Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
THE Caribbean and Americas Commonwealth Games Association delegates were treated to a classic Aussie backyard cricket match on Sunday to mark the conclusion of their Gold Coast visit.

The game was played at a BBQ reception hosted by a local resident and included Indigenous entertainment and fielded a roll call of sporting stars and dignitaries.

Premier Anna Bligh said the BBQ was part of the delegates official program and was the perfect end to a three-day tour of the Gold Coast and its facilities.

“The delegates have enjoyed a jam-packed itinerary and the opportunity to relax at a BBQ and have a good old Aussie backyard cricket match was really appreciated,” she said.

“It was a great way to show off our love of sport to delegates who hail from nations which are just as cricket-mad as we are, and showcase some homegrown Gold Coast hospitality.”

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Bid Chairman, Mark Stockwell, said the delegates had enjoyed the backyard cricket.

“They were delighted with the impromptu game, especially with the lineup of sporting stars who attended, and the Broadwater provided the perfect sunset backdrop,” he said.

The Premier and Parliamentary Secretary assisting the Premier on the 2018 Commonwealth Games Bid, Peta-Kaye Croft helped host the reception.

Cricket legend Ian Healy was on hand to demonstrate his skills to the delegates and reconnected with an old cricketing friend, Anguillan born former English cricketer Cardigan Connor.

Cayman Island delegate Donald McLean says while this was his fourth visit to Australia, it was the first time he had visited the Gold Coast.

“I am very impressed with the Gold Coast and think you could host the games tomorrow if you had to.

“I’m also not surprised with the level of community support as Australians are very sports minded.

“My impressions are very favorable and on a scale of one to 10 I’d give you a 10,” said Mr McLean.

Bahamas National Olympic Committee President and Commonwealth Games Association delegate, Wellington Miller says if Australia was to get the Games it will be a great Games for the athletes.

Mr Miller says he liked where the Games Village was located close to the beach and with lots of things to do for his athletes.

He was very impressed with the venues saying they were “fantastic” and “ahead of their time”.

Other well-known sporting identities in attendance included 2010 Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Kurt Fearnley, Australian Cricket team member Ryan Harris and under 19’s player Nick Buchanan, netballer Romelda Aiken, gymnast Brennon Dowrick, cyclist Sara Carrigan and swimmer Andrew Baildon.

Mr Fearnley said it was a great opportunity to be involved in the Gold Coast bid and to join the delegates from the Caribbean and Americas.

“The Gold Coast would be an awesome location for the Games in 2018 and I was really impressed with the facilities and proposed venues,” said Mr Fearnley.

“The delegates I met were very engaging and interested and my gut feel is it was a very positive experience for them.”

The Caribbean and Americas are the fourth delegation to visit the Gold Coast with the Commonwealth Games Executive Board arriving tomorrow.

The host city for the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be announced at the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly on 11 November 2011.