket. Photo: Getty Images. 

In case you missed it, 2015 was an outstanding year for women’s sport in Australia and leading the charge was the Australian Women’s Cricket Team, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars.

Following a successful trip to the United Kingdom to win the Women’s Ashes (the first Australian team of either gender to do so since 2001) and become the number one team in the world in ALL forms of the game, the players returned home to the prospect of a new, busier summer schedule.

The inaugural Women’s Big Bash League – an initiative of Cricket Australia in continuing to increase the profile of the development pathway for women’s cricket – broke new ground in women’s sport with new broadcast deals and extensive news coverage.

 Skilled cricketers like Meg Lanning have played a pivotal part in the success of the launch of the Women's Big Bash League. Photo: Getty Iages. 

Skilled cricketers like Meg Lanning have played a pivotal part in the success of the launch of the Women's Big Bash League. Photo: Getty Iages. 

It has been a resounding success, culminating in last weekend’s fairy-tale win for the Sydney Thunder franchise in both the Men’s and Women’s competitions. The viewing public watched the leading female cricketers from Australian and around the globe play in numbers not seen at domestic women’s cricket matches before, with young girls and boys alike queuing to get a photo or autograph from their new heroes.

 The launch of the Women's Big Bash League this season has been hailed a major success. Photo: Getty Images. 

The launch of the Women's Big Bash League this season has been hailed a major success. Photo: Getty Images. 

But with just a day to catch their breaths after that gripping final, the key players from the WBBL rolled out in their national kit – domestic rivalries being replaced by national pride and mateship – when the Southern Stars took on India for the first in a three game T20 series on what, for both teams, was their nation’s special day. 

While the Southern Stars stumbled in that Australia Day contest, 2016 will continue to bring an increased profile to the women’s side of our national game with a huge step-up in the volume of games being played. With five matches (including a three-match One Day International Series) still to play against India, plus series in the next 12 months against New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Africa PLUS a World T20 Championship in March where they’ll be targeting their fourth consecutive title, this is a team going places – in many senses of the word.

 Southern Stars Captain Meg Lanning (right) and Vice Captain Ellyse Perry played a crucial role in Australia's victory during the Ashes in 2015. Photo: Getty Images. 

Southern Stars Captain Meg Lanning (right) and Vice Captain Ellyse Perry played a crucial role in Australia's victory during the Ashes in 2015. Photo: Getty Images. 

With the experience of captain Meg Lanning, dual-international and newly crowned 2016 Belinda Clark Award winner Ellyse Perry, vice-captain Alex Blackwell and Alyssa Healy (niece of champion Australian keeper Ian), joined by rising stars Jess Jonassen and Grace Harris, and the fresh faces of Holly Ferling, Beth Mooney and Naomi Stalenberg (plus the talent of 17 year old Laura Cheatle just waiting in the wings), even if these names are all unfamiliar to you – as they will still be for a large number of Australians – this is a side you need to keep an eye on.

  Photo: Getty Images. 

 Photo: Getty Images. 

Cricket, like any sport, is a moveable feast in terms of form and performance and we, as fans, place a great weight on our champions – and there is no doubt these sportswomen represent the new era of champions in the Australian sporting psyche.

With the sharpened focus on women’s sport in Australia, this outstanding team is continuing to lead the way for fans to realise the breadth of sporting talent this country has – of any gender.

Keen to watch the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars in action? The T20 series between against India continues today (MCG) and Sunday (SCG) with both matches preceding the men’s at the same venue. Matches can be viewed LIVE on GEM from 2.30pm AEDT, via live stream on cricket.com.au or on ABC Grandstand.

And the Allan Border Medal goes to...

 David Warner, Allan Border Medal Winner and Test Player of the Year

David Warner, Allan Border Medal Winner and Test Player of the Year

The 2016 Allan Border Medal has been won by David Warner, devastating opening batsmen, funny man and father of two.

Stating he thought the accolade would go to teammate and Australian captain Steve Smith (along with the rest of Australia!), Warner credited his changed attitude over the past few years - on and off the field - to his wife Candice.

Candice didn’t appear at the awards ceremony, having just given birth two weeks ago to daughter Indi Rae.

Warner said he loved "waking up every day knowing I'm playing for Australia".

Cricket’s night of nights handed out honours to the best players in both the women’s and men’s competition.

 Ellyse Perry, Belinda Clark Award Recipient. Getty Images. 

Ellyse Perry, Belinda Clark Award Recipient. Getty Images. 

 Glenn Maxwell, ODI Player of the Year. Getty Images. 

Glenn Maxwell, ODI Player of the Year. Getty Images. 

 Adam Voges, Domestic Player of the Year. Getty Images. 

Adam Voges, Domestic Player of the Year. Getty Images. 

The Verdict: Allan Border Medal Red Carpet

It wouldn't be the Allan Border Medal without a red carpet special and this year we've rounded up some of Australia's best fashion folk to give their thoughts on some of the incredible red carpet looks, including celebrity stylist and and Channel Nine TODAY EXTRA commentator Josh Flinn, Australian designer Briony Marsh, as well as fashion editor and stylist Elaine Marshall. 

Dani Willis, partner of cricketer Steve Smith in Cappellazzo Couture
Josh: "Dani was a creamy-coloured dream in this Cappellazzo Couture creation. The frill could be a little too much but the length and colour are chic and well crafted."
Elaine: "I have a love/hate relationship with this dress. I do love a ruffle, this feature sleeve is quite daring and it is a fine line...but I think she pulls it off! Again would have liked to see a different colour on her thought and perhaps a sheerer sleeve?"

