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‘Where do we go from here?’

I posed this question to my teammate Simon as our opponents looked to be cantering to victory, condemning the Unicorns to a loss in a game where I had hoped we might have been in with a chance. Instead, the match had suddenly spiralled out of control.

My question was partly a reflection on the immediate situation, an exasperation. But it was more than that - it reflected what we had achieved as a club, what the future might hold and how we might get there.

At the Unicorns, we have an amazing mix…

Inclusive cricket is finding a space to thrive

Unicorns, Graces and Umpires gather before the match for a group photo

Hot English summer days are a rarity. Every year there are one or two but they are punctuated either side by rain, cool breezes or clouds. Coming from Australia the English summer has always been pleasant but not hot, not the kind of heat that leaves you sucking hard to catch your breath when out on the cricket field. Sunday 13th June was, though, one of those hot days. Having postponed the original date due to rain being able to play this historic match for LGBTQ+ cricket in brilliant sunshine was a…

Fate presents us with a unique opportunity

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Last month the first all-inclusive LGBTQ+ cricket game anywhere in the world was due to take place in Birmingham, England. At the Unicorns, we were ready. As the new kids on the block, we knew we were entering unchartered territory against the well established Graces Cricket Club from London, but we have built a unique culture and understanding already, and we were ready to step onto the park and play.

Unfortunately, the English weather won. The rain tumbled down; no cricket was played.

Fast forward only a few days, and the sun is shining, and the forecast looks positive for the weeks ahead. Hard work and…

The curse of the British weather — Unicorns v Graces

Photo by guy stevens on Unsplash

After months of planning, yesterday was going to be a massive day for the LGBTQ+ cricketing community.

My new LGBTQ+ inclusive club, Birmingham Unicorns, were set to take on Graces Cricket Club from London in the first-ever fully inclusive LGBTQ+ cricket match anywhere in the world. Our hosts, Weoley Hill Cricket Club, the England and Wales Cricket Board, and various media organisations were ready to get the game on.

But, and there is always a but when playing cricket in England, we needed the weather to be kind. For weeks…

Cricket is not an easy sport to grasp

Photo by LumenSoft Technologies on Unsplash

I don’t recall when I first learnt to bowl a cricket ball or bat with some semblance of technique that might lead to some runs being scored. I imagine it must have been when I was eight or nine years old and playing cricket for my primary school in Adelaide. Today the movements required, the angles and contortions that are common when bowling or batting is second nature. I don’t think twice about it now; it is a learned behaviour due to repetition and practice, much like running or walking up a…

Volunteering in sport as a gay man

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

This week I had the opportunity to participate in doctoral research exploring the experiences of LGBTQ+ volunteers in sports. I spent an enjoyable hour reflecting on my journey in sports with a focus on cricket. I spoke about my time as a committee member at one club and leading the establishment of another, a specific LGBTQ+ club. We don’t often stop to think about these journeys and what they mean, so I was grateful for the chance to reflect.

There are a few things I learnt from the chat, drawing on experiences that…

Moments of comedy and renewed confidence as a new season starts

A beautiful setting for cricket — Colehshill Cricket Club near Birmingham

In Aussie Rules Football, you alternate the ends to which you kick at each quarter break like many team sports. In the heat of battle, it can be easy to momentarily forget which way your team is going and inadvertently kick the ball the wrong way. When playing for my school in my teenage years, this was not uncommon, especially for my team. We struggled to compete every week, and sometimes getting possession of the ball was a significant achievement.

In all that excitement, kicking it the wrong way was never a surprise!

Cricket shouldn’t have these problems. Yes, we change ends…

Today I felt the suns rays for the first time in months

Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

It is not that the sun hasn’t been out, it has over the winter months, but today there was genuine warmth, one that soaks through to your skin. The sun will dip in and out over the weeks ahead, but the warmth will become the default, and winter will soon be a long-forgotten memory. By the time mid-summer arrives, I will have forgotten all about winter; I’ll believe it never happened.

Covid-19 has wreaked havoc for the last year; the impact over the winter has profoundly changed the…

In memory of Bruce Morley

Bruce in the scorebox — his second home!

Finding a new cricket club is never easy, but Bruce made it easy.

From my first tentative email to the club, asking for information, he filled my inbox with all the information anyone would ever need. Whatever the question, however small or seemingly insignificant, Bruce happily responded, pointing me in the right direction.

Bruce was the first person I met at Weoley Hill Cricket Club. In April 2015 the weather was typical for the time of year, breezy with showers sweeping across the ground. I hadn’t taken in the ground before, but I appreciated its tranquil beauty, nestled into the southern Birmingham suburbs. …

Lightning doesn’t need to strike twice

Photo by Mélody P on Unsplash

They say lightning never strikes twice.

They say you can ride out the storm.

But what if it doesn’t need to strike twice, and what if there never is a storm?

Growing up gay and experiencing homophobia and hetronormativity can exhaust you every day. But it becomes more challenging when you find yourself in spaces where you don’t feel safe or where queer people don’t traditionally have a home.

Sporting clubs can be such a space for many in the LGBTQ+ community.

Staying involved in sports and finding a home, whether a sport or…

Lachlan Smith

Reflections on LGBTQ+ life and experiences playing club cricket in England — the only Aussie + gay cricketer at the club! Contact: lachlantsmith@gmail.com

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