A Melbourne cricket club has made a stand in support of the LGBTI movement at a community event.

Donnybrook Cricket Club held its inaugural Inclusion Cup last month, celebrating diversity in sport and promoting the club’s inclusiveness.

The timing of the event was prompted by the postal survey on marriage equality, with the club wanting to show support and encourage the community to engage with issues LGBTI people face.

President Noel Seipolt, with support from university students Warren Zhou and Arun Sharma, recently pledged to promote the club as a welcoming environment for all people.

“For many years we’ve been very popular and engaged many members of the community. But this year we felt like we should really make a stand for something we all believe in,” said Seipolt.

The day featured two T20 matches between Donnybrook Cricket Club members and university students.

The captain from the student team, Luke Balia, said the day was a massive success.

“It is often the case that some sporting clubs get a bad reputation for not respecting differences, and I think that we all need to work together to break down these barriers so that everyone can feel like they are included,” said Balia.

Event coordinators Zhou and Sharma said they branded the event with rainbow colours, from armbands to flags and stickers, but were surprised when many of the participants did not know the symbolism behind the flag.

“Some remarked on how the colours looked beautiful, but did not realise that it was the icon for gay pride,” they said.

The club had felt that cricket was not showing enough leadership in supporting the LGBTI community.

“We are looking to get a junior’s team up and running this year or next. We want to send the right message out to youngsters, make them feel comfortable at the club and see it as a place where they don’t need to hide anything”, said Seipolt.

Donnybrook Cricket Club hopes to make the Inclusion Cup an annual event and is appealing to the community for ongoing support.

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