Lee Watson, partner of Shane Watson in Mary Ioannidis
Briony: "I’m liking the nod to the 70’s here from Lee. The powder blue shade softens the silhouette and the hexagonal clutch works well.  The simple manicure and minimal jewellery is spot on.  Standing apart from the crowd."
Josh: "Lee has had a lot of practice for these events so it's no surprise she got this baby blue beauty right. Loads of long sleeves on the carpet and this is perfect. Interesting neckline and colour choice - love the split."
Elaine: "T
his dress! In love! The bell sleeves, the keyhole . Wonderful!  Although I must admit I'm not super keen on the pastel for evening red carpet looks."

Kyly Clarke, partner of cricketer Michael Clarke in Steven Khalil                  
Josh: "This is the best for me. Kyly is a queen of the carpet and this stunning nude and cream beaded swirl gown is perfection. So pared back and very fashion forward. It's channeling a floaty, 70's vibe and I love it.
Briony: "The fit is what makes the gown…..certainly in this case anyway….polished to perfection this look is elegant and chic.  I love that there is basically no jewellery in sight which lets the incredible fit and beaded fabric do all the talking. The swipe of red lipstick was the perfect finishing touch.  Glamour."
Elaine:  "She looks beautiful, the dress fits her like a glove and the details, just beautiful! Although it does remind me of a bridal gown. " 

Isabelle Platt, partner of Mitchell Marsh
Elaine: "
Lady in red.  I love the simplicity and the plunging back, I also love long sleeves on the red carpet." 

Cricketer Aaron Finch in Hugo Boss and partner Amy Griffiths
Josh: "Aaron looks dapper in this well-fitted suit. I like that he only buttons one - it makes the silhouette sharper and younger for him. A crisp white shirt and bow tie complete the look."
Elaine: "This dress is timeless and classic on  Amy. I love a good fishtail and love that Aaron has been daring enough to try something other than black."  

Cricketer John Hastings and partner Briannan Hastings
Josh: "John keeps it simple like all the boys this red carpet, but he gets extra points for his white pocket square and badge. The cuffs are at the perfect length just poking out from the coat. Bravo!"
Elaine: "I think Brianna looks gorgeous, I love this dress! I'
m super fond of anything tasseled/fringing. Although I would have styled this with a daintier shoe, more straps less pump!"

Cricketer Usman Khawaja
Briony: "Such a well-cut, crisp suit complemented beautifully by the satin lapels and pocket trims.  The mega-watt smile is the perfect accessory.  So sharp."

Kirsty Voges, wife of cricketer Adam Voges
Briony: "
I absolutely adore the amazing embellishment on this beautiful gown.  The embellishment is so intricate yet the monochrome palette and simple yet chic silhouette keeps this from being over the top.  Timeless."   

A big thanks to our fashion commentators. 

  Our Allan Border red carpet f  ashion commentators (right to left) Josh Flinn, Briony Marsh & Elaine Marshall. 

Our Allan Border red carpet fashion commentators (right to left) Josh Flinn, Briony Marsh & Elaine Marshall. 

Josh Flinn: Celebrity Stylist, Brand Manager & Fashion Commentator, Channel Nine's TODAY EXTRA
Twitter: @joshflinn
Instagram: @joshflinn

Briony Marsh: Owner and Designer at Briony Marsh
Instagram: @briony_marsh
www.brionymarsh.com

Elaine Marshall - Fashion Director & Stylist
Twitter: @littlelainy
Instagram:  @lainylainylainy

Allan Border Medal Red Carpet Gallery

Here's a round up of the red carpet fashion from the 2016 Allan Border Medal. Hardly a calf in sight, with floor being the length of choice for the ladies and a smattering of sequins and beads. Many of the men opted for bow ties and black suits, with only a few blue hues in sight.

 Shane and Lee Watson, dressed by Mary Ioannidis

Shane and Lee Watson, dressed by Mary Ioannidis

 Alex Blackwell and Lynsey Askew

Alex Blackwell and Lynsey Askew

 Mitchell Marsh and Isabelle Platt, dressed in Aelkemi

Mitchell Marsh and Isabelle Platt, dressed in Aelkemi

  Allan Border himself, with wife Jane Hiscox

Allan Border himself, with wife Jane Hiscox

  Shaun and Rebecca Marsh, dressed by Aelkemi

Shaun and Rebecca Marsh, dressed by Aelkemi

 Scott Boland and Daphne Beaman

Scott Boland and Daphne Beaman

  Southern Stars batter Jess Cameron with partner Chris Duffin

Southern Stars batter Jess Cameron with partner Chris Duffin

  James Faulkner and Bri Sheppard

James Faulkner and Bri Sheppard

  Mitchell and Jessica Johnson

Mitchell and Jessica Johnson

 Josh Hazelwood and Sheri Christian, styled by Glam Corner

Josh Hazelwood and Sheri Christian, styled by Glam Corner

 Chris Lynn and Krystal Opperman, dressed by Amy Taylor Collection

Chris Lynn and Krystal Opperman, dressed by Amy Taylor Collection

  Glenn Maxwell and Candice Wyatt

Glenn Maxwell and Candice Wyatt

 Daniel Herbert and Bethany Mooney

Daniel Herbert and Bethany Mooney

  James Pattinson and partner Kayla Dickson, dressed in Oglia-Loro Couture

James Pattinson and partner Kayla Dickson, dressed in Oglia-Loro Couture

  Southern stars all-rounder Ellyse Perry with partner Matt Toomua

Southern stars all-rounder Ellyse Perry with partner Matt Toomua

Australian captain Steve Smith with partner Dani Willis, dressed in Cappellazzo Couture

