Dani Receives National Recognition For Volunteering

Dani chivers volunteering awardTo say that Pacific Hills student Dani Chivers likes cricket is a huge understatement. Since discovering the sport at the age of six she has enthusiastically thrown herself into it and her years of dedication have been recognised at a national level.

Cricket Australia has named Dani the recipient of their prestigious Young Community Leader of the Year Award. This comes on top of Dani being selected by Cricket NSW as the person most deserving of their Young Community Leader of the Year Award. Apart from these outstanding achievements, Dani’s “trophy cabinet” includes the Hornsby Kuringai District Cricket Association Rookie Coach of the Year Award.

“I fell in love with cricket from the start. I love the team spirit. You have to have a good relationship with your team mates every weekend. You need to decide things together.”

Such is her love for cricket that Dani has ventured from batting and bowling to captaining sides to coaching. Her mentor over the years has been father, Graham, who played English County junior cricket.

Dani started with Kanga Cricket at the biggest junior club in Australia, West Pennant Hills-Cherrybrook Cricket Club. She was handy with the bat and discovered she like to bowl. Fast. Up to 100 kilometres per hour.

“No one thinks that I’m a scary fast bowler. It’s so much fun.”

Her personal best is five wickets for 18 runs against a boy’s rep team. Her best ‘knock with the bat’ is 31 not out.

Dani is naturally gifted at the sport and before long, at the age of 14, she was captaining an U18 women’s grade team in which she was the youngest player.

“When you’re involved in the game you have to be concentrating on every ball. You can’t switch off, you’re always changing something – moving a fielder, changing a bowler.”

From that age she also captained a rep side for three years, and she has led boy’s teams at state carnivals in which she is the only female.

“They do listen to me.”

Dani progressed to rep cricket and, as a member of the Northern Districts club (which has produced a number of national professional players) she is now playing in women’s grade cricket. She is in second grade and is targeting the first grade competition.

“It is very hard to get into the team. It keeps me on my toes.”

Dani cricket armidale carnival day

Dani trains twice a week with adult players from the WBBL. When you add in her playing and coaching activities she is handling a bat and ball six days a week.

“I’ve never been bored with it, there is always something new to learn.”

Dani’s coaching career started when she was in Year 3 at Primary School. Her father was running clinics at a primary school during the holidays and Dani decided to help out with the Kindy kids. She instantly discovered a lot of enjoyment in working with young children, and, from then through to now, she was busy during her holiday breaks coaching at five local schools.

Three years ago, Milo Cricket needed a coach for their Saturday program and Dani’s name was put forward. She was selected and added that to her list of weekly responsibilities. The Hornsby Kuringai District Cricket Association invited Dani to become a part of their coaching team at clinics during school holidays and they responded to her enthusiastic input by presenting her with their annual award.

Friday nights, before youth group, are occupied with Blowfly Cricket. This is a program for children with special needs.

“I find it rewarding to see them having so much fun, and we’re giving the carers a break. I like talking to the kids, it’s very relaxed.”

Dani has also had a go at indoor cricket with an all-boys School team. She had to get special clearance to play in that competition.

“It is a lot of fun but scary when you’re playing Year 12’s who are so tall.”

If there is a ‘downside’ to this story it is that Dani is no stranger to her local physiotherapist. Pace bowling takes its toll on the body (just ask any of the bowlers in the Australian team) and after a match she sometimes has to get treatment for ‘niggles’. She has suffered one injury, a damaged rotator cuff, which kept her away from the sport for a while.

“My dream is to play for Australia. If not, I definitely want to be involved in the sport for Cricket NSW or Cricket Australia.”