All abilities cricket leads to senior competition

COMPETITIVE SPIRIT… Cricketer turned footballer, Jamie Grahame at the Shepparton and Youth Club United Cricket Club’s home ground earlier this year. The keen cricketer is now playing football for the Goulburn Valley Giants. Photo: Jemima Nash

THE path to senior sport has been a remarkable one for a player who started his career in the local disability cricket team.

Shepparton’s Jamie Grahame, 34, said playing for the Shepparton and Youth Club United Cricket Club has allowed him to be treated like a normal person, not like someone with a disability, and he’s now pulled on the football boots, too.

“It doesn’t matter if you have a disability or not, you are there to have a go at it,” Jamie said, speaking about his years playing cricket.

Jamie, who has an intellectual disability, has changed tack this winter and joined the Goulburn Valley Giants Masters AFL club.

GV Masters president, David Davis, said Jamie’s addition to the group has been welcomed.

“He’s probably been the biggest breath of fresh air, he adds a bit of character to the space,” he said.

“He has fitted right in, and he wants to learn, that’s the main thing. He’s been really good.”

While the Country Masters season remains on ice, training continues with strong numbers.

Connect GV, an NDIS provider committed to providing individualised options for people with a disability, has helped Jamie earn a guernsey in competitive sport.

Chief executive officer, Carolynne Frost, said sport had been an avenue for Jamie to cope, stay on track and have something to look forward to.

“It provides hope. We underestimate the need to have hope in one’s life and to have things to look forward to, and that’s a really big thing for Jamie,” she said.

“We are so proud of him and how far he has come.”