 Adam and Kristy Voges, dressed by Bariano

Adam and Kristy Voges, dressed by Bariano

 Peter Siddle and Anna Weatherlake, dressed by Kyha by one day bridal

Peter Siddle and Anna Weatherlake, dressed by Kyha by one day bridal

 John and Bri Hastings, dressed by Silvana Tedesco

John and Bri Hastings, dressed by Silvana Tedesco

 Kyly and Michael Clarke

Kyly and Michael Clarke

 Nathan Coulter-Nile and Shani Blay

Nathan Coulter-Nile and Shani Blay

 Usman Khawaja

Usman Khawaja

 Aaron Finch and Amy Griffiths, dressed in Bonita Couture

Aaron Finch and Amy Griffiths, dressed in Bonita Couture

Behind the scenes: Allan Border Medal 2016

The Allan Border Medal is cricket's night of nights. Players from both the Australian men's and women's teams have gathered at Crown in Melbourne to see who will take out an array of awards, including the top gong for the past season. The Allan Border Medal is awarded to the most outstanding Australian cricketer of the past season as voted by his peers, the media and umpires. The Belinda Clark Award is handed to the top player from the Australian Women's team, the Southern Stars.

Please note: apologies in advance for the #lowqual of these shots, we - nor the pictures we've ripped from everyone else! - are not professh photographers here at The Delivery.

Despite none of us are in teal, we're still flying the @heatbbl flag! #ABMedal

A photo posted by CommBank Southern Stars (@southernstars) on

Not many people can pull off this yellow hue, but Becky Boston certainly gets it done tonight! What a gorgeous shot of her and partner Pat Cummins.

Going for gold. @patcummins30 and partner @becky_boston on the #ABmedal red carpet.

A photo posted by The Delivery (@thedeliveryau) on

After guiding Sydney Thunder to a BBL win a few days ago we reckon Usman Khawaja deserves to let his hair down tonight...

We love the shout out from a doting sister! Here's Bri Hastings with hubby all-rounder John about to head into the ceremony.

We see you Midge (Alyssa Healy!) and so did your teammates, capturing this candid pic! (Image courtesy of the gals at the Southern Stars!)

Let's take a moment to remember Kyly Clarke, wife of legend Michael, only gave birth to daughter Kelsey two months ago... what a stunner!

It wouldn't be an #ABMedal red carpet without @kylyclarke & @michaelclarkeofficial. Kyly dressed by @steven_khalil

A photo posted by The Delivery (@thedeliveryau) on

We love players who opt to take the red carpet challenge together! Partners on and off the field!

Looks like Steve Smith's partner Dani Willis and Shane Watson's wife Lee Furlong might have exchanged colour tips before the Allan Border Medal, with Lee opting for a dreamy soft-blue gown.

Jimmy Pattinson's date Kayla Dickson can lighten even the darkest of hallways. Here's a shot before she made her way to the red carpet... dressed in Melbourne designer Oglia-Loro coutoure.

Mitchell Starc might be an outside chance to snap up the 2016 Allan Border Medal, but his partner Australian cricket wicket keeper and batter Alyssa Healy wasn't taking any chances on the red carpet, opting for a classic black off-the-shoulder dress.

Two of our favourites @mitchellstarc7 & @a_healy on the #ABMedal red carpet

A photo posted by The Delivery (@thedeliveryau) on

The red carpet wouldn't feel the same without Mitch! And we're glad he didn't take to the Gillette for tonight's ceremony! 

Loving this shot of James Faulkner and partner Bri Shepperd ... they do the red carpet so well. 

Southern Stars bowler Holly Ferling has her hands full, looking after the Instagram for the Australian Women's Team as well as getting glammed up in this gorgeous white number.

@heatbbl and @southernstars cricketer @hollyferling becoming a pro at the #ABMedal red carpet

A photo posted by The Delivery (@thedeliveryau) on

Australian bowler Megan Schutt has received a tonne of likes on Twitter for a cheeky comment about her #ABMedal date...

We'll never forget seeing Steve Smith's grin when he won his first Allan Border Medal in 2015. This year he's swapped the tie for a bow tie as he tries to make it two in a row. Partner Dani Willis kept a similar neutral style again this year, with a fresh lemon floor length gown. 

HOWZAAAAAAT! Your very own UberUMPIRE this Australia Day

Forget vegemite and lamingtons, this Australia Day it's all about backyard cricket with Uber and Optus coming to the party! 

The two brands have joined forces with legendary umpire Billy Bowden to bring you UberUMPIRE! Yep... get ready to watch cricket fans around Australia run for their phones and download the UBER app.  

So what the heck is uberUMPIRE? 

Well the the short story is that you'll be able to request an UberUMPIRE to your backyard cricket game between 11am and 3pm this Australia Day.

So forget about leaving the umpiring to spectators or those actually playing, because Billy and his mates will be on hand around some of our key cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide & Canberra), to be the official eyes and ears of your backyard cricket game.

Yep.. you'll get them for 30 whole minutes. 

How does it work?

  1. Download the Uber app.
  2. On Tuesday 26 January, open your Uber app between 11am – 3pm.
  3. Slide across to the UberUMPIRE view and request an ‘UberUMPIRE’.
  4. If available, an UberUMPIRE will make its way to your backyard.
  5. Demand is likely to be sky-high, so if you can’t request straight off the bat (boom!) keep trying, UberUMPIRE runs until 3pm.
  6. Want to preview the UberUMPIRE view before Australia Day? Unlock the secret UberUMPIRE option in your app now using the promo code ‘UMPIRE’.

Will this cost me an arm and a leg?

Well the brilliant news is this service is FREE (phew.. we all remember those New Years Eve uber price hikes), but like any popular promotion, demand is likely to be pretty solid. So our advice... If you can't get onto an UberUMPIRE first hand, KEEP TRYING we repeat, KEEP TRYING! 

