Disability Cricket Proves a Great Hit!

Banbury Cricket Club’s disability cricket programme proved a fantastic success throughout schools across Oxfordshire. The initiative came from Banbury’s Disability Officer, Luke Ryan, who used the idea as part of his university project. The scheme signalled the first regular disability cricket coaching in the county with funding provided by the Lottery distributor ‘Awards for All’. Disability cricket has grown in popularity in recent years and is something that was much needed in the county.

Eight schools across the county chose to enrol into the project with a team of qualified coaches providing regular training across a five-week programme. Sport’s Coordinator for Bardwell School in Bicester, Linda Harvey, wrote the following with regards to the coaching which Anthony Bullick suppplied: ‘All our pupils have really enjoyed the coaching Anthony has given them. He is excellent at encouraging them all. They are all having a great time and will be really sad when it comes to an end.’

The pinnacle of the programme was the ‘Disability Festival’ held at Banbury Cricket Club on June 5th. Schools Frankwise, Lord Williams (autistic centre), Bardwell, Mabel Prichard, Kingfisher, Fizwaryn and John Watson all took part in the festival with Iffley Mead School unable to attend. The tournament was non-competitive but each player received a certificate for taking part. The day proved a great success and was an enjoyable occasion for the children. A big thank you has to go to John Woodworth in his assistance with organising and conducting the tournament as well as the coaches who ran the training sessions and the festival. Those involved were Shabbaz Ali, Luke Ryan, Robin Lett, Anthony Bullick, Richard Brookes, Ed Smith and Mark Elliot.

There are plans to repeat the programme next year and it is hoped that this initial step will be a catalyst for more disability cricket programmes from other clubs throughout the county. The scheme’s success was helped by the advice of Jeff Levick who organises disability cricket in Hampshire and thanks must also go to Oxfordshire’s Cricket Development Officer Rupert Evans for his support of the project. ‘There is a limited amount of opportunity for disability pupils in Oxfordshire to participate in cricket. Therefore, Luke’s project has provided much needed opportunities for disability pupils within special schools. The programme has enabled pupils from special schools to get quality coaching from ECB qualified coaches, play matches at a club ground and also provide them with a pathway to join a local cricket club.’


Sam Ryan


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