Published: 25th April, 2014
The Kia Oval broke historic new ground yesterday (April 24th) as it staged a tri-series between the Physical and Learning Disability teams from Surrey, Essex and Hampshire.
The three match tournament – won by Surrey – was the first time that senior disabled cricketers had ever played competitively at a first-class ground.
Elsewhere, the day saw Surrey invite 30 schools for children with Special Educational Needs, who had the opportunity to train on another area of the outfield and the use ever popular ECB Cricket Factory.
Watch Surrey TV’s video on the day above
For pupils with severe difficulties, the was the opportunity to play Table Cricket in the Ken Barrington Cricket Centre, a table top based game that opens up the sport to all, regardless of age or ability.
The Surrey coach, Danny Baker, saw his victorious side watched by Surrey CCC Head Coach Graham Ford and said: “The best thing about today was that the players are here on merit and playing some really good cricket. We’ve been working hard as a squad but that’s just a start.
Surrey Head Coach Graham Ford (centre) with Surrey coaches Danny Baker (L) and Mark Allen (R)
“One of the young lads from the squad was in tears when he arrived this morning because he’s spent his life watching Kevin Pietersen playing for Surrey and all the great players playing International cricket. For someone like him to come play here, in front of an audience, is what dreams are made of.
“This is how it should be. We should be focusing on the ability of our young people and celebrating their talent as well showing other people that they can do this and if they want to get involved there is a platform and a pathway.
“Surrey are leading the way in showing people the correct pathway. Long may that continue.”
Watch a timelapse of Disability Day unfolding
One of the Essex players was Chris Foster, who had a leg amputated at the age of nine to stop the spread of bone cancer. Despite this obvious difficulty, Foster is still a fast bowler and big hitting batsman, giving his coach the dream player, who can contribute in all areas of the game!
“I said to the lads before we arrived, ‘not many people get to do this’”, was Foster’s simple take on what was an inspirational day for all concerned.
Essex player Chris Foster (right)
The organiser was Surrey Cricket Development Officer Stuart Cope, who told the Weekender of his pride at the cricketers participating in the day.
“I think people that came to the ground were surprised at the level of performance on show,” he said. “Our players train extremely hard all year round and this is a great reward for them. I think all the players really soaked it in and came away from the day with some great memories.
“We also had 300 children from various schools who all enjoyed a number of different activities. It’s a good cricketing experience for SEN children – as well as a lovely day out at a world class venue.”
If you want to get involved with disability cricket in Surrey and south London, contact Stuart Cope on email@example.com or visit surreycricketboard.org.