The Lord’s Taverners Disability Cricket Championships Awards evening was held last night at the Kia Oval, celebrating the winners from a pool of over 640 disabled people across 18 London boroughs, specifically those aged 14-25 with a limiting disability.
Last year, the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity launched the Lord’s Taverners Disability Cricket Championships (LTDCC), engaging over 1,000 people with a disability by providing access to regular coaching and competition in local communities, with the intention to continue to do so for the next two years at least.
The charity delivers the programme in an innovative partnership with the County Cricket Boards of Essex, Kent, Middlesex and Surrey, with support from Interactive – the initiative to help achieve disability equality in sport.
The LTDCC is run in partnership with the Berkeley Foundation – the charity arm of the Berkeley Group. Funding from the foundation has enabled the expansion of the competition from five London boroughs to 18 in the last year, and ensured that an annual awards evening is hosted at the Kia Oval. The competition also benefits from the support of the Wembley National Stadium Trust and Sport England.
Four learning and physical disability teams from Greenwich, Hackney, Westminster and Richmond & Hounslow competed for the second LTDCC title at the Ken Barrington Centre, the Kia Oval on 14 September, and it was Hackney who won the championship for the first time after winning all three of their group games before defeating Westminster in the final by 28 runs.
Players from all four teams were presented with their medals by England Physical Disability (PD) cricket, Fred Bridges, who one week earlier had been named Man of the Match in England’s PD ICRC T20 final after a win against Pakistan.
As well as presenting 2015 champions, Hackney, with their trophy, there were five individual awards presented on the night. The winners were:
Player of the Year: Richard Barnes
Spirit of Cricket Award: Dara Afolabi
Most Improved Player: Arman Ali
Coach of the Year: Michael Wilson
Volunteer of the Year: Rhys Archer
Coach of the Year, Michael Wilson, said: “I can honestly say this is the proudest moment of my coaching career. Four of the six awards were presented to players I coach. I’m very proud to not only have worked with young people from all sorts of disadvantaged backgrounds and with a number of disabilities but also see players develop as individuals, some of which have gone on to play cricket at a county level.”
Rob Perrins, Chair of Berkeley Foundation, said: “Berkeley Foundation is very proud to have created this partnership with the Lord’s Taverners. The programme has shown that it can help transform young people’s lives in a positive way. Seeing the happiness on the young people’s faces is fantastic and this is what the programme is all about.”
Paul Robin, Chief Executive of the Lord’s Taverners stated: “It is wonderful to be able to recognise these young people who have demonstrated great talent in the LTDCC this year. We are delighted with the impact the LTDCC has had, engaging such a large amount of people, and with the success we have had, I hope the programme continues to grow and develop as quickly as it has so far.”