And if you're planning on bragging to your mates on social media, make sure you pop in the hashtag #UberUMPIRE 



BBL Final: Highlights

What an amazing crowd we had for the final of the KFC Big Bash League at the MCG in Melbourne. We've rounded up some of the highlights from the social media stratosphere. 

When it comes to the weather in Melbourne, you never quiet know what to expect. But Mother Nature and the weather gods decided to come to the party for the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) Final in Melbourne between Sydney Thunder and the Sydney Sixers, with sunshine and blue sky abundant for the Sunday game.   

Of course there were plenty of skeptics in the crowd when it came to the weather... but we think this guy may have had a hidden agenda... just a guess.  

Here's the official weather report for today's #WBBFinal and the #BBLFinal. Live and exclusive on TEN!

A photo posted by Tensporttv (@tensporttv) on

Let's talk about the fashion. There was certainly no lack of enthusiasm from supporters attending the MCG for the WBBL Grand Final match .

A special mention goes to Australian cricket player Mitch Starc who was on hand in his 'active wear' to support partner and Sydney Sixers player Alyssa Healy. 

Mitch Starc At The Women's Big Bash Final During Supporting Sydney Sixer Girls #cricket #wbbl01 #wbblfinal

A photo posted by RENA MUKHERJEE® (@renamofficial) on

Even those watching at home got on the bandwagon. 

Bailey ready for a @starsbbl win tonight #bbl05 #oneclub #teamgreen

A photo posted by ejinglis (@ejinglis) on

After some cliff hanging moments, Sydney Thunder eventually secured the win for the first ever WBBL title against the Sixers!

Even WBBL commentator Mel Jones couldn't believe the state of play. 

And here you have it. The photo that says a thousand words.. or just one. CHAMPIONS! 

The Thunder are the first-ever WBBL Champions after they won a thriller over the Sixers in the #WBBLFinal at the 'G!

A photo posted by cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) on

It was soon time for the men to take to the field for the Men's Big Bash League (BBL) Final. This time it was home team the Melbourne Stars against Sydney Thunder.

Four captains. Two matches. One HUGE day of Big Bash League cricket tomorrow. See you at the @mcg1853? #BBLFinal #WBBLFinal

A photo posted by Big Bash League (@bigbashleague) on

Anyone who lives in either Sydney or Melbourne knows when it comes to rivalry between two cities, it's always fierce between Melburnians and Sydneysiders. 

Even Australian cricketers Pat Cummins (below, left) and Glenn Maxwell (below, right) who are usually the best of mates, became enemies for the night.... 

Enemies tonight @gmaxi_32. #bbl05 @thunderbbl

A photo posted by Pat Cummins (@patcummins30) on

Although reports from those around the two suggest it remained pretty civilised in the stand. 

There was even some famous faces on hand to cheer on the teams, including radio personality Andy Lee who has actually taken on the honorary role of water boy for the Melbourne Stars throughout the season. 

And the production crew from Channel Ten kept themselves pretty busy! Big props to the crew for working tirelessly to deliver games on our screens throughout the season. 

The craziness of the last 6-weeks culminates today! Bring on the holidays #BigBash #BBL05 #TV #holidays

A photo posted by Jacob Walker (@jwalkerfit) on

The atmosphere was electric at the MCG, as both teams did their best to take home the honour. 

What a turnout for the #bbl05 final! #KevinPietersen with a massive 72! GO STARS!!! ✨✨

A photo posted by KIIS 101.1 Melbourne (@kiis1011) on

The crowd was loving it!  

BBL Final 💚⭐️💚 #GoStars #theHCG #marrymeKP #bbl05 @starsbbl

A photo posted by Alex Poulton (@alexpoulton) on

English import Kevin Pietersen was a crowd pleaser, clocking up plenty of runs for the Stars to sit comfortably. 

@kp24 took his game to another level in the #BBLFinal, but will it be enough? @thunderbbl need 177 to win. TUNE IN! 📺

A photo posted by Big Bash League (@bigbashleague) on

And after helping his team run to victory only days ago in the semi final... Thunder gun batsman Usman Khawaja was once again on fire with his bat to turn the tables. 

But then his good luck streak came to an end and he was GONE for 70!

So we welcomed to the field Mike Hussey... the legendary former Australian cricketer took to the field for his very last game with the Big Bash League. He's moving onto his next venture. Retirement! 

And the Melbourne Stars were ever the gentlemans welcoming him.  

But his time to shine was brief and it was soon down to the wire for the two teams.

Who would be going home with the trophy? 

The Stars did their best to bowl out some of Thunder's best, and were pretty successful in doing so. Even catching out Chris Green who tried to hit a six early on. 

And then this happened......

Sydney Thunder WIN the Big Bash Final! 

Cue: fireworks, happy fans, trophy and one hell of a party! 

 

BBL: What happens if it rains during a finals game?

 Photo: Getty Images. 

Photo: Getty Images. 

Original article posted on www.bigbash.com.au 

Mother Nature is being a little .. how should we say it... unfavourable, to us here in Melbourne right now. We've had some droplets of rain early this morning, which has started to ease with every hour that's passed.  So with the possibility (it's not looking to bad right now) of bad weather affecting tonight's semi-final (Friday 22 January) between Melbourne Stars and Perth Scorchers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the question of 'what happens in the event of a washout?' has been a regular one to arise.

Firstly, a match will only be considered abandoned if there is a failure to complete a minimum of five overs in each innings.

*** For anyone who needs some help with their cricket terminology: 
In the sport of cricket, an over is a set of six balls bowled from one end of a cricket pitch.  

