Following an injection of funding into disability cricket across England, there is serious excitement from participants and organisers going into the summer.
On 29 April, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and charity the Lord’s Taverners, announced a £2 million investment which will make the already-successful Super 1s initiative available in every county.
Since 2018, the Super 1s program has delivered weekly cricket sessions to disabled young people aged between 12-25. During the numerous lockdowns we lived through in the last year, the ECB continued to support those involved through online sessions.
Rohan Randhawa is the disability development manager and community talent lead at the Yorkshire Cricket Board. He told Sheffield Wire: “It’s the best thing that could ever happen for disability cricket. For us, it’s absolutely brilliant. It cements disability cricket for the next four to five years at least.”
The key element of Super 1s is that it is a place available for participants to socialise outside of school hours, and offers provision for cricket which local clubs may not be able to accommodate.
There are eight Super 1s HUBs in Yorkshire, including Sheffield Sixes, Barnsley Griffins, Huddersfield Hounders and Rotherham Rockets. At the moment, only four (including Barnsley) are up and running, but Sheffield’s location for disability cricket in Norfolk Park should be open by the beginning of next month.
Now the HUBs across the county are starting to open again, Rohan, the participants and their parents are delighted.
“I love seeing the smiles on young people’s faces when they’re actually doing the activity in person. You just can’t get that through zoom or a computer,” Rohan said.
“It’s all laughs, smiles, everybody having an amazing time and high fiving. It’s crazy how something like a weekly session where they can see their friends can impact their whole lives. We’ve seen it happen and it continue to improve these young people’s lives going forward.”
As well as Super 1s, the £2 million investment from the ECB and Lord’s Taverners will help to fund table cricket.
Table cricket is currently played by over 8,800 young people across England in 357 schools and allows those with more limiting disabilities to participate.
The different Super 1s HUBs come together during competition days throughout the summer, whereby young disabled people get the chance to meet fellow cricketers from across the county.
One of those young people is Kian, who plays cricket in York. His story exemplifies the work that the Yorkshire Cricket Board undertake.
Competitions between the eight Yorkshire HUBs are planned for the end of June and throughout August.
If you or someone you know is interested in getting involved in disability cricket in Yorkshire, email firstname.lastname@example.org.