Cricket is a tool to change lives for the better and Sam Alderson is the embodiment of it.

By Steve Morgan

It’s every parent’s dream to see their child excel; that warm glow of pride is something you can’t put a price on. As she watches her son Sam, marshal his Bexley troops in the Super 1s Finals at Lord’s – a ball of positive, good-natured energy – Heather Alderson can remember a time when days like today seemed like pure fantasy.

The heartache of being told nine-week old Sam would probably never walk or talk after experiencing a brain haemorrhage was tough enough. Next came the challenge of assessing how to cope with a second son born with TAR syndrome, a rare genetic condition characterised by absent radius bones in the forearms.

Fast forward 27 years… Sam is far too busy helping others with their cricket to worry much about himself. Now qualified as a level 2 coach, his athleticism is little short of astonishing given his supposed limitations. Watching him in action makes a mockery of physical issues that might otherwise appear prohibitive to playing cricket, along with the 100-plus players present at finals day.

It certainly wasn’t something he gave that much thought to when he re-encountered the game in 2016, after pretty much giving up on it at school. “I had a little go at it – and I was interested – but they didn’t really have the right-sized bat for me, my wheelchair got in the way – and I just thought ‘no, I can’t do it’ and moved on to something else,” he remembers.

Re-encountering cricket through the Super 1s Bexley hub in 2016 changed that. Cricket now held intrigue; a challenge that revealed layers of mystery and magic. “From not knowing how to play – or whether I could play – to playing, and now going into coaching has been amazing,” Sam says. “I can’t thank the Taverners enough for their support, and giving me the opportunity to coach. People see what I’ve done, and what I’m doing and think: ‘if he can do it, I can do it’.”

His mum Heather sums Sam up nicely: “He always wakes up with a smile on his face. I knew he would probably do something – but I didn’t think it would be life-changing.”

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