Inclusion match a great success again in 2022

Somerset’s recent LV= Insurance County Championship match against Surrey at the Cooper Associates County Ground was designated as our annual Inclusion Match.

The event is run every year in conjunction with the Somerset Cricket Foundation and is designed to recognize the achievements of those with a disability or additional needs playing cricket in the county.

It also highlights the roles played by parents, carers and coaches in supporting the players.

Demonstrations were held on the outfield at lunch on the first three days, and particularly interested spectator was Somerset CCC Director of Cricket, Andy Hurry, who took the time to meet all the players and watch the demonstrations on the three days.

On Sunday, the spotlight was on Super 1s, a programme funded by the Lord’s Taverners, which gives young people with a disability aged between 12 and 25 the chance to play regular, competitive cricket.

By creating community hubs where players can receive coaching, participants get the chance to compete against their peers and enjoy the benefits of playing sport. Across the county, Somerset Cricket Foundation run seven Super 1s hubs in Bath, Bristol, Bridgwater, Street, Taunton, Weston Super Mare and Yeovil. Sessions are free to attend and run every week.

Also involved in Sunday’s demonstration were young people from Somerset’s three Street Cricket hubs, funded through the charity Chance 2 Shine. They are for children aged between nine and 11 and take place in Bridgwater, Yeovil and Weston Super Mare. The majority of Street Cricket participants do not belong to a traditional cricket club. Recently, a number travelled to Gloucestershire to take part in a regional Street Cricket competition and for many this was their first taste of competitive cricket.

During lunch on day two the demonstration featured Somerset Disabled Cricket Club and Walking Cricket.

Somerset Disabled CC compete in the ECB National Disability County Cricket Championships in the Super 9s South West Division, along with four other counties. They play home games at Taunton Deane Cricket Club and matches are contested with an incrediball, softer than a cricket ball with a hard foam centre. Somerset Disabled CC have two other teams in addition to their first team – a development team and a Dragons Team. These teams are new this year and have been created due to the number of new players joining.

Walking Cricket was developed to make cricket more accessible to older adults, or individuals who are semi – retired or retired. Walking Cricket is an adaptation of the traditional game of Cricket to suit those with less mobility and caters for different abilities. There is no running allowed and it is played with a softer ball.

In every session the group gets opportunities to score, umpire and play, so each individual learns new skills, keeping both their mind and bodies active.  The game is usually played indoors in a sports centre, where runs, (or walks) are scored by hitting different walls.

Walking Cricket sessions are popping up all across Somerset, with a regular session in Taunton and new sessions starting in Minehead, Yeovil and Weston Super Mare.  The future for this project is exciting, with plans for organising countywide walking cricket festivals/fixtures.

Day three’s demonstration featured Somerset Visually Impaired Cricket Club and Community Groups and Schools.

The Somerset Visually Impaired Cricket Club was officially formed in 2011, after a successful trial through 2010 ensured that there were enough players interested to create the team. The team compete in the Blind Cricket England and Wales National league where they play other teams such as Northants, Sussex, and London Metro.

The main difference between standard cricket and Blind Cricket is the ball. A size three football is used in UK Blind Cricket to help the partially sighted players to see it and it is filled with a quantity of ball bearings to allow the totally blind players to hear it.

Over the past 12 months, Somerset Cricket Foundation have been working with schools and community groups to raise the profile of cricket and showcasing it as an inclusive activity.

Steve Gass, Community Programmes Manager for Somerset Cricket Foundation, said: “We like to showcase our various programmes and Somerset County Cricket Club provide the ideal platform.

“It has been great to have Director of Cricket Andy Hurry, offering his encouragement and support to the participants.

“These demonstrations inspire everyone involved and we thank Somerset CCC for sprinkling the stardust.”

The Somerset Cricket Foundation exists to support, grow and diversify grassroots cricket as well as to use the power of cricket to develop communities and make a positive difference to people’s lives.

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01/07/2022 18:15 - Lord's