If that's the case, the high-ranking team will progress to the final – in this case, Melbourne Stars, who leapfrogged the Scorchers into second spot with a dramatic victory in Perth last Saturday night.

The official BBL playing conditions handbook explains: "In circumstances where a result is not possible in a semi-final then the team which finished higher on the points table at the completion of all preliminary matches shall qualify for the final."

The same situation applies in the final – that is, in the event of a washout, the higher-ranked team lifts the trophy.

The official BBL playing conditions handbook explains: "In circumstances where a result is not possible in a semi-final then the team which finished higher on the points table at the completion of all preliminary matches shall qualify for the final."

The same situation applies in the final; in the event of a washout, the higher-ranked team lifts the trophy.

rain player.jpg

So what are the weather gurus saying?

Accoring to the BOM there is a v
ery high chance of rain today, around 90%, which we are well aware of given this morning's downpour. But the good news is the BOM is also predicting this rain will become less likely this evening. So let's just hope that means it might clear early, given it arrived early this morning. 

Here's some tweets from some well known weather forecasters. 


BBL Final: What you need to know


Original information posted on www.bigbash.com.au

It's a massive weekend for cricket with the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to host the final of the KFC Big Bash League|05 after the Melbourne Stars defeated the Perth Scorchers at the MCG on Friday night.

 Melbourne stars will host the Big Bash Final at the MCG. Photo: Getty Images. 

Melbourne stars will host the Big Bash Final at the MCG. Photo: Getty Images. 

With the Stars finishing second on the BBL|05 ladder, they won the right to host the final this coming Sunday, January 24 at the MCG, after top-of-the-table Adelaide Strikers were defeated by Sydney Thunder.

The final will be a double header, with the Rebel Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) Final taking place beforehand and featuring Sydney Thunder and Sydney Sixers.

 The Sydney Sixers & Sydney Thunder go head to head for the Women's Big Bash League Final. Photo: Getty Images. 

The Sydney Sixers & Sydney Thunder go head to head for the Women's Big Bash League Final.
Photo: Getty Images. 

KFC BBL final schedule

Sunday, Jan 24

BBL final – Melbourne Stars v Sydney Thunder, MCG, 7.20pm AEDT

WBBL final – Sydney Thunder v Sydney Sixers, MCG, 1.40pm AEDT

Gates open at 1:15pm.

Both matches will be broadcast live on Network Ten. 

BBL Final ticketing information (all times AEDT)

•         Saturday Jan 23, 10am – 12pm Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder members pre-sale

•         Saturday Jan 23, 12pm – MCC members on sale

•         Saturday Jan 23, 1pm – General Public on-sale

As a large crowd is expected, fans are encouraged to pre-purchase their tickets. Fans are also encouraged to catch public transport due to the large number of events on in Melbourne’s sports precinct on Sunday.

Melbourne Stars ticket prices start at $25 for adults, $6 for kids, $17 for Concession and $53.00 for a family.  

Tickets can be pre-purchased online (ticketek.com.au) or via the phone (132 849) through Ticketek (transactions fees and 1.95% credit card fee will apply).

Allan Border Medal Preview

 The Allan Border Medal is cricket's night of nights. Photo: Getty Images. 

The Allan Border Medal is cricket's night of nights. Photo: Getty Images. 

By Taryn Elder

The Allan Border Medal is cricket’s night of nights. I guess you could say the event is similar to the AFL’s Brownlow Medal, with the evening celebrating the achievements of both men and women who play professional cricket for and within Australia. 

 Cricketer Meg Lanning (right) receives the Belinda Clark Award. Photo: Getty Images. 

Cricketer Meg Lanning (right) receives the Belinda Clark Award. Photo: Getty Images. 

The award is considered to be the most prestigious individual prize in Australian cricket, struck for the first time in the year 2000. It's also named after former Australian cricket captain Allan Border.

To win an Allan Border Medal as a cricketer, you need to win the support of your peers, the media and umpires, who vote throughout the season. So, I guess it pays to be pretty nice to everyone involved! 

There are also a number of other awards handed out on the night… but we'll have more on these later.

 Australian Men's Captain Steve Smith was the winner of the Allan Border Medal in 2015. Photo: Getty Images. 

Australian Men's Captain Steve Smith was the winner of the Allan Border Medal in 2015. Photo: Getty Images. 

This year the exclusive (yep, unfortunately it’s invite only) awards night will be held on Wednesday 27 January at Crown Casino in Melbourne. Last year it was held in Sydney for the first time, but this year makes a hometown return ahead of Australia taking on India at the MCG on Friday. 

Like any major awards ceremony, the red carpet is usually a highlight for fans, and also tends to spark interest from those just keen to take a look at the fashion.... or the candid red carpet moments. Let's face it, the red carpet often produces some gold! 

 The Allan Border red carpet is always popular amongst fans. Photo: Getty Images. 

The Allan Border red carpet is always popular amongst fans. Photo: Getty Images. 

After the buzz of the red carpet, players and their partners will head inside of the Crown Palladium for the official proceedings. This is where things start to get serious, and for anyone planning to watch the ceremony you can expect something like this.... 

Talking…. award...claps… talking…. another award... more claps….. talking again... okay, so you probably get the idea.

For the last few years, those attending the event have sat in rows, much like you'd find at a movie theatre (or the Oscars). However this year that all changes, with players to be seated on round tables (Golden Globes-style). This is sure to make for some funny candid camera moments!

 This year guests will be seated around round tables instead of auditorium seating. Photo: Getty. 

This year guests will be seated around round tables instead of auditorium seating. Photo: Getty. 

If you’re wondering how many awards are handed out on the evening, well... here you go!

