Bradley Stoke Community School had a memorable day last week as they traveled to Lords to compete in the Lord’s Taverners National Cricket Final and met England wicketkeeper Ben Foakes. writes Alec McQuarrie.
The Bristol-based school team were one of ten teams to compete at Lord’s Cricket Ground, for the right to call themselves national champions.
The Lord’s Taverners exists to positively impact the lives of young people facing the challenges of inequality.
The charity works across the UK and beyond to provide inclusive and impactful cricket programmes, enabling young people with disabilities and from disadvantaged communities to develop the knowledge, skills, abilities and confidence to overcome the challenges of inequality, raise their aspirations and reach their potential. .
Student Owen Jones, 16, said he was passionate about playing a sport that is fully inclusive and open to all.
He said: “I really like table cricket because it’s so inclusive and even in a small team everyone loves each other and there’s no hatred against each other. .
“You just have to get along and get involved, the relationship with my teammates is extremely close and we all know each other.
“I’ve been playing for the team for five years, but some members of the team have only been involved for a year, and we’ve always become extremely close, which is great.”
More than 100 schools and 1,000 young people with disabilities took part in the departmental and regional qualifiers to reserve their place for the day of the final of the competition, which is now in its 22nd year, made possible thanks to the support of Ford, actors of the postcode popular Lottery and the England & Wales Cricket Board.
An adapted form of cricket played on a table tennis table, table cricket takes all aspects of traditional cricket, providing a more inclusive and accessible form that allows young people with a wide range of disabilities to participate, meet new friends and having fun.
The game not only promotes teamwork and sportsmanship in a pleasant environment, it also improves life skills such as self-confidence, independence and social integration.
And Jones admitted he learned a wide range of new skills.
He added: “It’s good to play against people from across the country because we all play differently and we all act differently.
“It’s extraordinary, and it’s beautiful.
“It’s amazing to be able to show how good I am and even that there are things I can’t do.
“I will improve over time and see how it takes me.”
Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, along with Sussex and Southern Vipers captain Georgia Adams, watched at Lord’s.
And Foakes was thrilled to see the sport bring together so many people.
“I think, especially after what’s happened with COVID-19, it’s just a great opportunity to come together,” Foakes said, speaking at the Lord’s Taverners National Cricket Final where he looked at nearly 70 young people with disabilities from 10 schools. across the country represent their schools competing for the title of National Table Cricket Champions 2022.
“I think some of these guys have probably been hit the hardest in this isolation and during this lockdown period.
“So I just think it’s great, everybody can go out and enjoy it and enjoy that team aspect of the sport that cricket offers.
“It’s been fantastic to see him, and I think it’s getting better and better.
“It was just awesome.”
The Lord’s Taverners impacts the lives of young people facing the challenges of inequality. The charity works across the UK and beyond to provide inclusive and impactful cricket programmes, empowering young people with disabilities and from disadvantaged communities – visit www.lordstaverners.org