January 30, 2011

Offbeat

Cricket outta Compton

Liam Brickhill
Members of the Homies and Popz cricket team at a practice session before their Australian tour, Los Angeles, January 28, 2010
Members of The Homies and The Popz at a training session before their Australian tour  © Getty Images
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While almost A$6million had been raised for Australia’s flood relief appeal by the end of the 5th one-day international at the Gabba, further cricket-based help will soon be forthcoming from an unexpected source: Compton, Los Angeles. The Homies and the Popz are Compton Cricket Club’s team and have embarked on their first tour of Australia, with one of their main aims being to raise awareness and financial support for the Queensland flood victims.

Comprised of African American and Latino youth and former gang members, the cricket team was formed to provide an alternative to the gang activities that ruled their neighbourhoods. They’ve been playing cricket for 15 years and credit the sport with their salvation. In the coming weeks, they’ve planned to play a series of high profile exhibition cricket matches during the height of the Australian cricketing calendar in three cities: Melbourne, Alice Springs and Sydney.

Through touring to Australia the team also hopes to continue developing into a world class competitive and exhibition cricket team and sporting club, utilising its high profile to publicise other charitable Australian organisations that deal with similar issues in their own communities, and raise awareness of the Club with key stakeholders during their tour so that cricket opportunities between the USA and Australia can grow.

The teams they will play represent the broadest possible cross-section of cricketing groups Australia has to offer, and will include University, inner city, charity, homeless and youth cricket sides. Some of these teams include, in Melbourne, sides made up of Cricket Victoria and Cricket Australia staff and the Australian Cricket Society and, in Sydney, the Redfern All Blacks, Sydney University and Police and community Youth Centres.

Find out more about The Homies and The Popz at www.comptoncricketclub.org

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

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Keywords: Offbeat

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