  • Men's International Cricketer of the Year (The Allan Border Medal)
  • Women's International Cricketer of the Year (The Belinda Clark Award)
  • Test Player of the Year
  • One Day International Player of the Year
  • Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year
  • State Player of the Year

Most years also see a 'Twenty20 International Player of the Year' award on offer - this year, given only on T20 match was played by the Australian Men's Team in the voting period, the award is being rested.

The night also honours those who are inducted into the official Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, with fast bowler Jeff Thomson and wicketkeeper Wally Grout announced as this year's inductees.

So who will be in attendance this year?
All members of the Australian cricket teams (men's and women's) who played at any stage of the voting period are invited, as well as their partners, plus officials and some VIP's. 

What happens when the awards finish?
The players head to the official Crown Golden Ale After Party to kick of their heels/dress shoes. This year, The Delivery will be bringing you all of the after party video highlights thanks to our friends at Crown Golden Ale, so keep your eyes peeled! 

 The Crown Golden Ale After Party is a chance for players to kick up their heels and spend time with team mates. Photo: Getty Images. 

The Crown Golden Ale After Party is a chance for players to kick up their heels and spend time with team mates. Photo: Getty Images. 

Tell me more about the fashion!
The Allan Border Medal always seems to produce some great red carpet fashion moments. From dapper suits, to sequin floor length gowns...and everything in between. You can expect a truly eclectic mix of fashion on the red carpet and, lucky for you, The Delivery will be on hand to deliver all of those special fashion moments straight to you.

We will be bringing you behind the scenes photos, red carpet photos, fashion commentary, as well as the best snaps from those attending on the night. To follow all the action, check us out on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter - @thedeliveryau. 

Can I watch it on TV?
Yes you can! The Nine Network will be broadcasting a recap of the red carpet as well as the award ceremony from 8.40pm AEDT Wednesday.

Show me some past red carpet moments!
No problems….enjoy our red carpet gallery! Just CLICK on the image to move through some of our picks from the past few years.


Blind Cricket Championships: Women Are Pushing The Boundaries

 Fawkner Park in Melbourne hosted the Blind Cricket Championships. Photo: Sourced. 

Fawkner Park in Melbourne hosted the Blind Cricket Championships. Photo: Sourced. 

By Jill Scanlon 

I went to the cricket recently.

It was a beautiful morning in Melbourne’s leafy inner suburbs under a blue sky bathed in the warmth of early sunshine: bustling traffic, a large park and a cricket pitch – a glorious setting for a day of cricket.

No, it was not the MCG!

It was Fawkner Park in South Yarra and I was rolling up to watch the final of the National Blind Cricket Championships.

After twelve days of competition, Victoria was taking on South Australia.

The National Championship occurs every two years and is fondly referred to by the participants as the Carnival. This year is the 34th Carnival and – if you do your maths – that means this competition has been running for almost 70 years.

Surprisingly though, most people are unaware of blind cricket as a competitive sport.

 Seeing eye dog Doro keeps a watchful eye from the sidelines. Photo: Sourced. 

Seeing eye dog Doro keeps a watchful eye from the sidelines. Photo: Sourced. 

At first view from the sidelines, it looks like it’s a men’s competition but there are in fact female players involved – the teams are mixed – but due to significantly fewer numbers of female players in the sport, not all teams have women in their ranks.

Queensland is one of the exceptions.

23 year old Chrissy Brincat has been the sole female playing for the team from up north over the last fortnight but admits she’s relatively new to the sport having taken it up only five months ago.

“It’s nothing like any sport I’ve ever played before.  That’s why I wanted to play Carnival so I could get a proper feel for what it’s like at this level. I’m actually surprised they let me play because I haven’t been playing for very long,” she told The Delivery.

Brincat is classified as a B1 player -- the highest level of blind classification in the sport. She has some light perception and can see just shadows.

 Despite her limited vision, Chrissy Brincat has discovered a love for cricket. Photo: Sourced. 

Despite her limited vision, Chrissy Brincat has discovered a love for cricket. Photo: Sourced. 

She admits that as a child she actually disliked sport.

“At school I really hated sport because I was the only blind child in my school, so sport was something I actually found quite traumatic,” she said, but added she now thinks promoting Blind sport is really important – especially for kids like herself who hated it.

As a young teenager she took up Swish -- blind table tennis -- and has played ever since. But last year she decided to find out what other blind sports are out there, turning her hand to something very different in cricket, and it’s proven to be a challenge.

“It’s pretty hard; I still don’t know all the rules and I’m definitely still learning. It’s probably the hardest sport that I’ve played,” said Brincat.

 Chrissy Brincat playing with the Brisbane team during the Blind Cricket Championships. Photo: Sourced

Chrissy Brincat playing with the Brisbane team during the Blind Cricket Championships.
Photo: Sourced

Another woman taking part in the Carnival has been Donna McCaskill, playing with the New Zealand team. Donna’s cricket life has been quite different to Chrissy’s.

She is 35 years old and has been playing the sport for 22 years. She’s played at international level representing New Zealand at a World Cup and is the President of the New Zealand Blind Cricket Association – quite an achievement for a sport which has few women involved. But McCaskill says they’re slowly working to change that and awareness is growing among females.

“It is (growing), mainly because I’m the President, so I’m encouraging the girls to get involved.”

McCaskill says the Association also gets some support from the Blind Foundation back home through publicity to the membership raising awareness of the sport.

“We’re getting a huge response. Two years ago we weren’t even dreaming of doing a development tour … or sending a team over to play in the Carnival – so that’s been quite big for us.”

She says they are getting some support from Cricket NZ and starting discussions, looking at the model which Cricket Australia has initiated in an effort to do more with disability cricket.

