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Swans mix with the Maasai

Luke McManus  February 2, 2016 6:35 PM

Two cultures combine - February 2, 2016 The Maasai Cricket Warriors step foot on the SCG for the first time, having a hit and a kick-to-kick with the Sydney Swans.
The Maasai Cricket Warriors enjoyed taking in their new surroundings.

The Maasai Cricket Warriors enjoyed taking in their new surroundings.

They're not your average cricketers but they can play.

And they're not bad at Australian Rules either.

The Maasai Cricket Warriors took to the SCG on Tuesday morning to acclimatise to their new surroundings and prepare for Thursday's charity cricket match against the Sydney Swans Legends XI.

It was, as described by team member Sonyana Mike, a "dream come true" for the cricket-crazy Maasai to step out on to the famous venue.

"To be in this big stadium is amazing,” he said.

"I know it’s historic. It’s also historic for us to be here so we’re very privileged.”

The Maasai Cricket Warriors, introduced to the game in 2009, have been using the bat and ball to raise awareness of social issues in their country of Kenya including HIV/AIDS, women's issues and poaching as well as changing the general perception about the Maasai Warrior culture.

Their campaign has taken them to different parts of the world including Lords Cricket Ground – 'The Home of Cricket'.

The visit to the SCG is part of a whirlwind nine-day tour supported by the Primary Club, a charity which raises funds for sporting and recreational facilities for the disabled.

After watching a NSW Blues training session and posing for photos with local media, the Maasai played a friendly game in front of the Members Stand and Ladies Pavilion with some Sydney Swans including Nick Smith, Harry Cunningham, Isaac Heeney, Toby Nankervis and assistant coach Nick Davis.

Jude Bolton, who will take part in Thursday night's clash, also had a piece of the action.

The Swans champion rolled his arm over before putting on the pads to get a feel for the pace and bounce of the Maasai seamers.

Bolton was impressed by what he saw during the kick-to-kick between the Swans and Maasai.

Natural sportsmen, the Maasai took to kicking and handballing well but it was their marking ability which caught everyone's attention.

"They’ve got an incredible vertical leap,” Bolton added.

“One of the guys took a great grab at the end of our kick-to-kick, so he’d sit nicely there on a half-forward flank.”

Entry to Thursday’s Maasai Cricket Warriors v Sydney Swans Legends XI match at the SCG is a gold coin donation with every dollar raised from Swans supporters donated to the Club’s charity partner, Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

The match starts at 5pm.

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