ACT News

Canberra junior cricketers pay tribute to Phillip Hughes

The pitches are falling silent across Canberra  as cricketers returning to the game honour and life of Phillip Hughes, a player who inspired a love of the sport for so many.

Games paying tribute to the 25-year-old Australian cricketer who died on Thursday had already began in the ACT on Friday as NSW Premier Mike Baird announced a State Memorial Service would be held at the Sydney Cricket Ground to honour Hughes and give the public a chance to mourn the loss of the plucky batsman. 

Burgmann Anglican School and Eastlake under 10s clap and cheer to celebrate the life of Australian batsman Phillip ...
Burgmann Anglican School and Eastlake under 10s clap and cheer to celebrate the life of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes after a one-minute silence. Photo: Matt Bedford

Eastlake and Burgmann Anglican School's under 10 teams paid their respects with a one-minute silence in the middle of Narrabundah Oval on Friday, followed by a joint applause to send off Hughes. 

Cricket ACT consulted with junior clubs across the territory and decided games would go ahead in Hughes' honour, with players to wear black armbands and observe a one-minute silence before the start of play.

Burgmann Anglican School and Eastlake players spin the bat in their first game after the death of Australian Batsman ...
Burgmann Anglican School and Eastlake players spin the bat in their first game after the death of Australian Batsman Phillip Hughes.  Photo: Matt Bedford

Hughes finished 63 not out in his final game for South Australia at the SCG on Tuesday when he was hit in the head by a cricket ball. He later died in hospital. 

Rules have been relaxed so that any players that feel they can't play are allowed to be substituted with a replacement. 

Junior players will also retire when they reach 63, raised from 50.

Eastlake under 10s coach Tony Allen said both teams wanted to pay their respects and recognise Hughes' contribution to Australian cricket.

"It's such a freak accident but we can't stop what were doing - we can't cotton-wool every child," he said.

Mr Allen said any accident sparked a review of player safety but juniors were well equipped with mandatory helmets and bowling restrictions. 

"There are a lot of safety measures in place at the moment," he said.

Mr Allen's eight-year-old son and player Nicholas who, like Hughes, is a left-hander, said he was sad to hear the news of the the cricketer's death.

"I was upset because he was a brilliant batsman and sometimes opened for Australia in Tests," he said.

"He played defensively and was a left-hander."

Burgmann Anglican School under 10s coach Keelan Goodisson said his players were aware of the incident before the game and got behind the tribute, writing the number 408 on their arms and bats.

Hughes was the 408th Australian to don the Baggy Green.

Burgmann player Jordan Beresford, 9, said he was also sad to hear of Hughes' death and looked forward to a good game with his friends.

In the senior ranks, Queanbeyan batsman Henry Hunt will resume on Saturday on 62 not out in his side's first-grade game against Wests/UC at Freebody Oval.

The 17-year-old didn't realise until he was working on his family's farm in Grenfell on Friday that he was one run away from the number that will now always been synonymous with Hughes.

"It'll definitely be in the back of my mind when I go out to bat tomorrow," Hunt said.

"It only came to me when I was out in the paddock today that I was 62 and he was 62, I don't know what I would do to be honest.

I haven't given it much thought."

Cricket ACT chief executive Mark Vergano said the various initiatives were a great way to pay tribute to a "fine young man and a fine player".

"The ACT cricket family has come together with the rest of the world cricket family to show support to the Hughes family, to Phillip's friends and teammates," Vergano said.

"After talking to our clubs, we have decided to play all grade cricket and junior cricket will go ahead this weekend as a tribute to Phillip.

"Cricket will be played and done in memory of Phillip and may it act as an inspiration for our up and coming players."