McCaskill says while the Kiwi team did not do well in the Carnival, the benefits for the new players have been great.

“For a lot of the players it was completely brand new and it’s given them a realisation of what we’re pushing for back home -- why Blind Cricket New Zealand is doing things in a certain way. We need to reach a higher level and they didn’t understand that until they played in this competition, so it’s been really good in that sense,” she said.

So if you ever get the chance to pop along to a game, do.

As Cricket Australia would like us all to embrace the notion of cricket as ‘A Sport For All’, Blind Cricket is an outstanding example of exactly that.

About the author:
Jill Scanlon is a sports journalist and has previously written for the Huffington Post. She is also a  Sport for Development advocate. 

 

The Delivery’s quick guide to the Big Bash Finals

 The Big Bash League Finals Series always brings plenty of excitement to the summer sporting calendar. Photo: Getty Images. 

The Big Bash League Finals Series always brings plenty of excitement to the summer sporting calendar. Photo: Getty Images. 

By Taryn Elder 

It's hard to believe the end is near, but it's already finals time for the KFC Big Bash League (BBL) and Rebel Women's Big Bash League (WBBL). With so many cricket matches happening around the country in so many different locations, we’re not going to blame you if you’re finding it a little hard to keep up. So, with this in mind, we’ve done some research to bring you our quick guide to understanding the Big Bash Finals – with a little bit of help from our friend Laura Jolly from cricket.com.au!

1. Who’s playing?
Yep, probably one of the most important questions to start with. With the semi finals being played Thursday and Friday, there are currently four men’s teams still in the running for the BBL title, and another four teams vying for the first ever WBBL trophy. 

Men's Big Bash League (BBL) teams in the semi finals (in order of placing after the regular season).

  • Adelaide Strikers
  • Melbourne Stars
  • Perth Scorchers
  • Sydney Thunder

Women's Big Bash League Teams (WBBL) teams in the semi finals (in order of placing after the regular season). 

  • Hobart Hurricanes
  • Sydney Thunder
  • Sydney Sixers
  • Perth Scorchers
 For the first time ever, four teams in the WBBL will be vying for a win to make it into the grand final. Getty Images

For the first time ever, four teams in the WBBL will be vying for a win to make it into the grand final. Getty Images

2. When are the finals being played?
The Big Bash semi finals are being played this Thursday (21 January) and Friday (22 January), with the locations determined by the highest ranked BBL teams. So if you landed in the top two spots you get the homeground advantage. As this is the first ever season for the WBBL, the women's teams will be playing before each of the men's semi final games as a double-header fixture.

Thursday January 21 at Adelaide Oval

  • WBBL – Sydney Thunder vs. Perth Scorchers, 2:10pm local (2.40pm AEDT)
  • BBL – Adelaide Strikers vs. Sydney Thunder, 7:10pm local (7.40pm AEDT)

Friday January 22 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

  • WBBL – Hobart Hurricanes vs. Sydney Sixers, 2:40pm local (AEDT)
  • BBL – Melbourne Stars vs. Perth Scorchers, 7:40pm local (AEDT)
 The MCG will host a number of semi final games. Photo: Getty Images. 

The MCG will host a number of semi final games. Photo: Getty Images. 

The Big Bash League 2016 Grand Finals (women’s and men’s) will be played this Sunday, January 24... yep, there really is no rest for the wicked! With The location of that match will depending on who wins the semi final games. 

3. What do you mean you don’t know where the grand final is being played?
There are actually three cities still in the running to host the grand finals! It all comes down to the results of the semi finals, and the rankings of the BBL teams after the end of the regular season. With the WBBL in its first ever season, its grand final will be played as a double header fixture on the same ground as the BBL final. 

Need more of an explanation? Here goes… 

  • If Adelaide Strikers (who finished on top of the ladder in the men’s league division) win, the grand final will be played in Adelaide.
  • If Adelaide Strikers lose and Melbourne Stars (who finished second overall) win, the grand final will be in Melbourne.
  • If Adelaide Strikers AND Melbourne Stars both lose, the grand final will be played in Perth, thanks to the Perth Scorchers finishing in third place!
 The Adelaide Strikers have landed on top of the BBL ladder. Photo: Getty Images. 

The Adelaide Strikers have landed on top of the BBL ladder. Photo: Getty Images. 

4. Who should I look out for in the BBL teams? 

  • Adelaide Strikers (BBL)
    The Strikers hope that star import Mahela Jayawardena will be fit to play during the semi final, after missing Adelaide's last two games due to injury. 

     
  • Melbourne Stars (BBL) (aka “Green Melbourne”)
    The Stars have lost all four semi-finals they have played in, three of those to the Scorchers, so they will be hoping to change that! The Stars are also without key players Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, Scott Boland and John Hastings, who are currently lending their services to the Australian men's team, so are unavailable for the finals – but with Kevin Pietersen on their team, anything is possible.
  The Melbourne Stars have previously lost all four semi finals they've played in. Photo: Getty Images. 

The Melbourne Stars have previously lost all four semi finals they've played in. Photo: Getty Images. 


  • Perth Scorchers (BBL)
    The Scorchers have featured in every BBL final series to date, so they're certainly seasoned veterans. The Scorchers will be hopeful Jason Behrendorff will be able to play through his back injury, with Michael Klinger need to get runs early for the team. Unfortunately Scorchers players Shaun and Mitchell Marsh won’t be available to play due to their duties playing with the Australian team.
 The Perth Scorchers have a good track record when it comes to semi final wins. Photo: Getty Images. 

The Perth Scorchers have a good track record when it comes to semi final wins. Photo: Getty Images. 

