Players from Dubbo and Wellington to rub shoulders with international stars in commemorative tour

LEADERS: Ash Gardner and Dan Christian will captain the Australian Indigenous sides. Photo: CRICKET AUSTRALIA
LEADERS: Ash Gardner and Dan Christian will captain the Australian Indigenous sides. Photo: CRICKET AUSTRALIA

Ash Gardner has already gone from the back of Bourke to the baggy green but the looming tour of the UK will mark a special and unforgettable experience for the talented all-rounder.

Gardner has been one of the most exciting talents in the Australian game for a number of years now and her efforts have seen her named as captain of the women’s Aboriginal XI which departs for a historic tour of the UK on Friday.

The Australian representative will be joined in the side by Wellington pair Sara Darney and Sally Moylan while Dubbo juniors Brock Larance and Ben Patterson are part of the men’s team, which is captained by Dan Christian.

The tour commemorate 150 years since their fellow Aboriginal cricketers became the first sporting team from Australia to tour overseas.

In May 1868, 13 Aboriginal players from the Jardwadjali, Gunditjmara and Wotjobaluk clans Victoria arrived in England before playing 47 matches against amateur teams over the next four months.

This year’s tour will feature matches played at some of the same grounds as the 1868 side, including The Oval, and Gardner is proud to be a part of it.

“Obviously being able to do it 150 years later is a very special moment,” Gardner, whose family hails from the north of the Brewarrina region, told cricket.com.au.

“Being able to captain such a young side, I’m really looking forward to going back to England and I’m sure all the girls are raring to go.”

The men’s side will play five matches, four of those being against county sides.

They are likely to come up against some of the game’s biggest names in the clashes with Surrey, Sussex, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

The likes of South African stars Morne Morkel and Dean Elgar play for Surrey while the Sussex squad features excitement machine Jofra Archer as well as Ishant Sharma, Luke Wright and Tymal Mills.

Ross Taylor is part of Nottinghamshire’s side while Pakistan international Wahab Riaz plays for Derbyshire.

However, not all those big names are certain top play against the Aboriginal XI squad.

The first game is June 5.

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