Cricket: Redbridge youngsters enjoy Super 1s finals
PUBLISHED: 12:45 08 November 2019
Young cricketers from a disabled club in Redbridge had a day to remember after travelling to the Home of Cricket for the Lord’s Taverners Super 1s finals.
Teams from Newham, Bexley, Kingston, Hillingdon, Redbridge and Hackney battled it out at the finals at Lord's for the right to call themselves national champions, with Hillingdon retaining their title after topping the table.
The Super 1s programme gives young people with disabilities aged 12-25 the chance to play cricket regularly, as well as the opportunity to take part in a year-round competition structure, which culminated in the finals at cricket's most iconic venue.
One of the eight teams to qualify for the finals, Redbridge narrowly missed out on the Super 1s prize, but seeing the look on his players' faces when they got to meet trophy presenter and Australian cricket legend Shane Warne will be a moment programme organiser Martin Owers will never forget.
"We only set up the Redbridge hub two years ago so getting the opportunity to play at Lord's is amazing for the young people involved on our programme," said Owers. "They haven't stopped talking about it since we started school in September. Every day I've been asked when we're going to Lord's! To bring our students to the home of cricket is brilliant.
"Aside from learning how to play cricket, the social development young people gain from the programme is incredible. They make friends with each other and build such a community spirit.
"They get that level of inclusion and access that sometimes isn't provided by other sports."
Launched in 2013, Super 1s was initially introduced in four London boroughs and is now delivered in all 32 as well as across multiple counties across the UK.
The programme is set to give thousands more youngsters the opportunity to play cricket thanks to a new four-year £800,000 partnership between the charity and the Berkeley Foundation.
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By creating community cricket hubs, delivered weekly by the county cricket boards, the Super 1s programme gives disabled young people the chance to compete against their peers, enjoy the benefits of sport and live an active life.
The sessions are free to attend, fun, played with a softer ball and teach the basics of cricket.
For many young people with disabilities, opportunities to take part in regular competitive sport are limited, but Super 1s has created the ideal pathway for disabled young people to play the game.
For Super 1s Programme Manager Mark Bond, there is no better feeling than seeing the youngsters involved playing cricket with a smile on their face at the country's home of the sport.
"The competition aspect is vital for the young people involved in our programmes," said Bond,
"There's a lot of disability sport programmes that give you a chance to try it and have a go, but there's rarely a pathway for people to engage with it regularly.
"The incentive of playing cricket at Lord's is of course, pretty big which is really important for our students.
"Many of these young people have often been excluded from sport and were not given the tools to engage in sport at school so to be playing cricket at somewhere like Lord's is amazing.
"It proves to them that anything is possible, and their disability doesn't have to define what they can and can't do."
*The Lord's Taverners and the Berkeley Foundation have announced a new four-year £800,000 partnership to support the continued growth of the Super 1s Disability Cricket programme - allowing thousands of young people with disabilities the chance play regular cricket, enjoy the benefits of playing sport and empowering young people to realise what they can achieve, regardless of their disability. For more information visit www.lordstaverners.org.
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