Disabilities showcase at Bath

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The England Learning Difficulties team will take on a team of Physically Disabled players in a Twenty20 match at Bath CC as a curtain-raiser to the NatWest Women’s International Twenty20 between England and New Zealand on Sunday August 12.

"This is another sign of the growing co-operation between all areas of cricket,” said ECB’s Executive Director for Women's Cricket, Gill McConway.

“The Women's international is expected to attract large crowds to Bath and represents a perfect opportunity to raise the profile of international disabilities cricket at the same time."

The England Learning Difficulties team are fresh from their recent Tri-Nations tournament against Australia and South Africa in June and are looking to build on the improvement in their performance during that series.

Coaches Bobby Denning and Ian Powell believe the quality of the team has come on leaps and bounds since the first Tri-Nations in South Africa in 2005.

“This match is the start of the preparation for the 2009 Tri-Nations in Australia,” said Powell. “A number of very talented young cricketers have been identified and we are confident that the England team will be successful in two years’ time.”

The Learning Difficulty players are selected from those playing in the ECB County Championship which includes 13 County sides involving both Learning and Physical Disabilities. The Physically Disabled squad is selected from the same championship series.

Although no other cricketing nation has an officially recognised team of players with Physical Disabilities, progress is being made in introducing the game to other nations with the objective of creating the potential for international Test matches.

A development team of ECB coaches recently travelled to the Caribbean to instruct the West Indies Cricket Board Coaches on working with disabled players and an inter-regional series is now planned in Trinidad and Tobago with the aim of spreading the game across the other islands.

Further development visits are on the cards for South Africa and also Australia, where Cricket Australia have now appointed a manager with responsibility for the development of the disabled game. ECB appointed their first Disability Development Manager in 1998!

The Twenty20 match at Bath CC starts at 11.30am and a feast of cricketing action is promised.

The England Squads are:-

Learning Difficulties:

James Dickens – Somerset (capt)
Dan West - Hampshire
Lee Jay - Hampshire
John Taylor - Yorkshire
Doug Randall - Isle of Wight
Ian Crumplin - Wales
Jonny Simpson - Lancashire
Bilal Ali - London Community Cricket Association (LCCA)
Peter Brown - Isle of Wight
Ronnie Abbot – Cheshire
Gavin Randall – Hampshire
Amar Khan – LCCA

Physical Disabilities:

Shaun Rigby - Shropshire
Steve Dancer – Wales
Hayden Coventry – Yorkshire
Graham Sprack - Isle of Wight
Wayne Dunn - Isle of Wight
Keiron Couzens – Somerset
Andy Whitaker – Lancashire
Jamie Legg – Hampshire
Richard Hill – Hertfordshire
Chris Foster – Hertfordshire
John Wallace - Hampshire.

ECB are supporting this match and have been heavily involved in developing the game for all forms of Disability since 1998.

The players are also grateful to Surridge and Admiral for their support in providing kit and equipment for the match.