Derbyshire celebrated the 150th anniversary of the first Aboriginal side to tour the UK as The 3aaa County Ground played host to two Twenty20 matches featuring Aboriginal XI’s.
The women’s Aboriginal XI claimed a comfortable 137-run victory over a National Cricket Conference XI, whilst the men’s Aboriginal side saw off a Derbyshire representative XI to win by seven wickets.
2018 marks the 150th anniversary of the first touring Aboriginals side who played a South Derbyshire XI in Derby as part of the original tour which took place between May and October in 1868.
The 13 Aboriginal players who made the first trip to the UK were proudly remembered by the 13 male players of the 2018 Aboriginal XI, each of which displayed the name of one of the pioneers on the back of their uniform throughout the tour.
The women’s Aboriginal XI wore their own names on their back, pioneering as the first female Indigenous side to tour the UK.
Before the women’s game began, the leaders of Derby City Council and South Derbyshire District Council, as well as the Mayor Derby, presented the Aboriginal XI and National Cricket Conference XI teams with a commemorative gift.
Aboriginal XI Captain Ashleigh Gardner was fine form as she made 129 not out from just 71 balls, hitting 15 fours and four sixes, helping power her side to 199-4.
The National Cricket Conference XI couldn’t match the efforts of the Aboriginal XI as they could only make 62-5, handing the women’s Aboriginal XI a 137-run victory.
In a ceremony prior to the men’s fixture, Aboriginal XI Captain Dan Christian present Derbyshire Representative XI skipper, Tom Wood, with a commemorative stump painted by the great-great-granddaughter of one of the original Aboriginal XI.
The leaders of South Derbyshire District Council presented Christian, on behalf of the Aboriginal team, with a plaque featuring the crest of South Derbyshire.
Derbyshire were put in to bat first and former Derbyshire batsmen Wood and Chesney Hughes (38) started quickly as they fired their side to 104 before Hughes was caught.
Wood reached his half-century from 33 balls but could only get up to 65 before he was gone, as the visitors fought back and slowed the rate before being set a total of 157 runs to win.
The Aboriginal XI started well with the bat, with Brendan Smith and Damon Egan (38) hitting boundaries around the ground in the early overs. Smith reached his 50 from 23 balls, hitting five fours and three sixes, but could only add seven more before was gone, leaving his side at 85-1 from 10 overs.
Dan Christian came in and continued the powerful striking, notching a quick-fire 44 not out to seal victory for the Aboriginal XI, winning by seven wickets with 16 balls remaining.
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