Sydney Sixers' Henry Thornton and Lauren Smith to bring Country Blitz to Port Macquarie Public School

Lauren Smith of the Sixers catches Mignon du Preez of the Stars during the Women's Big Bash League cricket match between the Sydney Sixers and the Melbourne Stars at North Sydney Oval on December 9. Photo: AAP/Craig Golding

Lauren Smith of the Sixers catches Mignon du Preez of the Stars during the Women's Big Bash League cricket match between the Sydney Sixers and the Melbourne Stars at North Sydney Oval on December 9. Photo: AAP/Craig Golding

Sydney Sixers duo Lauren Smith and Henry Thornton will visit Port Macquarie Public School on August 8 as part of the annual statewide Country Blitz.

The Country Blitz involves the best male and female players in NSW with 31 players divided amongst 15 regions with school visits a priority.

Cricket NSW Mid North Coast development manager Martin Garoni said the visits were about tapping into a new market.

“The popularity of the BBL and the WBBL has made it easier to talk to people about cricket and try and get them interested,” he said.

“We’re in winter, but we want to put cricket back on the map.”

Garoni said having players such as Smith visit and talk to young girls had encouraged more of them to take up the sport.

“It’s great for the girls; we want to talk to those who are not playing cricket and enthuse them to start and play,” he said.

“We talk enough to those that do play.”

Cricket NSW general manager of community cricket, Ivan Spyrdz, said that regional and country NSW had always been a vital part of the NSW cricket family.

“The Cricket NSW Country Blitz is an annual event that we all love being part of,” Spyrdz said.

“Players from the Sixers, Thunder, Blues and Breakers are all involved and it’s a great thrill for us, and for those cricket communities we get to visit.

“Many of Australia’s finest players are from regional NSW and the Country Blitz is just one way to ensure we keep inspiring the next generation of fine cricketers from the country.

“With much of NSW experiencing drought and hardship, we hope the Country Blitz and the players can provide some joy to those communities by spending some time with them, talking and playing cricket.

“The Country Blitz is the first official program for Cricket NSW in what is shaping to be a massive summer of cricket.

“With a brand-new Woolworths Cricket Blast program underway, new junior cricket formats implemented across NSW, an extended BBL season and a new broadcast partner, there will be plenty of cricket being played and watched during the summer.”

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