Learning Disability edge win
Bath Cricket Club played host to a cricket match with a difference on Monday as an ECB Learning Disability team took on a Physically Disabled Select XI in a Twenty20 match.
The Learning Disability side edged a closely fought encounter by two runs in spite of Shaun Rigby’s innings of 58 not out which saw the Physically Disabled side run their opponents close.
The day was a real celebration of the diversity of cricket because in addition to hosting the first Twenty20 fixture between the England and New Zealand Women in the afternoon, Bath also hosted a Twenty20 fixture between
Both of the teams were made up of players who represent counties that play in the ECB's Disability County Championship and this was the first time that either side had played the Twenty20 form of the game.
Captain of the Physically Disabled side Graham Sprack (Isle of Wight) won the toss and elected to field. Things didn't start well for the Learning Disability side as they lost opener Doug Randall (Isle of Wight) bowled by Keiron Cozens (Somerset)for 0 in the first over.
But fellow opener Gavin Randall (Hampshire), held the innings together with a fine 43 which include some crashing straight drives.
The physically disabled side took regular wickets with Steve Dancer (Wales) being the pick of their bowlers with figures of four overs - one maiden - four for 10 that destroyed the middle order and included the vital wicket of Randall. Dancer was assisted by Wayne Dunne (IoW) who took 2 for 17 off three overs.
The Learning Disability eventually reached an innings total of 122 for 8 thanks to a wonderful cameo of an innings from Cheshire's Ronnie Abbott who scored 24 including four fours.
Each boundary was greeted by the sound of thumping music provided by the local radio station and the most memorable image of the day was of Abbott doing a jig in the middle of the wicket after smashing a boundary to the tune of "I Feel Good".
His dancing matched his batting and both were appreciated by the growing crowd that was gathering in anticipation of the women's fixture that was following.
In reply the Physically disabled XI lost opener Andy Whitaker (Lancashire) bowled by Peter Brown (IoW) for nought in the second over. Other wickets fell regularly with only Hayden Coventry (Yorkshire) and Cozens offering any support to Shropshire's Rigby who held the innings together.
Although the physically disabled always appeared slightly behind the run rate it was felt that they always had a chance whilst Rigby was at the crease.
Going into the last over they needed seven to win but fell three runs short with Rigby finishing on 58 not out off 51 balls and having carried his bat after opening the innings.
Rigby's innings included eight boundaries and he was warmly applauded as he left the pitch. The pick of the Learning Disability bowlers was Dan West of Hampshire who took two for 16 off his three overs.
While the game was fiercely contested by both sets of players the main aim of the day was to showcase disability cricket to a wider audience and both of the international women's teams and the crowd were very generous in their appreciation of the game and their support for disability cricket.
The game was played in brilliant sunshine on a fantastic ground and was thoroughly enjoyed by all involved and who attended.
ECB's Head of Development Peter Ackerley presented a man of the match award to each team with Shaun Rigby taking the award for the Physical Disability Side and Ronnie Abbott narrowly pipping Gavin Randall to the award for the Learning Disability side.
Our thanks go to Bath Cricket Club and Gill McConway at ECB for agreeing to stage the game and to Sitec who sponsored the playing kit for the Physically Disabled XI.
For further information please contact Ian Martin of the ECB's Disability Management Committee on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07894 584590.