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England Deaf face Twenty20 challenge

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Ecad Northern Universities

The teams get together after last year's matches at Seaton Carew

England Deaf Cricket Team (ECAD) will don their coloured cricket gear in aid of community relations when they take part in a three-way ‘Northern Rock Ram Cricket Twenty20 Challenge’ on Wednesday May 23 at Willington CC.

ECAD have been invited back to the north east by the Northern Universities SC-CC Elite to challenge both this unique university side and Durham Police.

NUSC-CC Elite sponsored by Northern Rock, represents the Elite club cricketers at 10 academic institutions spread all over the north east who work together to support the local community and charities - with their final match on July 1 a massive fundraising event for the Great North Air Ambulance appeal.

ECAD, coached by Ron Young, has developed arguably into England’s strongest disabilities side having reached the World Cup final last year.

Due to the publicity in the north east alone, three new players have joined NUSC and two players with disabilities have come forward so already the event is a success.

The three-match event with all the razzmatazz expected in Twenty20 is being held at Willington Cricket Club thanks to the hard work of Police player-coach Karl Brown. Karl, not only lobbied for the Police to join in these events as a way of engaging the force in a fun and positive way with the community but also at his club that they should host these unique events.

ECAD have this event at the core of their north east tour, taking in two days of training at the Riverside, a match on the Tuesday against Percy Main CC and then a farewell match against Burnmoore CC on the Thursday.

All three sides will meet at the Riverside on Monday when some of the NUSC-CC Elite coaching team have donated coaching masterclasses.

John D Holland, Director of Cricket (NUSC-CC Elite), commented: “Thanks to Northern Rock we are able to put on another unique cricketing showpiece event to help raise the profile of all three sides and hosts Willington CC.

“It is again a fantastic honour to be supporting ECAD preparation in particular with the upcoming Ashes series. No doubt, the Police team on paper are the one to beat but cricket can throw up surprises.

“My only hope is that everyone leaves the field having had a fantastic day, made new friends and learned a lot about each other’s cricketing programmes.”

Jeff Levick, manager of ECAD, commented: "2007 is an important year for the England Deaf Team. We are expecting to entertain the Australians for an Ashes series in 2008. This means we have a need to hone the skills and work on team game plans for existing squad members.

“It also means integrating new and younger players to refresh team
performance. The matches with Northern Universities and Durham Police gives us an ideal opportunity to achieve these aims."

Gates open at 10am, first ball is 11am (three matches in the day); all are welcome to come down, support the day and help make these community events a success both on and off the field.

For more information contact John D Holland, Director of Cricket NUSC-CC Elite on nusc-ccelite@o2.co.uk

For more information on disabilities cricket, contact Ron Young on ron.young@durhamccc.co.uk