Indigenous star Ugle wins Premier Cricket award | Cricket Australia

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Indigenous star Ugle wins Premier Cricket award

April 18, 2018

Dane Ugle in action for WA at the National Indigenous Cricket Championships // Getty

By Dylan Carmody

A stellar year capped off with an historic Olly Cooley Medal at the WACA Premier League awards, Dane Ugle is now eyeing off the historic Indigenous tour of the United Kingdom to stake his claim for higher honours. 

It has been a remarkable rise for Dane Ugle.

For 10 years, the powerful all-rounder was plying his trade playing country cricket, before a chat with his father encouraged Ugle to move down to Rockingham-Mandurah, in the WACA Premier League.

A double century in the third grade outlined Ugle’s talent, and a first grade debut came soon after.

He was right at home in the 1st XI, and the 2015-16 season saw Ugle post 670 runs at 39.41, playing a major role in Rockingham-Mandurah’s premiership that year.

It was this incredible season that saw Ugle earn a community rookie development contract with the Perth Scorchers for the 2016-17 BBL season, something which he saw as a massive stepping stone.

“That was an awesome experience,” Ugle said.

“Being a part of the Scorchers was awesome for my own personal development, just having those sorts of guys around, having contact with JL (Justin Langer) and Swamp (Geoff Marsh) has been really big for me.

“I’ve definitely have come a long way, and I’m hoping that can continue.”

In an amazing season for the 30-year-old, Ugle made history in becoming the first Indigenous player to win the Olly Cooley Medal for the best male cricketer in the WACA Premier League, hitting 645 runs at 46.07 and nabbing 14 wickets at 25.14.

“It’s a huge honour (to be the first Indigenous cricketer to win the award)”, Ugle said.

“It’s something thats close to my heart, and something that I’ll cherish and remember for a long time.

“I was actually under the wheels of my car when I got the call to come down to the presentations, that I was a chance, so I raced down there.

“So yeah, good to get the call,” he laughed.

Now one of 13 cricketers selected to travel to the United Kingdom, Ugle is perhaps one of the lesser known members in a squad headlined by Australian representatives D’Arcy Short, Scott Boland and captain Dan Christian.

He sees it as an opportunity he's determined to make the most of on the field, and learn from others off it.

“We had an Indigenous camp last year, and being a part of that, the experience was second to none. The advice they have on the longer forms of the game is fantastic, and to be able to sit with those guys over a cup of coffee and just talk about cricket (is fantastic),” Ugle said.

“So to be able to get the chance to do so again, and tour the UK with these guys is something I’m really looking forward to.”

The tour will take place throughout June, and will commemorate 150 years since the 1868 Australian tour of the UK took place with Indigenous cricketers.

“The experience will be amazing,” Ugle said.

“Just experiencing different conditions, and hopefully putting the right foot forward for my own development.

“I really want to pursue cricket. I know that there is a lot of hard work ahead, and hopefully this is another stepping stone for that.”

The current touring party will see both male and female teams take to the field, with the male squad members each representing a member of the original 1868 team. Ugle will represent Bripumyarrimin (King Cole), who tragically passed away during the 1868 tour.

The tour will also include a visit to a temporary display at the MCC museum at Lord’s, which explores the history of the 1868 team.

The teams will pay their respects at the resting place of Bripumyarrimin in London, and a group of players will travel to Victoria’s West Wimmera region to meet with ancestors and visit key sites significant to the 1868 team.

The matches will be played at grounds around England, including a game against Surrey County Cricket Club at The Oval, where one of the marquee matches of the 1868 tour was played.

It is an experience that Ugle is looking forward to.

“I’m very keen for the experience, for the history of it all,” he said.

“The history of the 1868 tour, the history of the Oval.

“To be able to walk in the shoes of the 1868 guys, is something that is really important to me, and inspires me to want to pursue cricket a lot more.

“Hopefully what will come of it will be something that will inspire a lot of young Indigenous cricketers to want to play the game, and get into it.”

While Ugle has one eye on the upcoming tour of the United Kingdom, he is also eyeing off higher honours come the 2018-19 season, looking at a potential Shield or BBL debut in the coming years.

“Obviously the pinnacle is Shield cricket. But to get a chance to be a part of the BBL would be amazing,” he said.

“It sort of is a goal of mine, to be a part of a franchise, and to play BBL cricket would be a dream come true.

“But Shield cricket would be the pinnacle for me, and to get a baggy black cap would top it all off.”