  • Sydney Thunder (BBL) (aka “Lime Green Sydney”)
    In-form Australian batsman Usman Khawaja returns for the Thunder after a stint carrying drinks in the Australian One Day International squad, which is great news for the team. In his last BBL season, Mike Hussey is determined to go out on a high note. 

5. What about in the WBBL? 

  • Hobart Hurricanes (WBBL)
    When it comes to taking wickets, keep an eye out for Veronica Pyke, who has one of the best averages in the WBBL. Team this with the remarkable catching skills from Erin Burns, and hopefully the team has a winning combo. 

     
  • Sydney Sixers (WBBL) (aka “Pink Sydney”)
    After languishing at the bottom of the ladder half way through the season, the Sixers certainly have momentum on their side! Dual international superstar Ellyse Perry came out as one of the top run scorers for the WBBL this season, and will be looking to stay on top her game during the finals. New Zealander Sara McGlashan is also a heavy hitter and pretty good when it comes to hitting sixes into the crowd, so let's hope we see plenty of great crowd catches as a result. 
 Ellyse Perry from the Sydney Sixers. Photo: Getty Images. 

Ellyse Perry from the Sydney Sixers. Photo: Getty Images. 

  • Sydney Thunder (WBBL) (aka “Lime Green Sydney”)
    There's no shortage of great players for the Thunder, with Australian fast bowler Rene Farrell hoping to stay on top of her wickets average and claim enough to ensure a win. Australian Vice-Captain Alex Blackwell will also be an important part of the squad with her superior catching skills. 
     
  • Perth Scorchers (WBBL)
    Charlotte Edwards – who actually captains England when not busy with WBBL – was the second highest scorer for all of the WBBL and will be looking to clock up plenty more during her finals campaign. 

6. I can’t make it to a finals game in person, where can I watch it?
Can’t make it to one of the finals in person? You’re not alone! Each of the BBL and WBBL semi finals and the grand final will be LIVE on Network Ten (either OneHD or TEN).

 Can't make it to a game? Catch the LIVE action on Channel Ten or One HD. Photo: Getty Images. 

Can't make it to a game? Catch the LIVE action on Channel Ten or One HD. Photo: Getty Images. 

7. Keep your eyes peeled on social media too, with the Big Bash known to swamp news feeds far and wide when matches are on. Here are some handy hashtags # to know. 

  • #BBL05: Refers to the Big Bash League, which is currently in its fifth season.

  • #WBBL01: Refers to the Women’s Big Bash League, currently enjoying its first ever season.

  • #StrikeForce: Used by fans of the Adelaide Strikers. After finishing the BBL season with two more wins than any other team, be on the lookout for signs of cautious confidence as the finals kick off.

  • #ThunderNation: This tag is a clear sign you’re a Sydney Thunder fan. A highly passionate bunch who’ve not had much success over the years, Thunder Nation have all fingers and toes crossed either their BBL or WBBL side will be able to take the crown this summer.

  • #GoStars #TeamGreen: The hashtag of the Melbourne Stars, the green army from Melbourne have some of the most vocal supporters in the game

  • #MADETOUGH: this would be the hashtag used by the Perth Scorchers, who like to think they’re sometimes a little tougher than the rest!

  • #canetrain: This is the hashtag of the Hobart Hurricanes.. get it… get rid of the Hurri.. and you’re left with cane

  • #smashemsixers: Yep the Sydney Sixers like to smash plenty of sixes into the crowd, so much so they created this hashtag to prove it. 

  • #sixersaregoingvertical: Another one popping up via the Sydney Sixers, thanks to their WBBL team winning their final 7 matches in a row to jump from the bottom of the ladder right into third place!

  David Willey of the Scorchers poses for a selfie with spectators after winning the Big Bash League match between Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers. Photo: Getty Images. 

David Willey of the Scorchers poses for a selfie with spectators after winning the Big Bash League match between Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers. Photo: Getty Images. 

8. What is the Big Bash League?
Perhaps we should have started with this? If you need some more help understanding the phenom that is all things Big Bash... head to our earlier Big Bash guide HERE.

Of course you can also check out www.bigbash.com.au for more info and to snap up some tickets. 

VIDEO: Show Your Colours

When it comes to having an absolute ball at the cricket, the VB One Day International (ODI) Series is one to mark on your calendar. Over the past few years fans have gone all out in blue or gold to support their teams, with gold signifying support for Australia, and blue the colour of choice for Indian fans. This year the series has produced plenty of colour once again, so if you're planning on heading to an ODI match the big question you need to ask yourself is will you #GOGold or will you #GOBlue. It's about showing your true colours! 


VIDEO: Field of Flavours at the cricket

 Field of Flavours is about great street food, entertainment and enjoying the cricket. Photo: Sourced. 

Field of Flavours is about great street food, entertainment and enjoying the cricket. Photo: Sourced. 

By Taryn Elder

The Field of Flavours food event is brand new to cricket for this summer and already has foodies and cricket fans buzzing.

The travelling food and entertainment festival, which is part of the VB One Day International cricket series, has already been a huge hit in Perth and Melbourne, with cricket fans enjoying dishes from the sub continent and beyond.

 Celebrity chef Peter Kuruvita (right) talks about what people can expect at the food event, new to the cricket this summer. Photo: Sourced. 

Celebrity chef Peter Kuruvita (right) talks about what people can expect at the food event, new to the cricket this summer.
Photo: Sourced. 

Celebrity chef and event ambassador Peter Kuruvita has handpicked the restaurants and chefs involved and says there is really something for everyone. Next stop for the event is Sydney!

The great news is if you'e planning on heading to the next even on January 23 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) entry is FREE.  

Head to www.fieldofflavours.com.au for more info.