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Minister backs disability proposal

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Ben Bradshaw, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has paid a visit to the Devon Cricket Board’s open day to help disabled cricketer Perry Sprung in his attempt to set up a team in the county.

Sprung’s plan is being backed by the Devon Cricket Board, with an open day taking place to attract players at the newly-opened and prestigious indoor cricket centre at the University of Exeter.

Cabinet member Mr Bradshaw, who also serves as Exeter’s MP, was present at the open day and spoke to players and coaches intending to get the team up and running in summer 2010.

Jim Wood, chairman of the Devon Cricket Board, said: “We had a good day and it was a pleasure to welcome Mr Bradshaw and share our vision with him.

“We hope to widen the opportunities for people to play cricket as their sport of choice by starting a county team.”

Sprung has taken on the post of Devon disability cricket manager and promises a warm welcome for players with any disability, including those who use wheelchairs, to join the team.

“I have put the word out to organisations who deal with serviceman coming back from Afghanistan who have been injured over there and expect we may pick up some players that way,” he said.

Disability cricket’s popularity has soared thanks to increased investment in the past three years, with participation up 139% last year and 66% this.

Indeed, the national disabilities side, led by Ian Martin and captained by Gavin Randall, are currently in Australia competing in a Tri-nations one-day tournament also including South Africa.

Anyone interested in finding out about disabled cricket can contact Perry Sprung on 07800 585835, or by emailing perry.sprung@devoncricket.co.uk.

Ben Bradshaw

Ben Bradshaw, centre, was a welcome visitor of the Devon Cricket Board at Exeter University