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Tendulkar and Lara attend table cricket finals

Disabled youngsters representing 10 schools from across the UK battled it out at the Lord’s Taverners 2014 National Table Cricket Finals at Lord’s on Friday, with Victoria Education and Sports College crowned champions and both Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara in attendance.

For over 15 years the Lord’s Taverners National Table Cricket Competition has enabled over 8,000 young people with severe physical disabilities to enjoy cricket and represent their school on a competitive basis.

Surprise guests on the day included arguably two of cricket’s best players of all-time – the ‘Little Master’, Tendulkar, and the holder of the highest individual score in first-class cricket, Lara. 

Tendulkar and Lara were both in the nets preparing for the MCC versus Rest of the World match, which will be held at Lord’s on Saturday.

Sachin Tendulkar tries table cricket, one of the only accessible forms of cricket for young people with severe physical disabilities

Tendulkar was also on hand to give some advice to the table cricket players, and even managed to have a bat with The Mosslands School, Wallasey.

Held at the iconic Nursery Pavilion, Victoria Education and Sports College faced competition from over 80 disabled young people from around the country, with each school representing their respective region to challenge for the national title. 

The 10 schools competing at the Lord’s Taverners 2014 National Table Cricket Finals were The Mosslands School – Wallasey, Ralph Thoresby School – Leeds, Penn Hall School – Wolverhampton, The Venerable Bede Academy – Sunderland, Brookfield House School – London, Lonsdale School – Stevenage, Victoria Education and Sports College – Poole, Portland College – Mansfield , Angmering School – Littlehampton and South Gloucester – Bristol.

Tendulkar, who will play for MCC versus Rest of the World on Saturday, poses with the team from The Mosslands School, Wallasey

Table cricket is one the only accessible forms of cricket for young people with severe physical disabilities. Played on a table tennis table with side panels and sliding fielders, a ball launcher, weighted plastic ball and wooden bat, table cricket emulates running cricket in an environment where physically disabled youngsters can thrive.

Paul Downton, Managing Director of the ECB, said: “It’s great to see so many children at the Home of Cricket who are not normally given the opportunity to play at Lord’s. You can see that competition is just as fierce today in the Nursery Pavilion as it is out in the middle for able-bodied players, and congratulations to Victoria Education and Sports College for winning the Lord’s Taverners 2014 National Table Cricket Finals.”

Victoria Education and Sports College from Poole celebrate winning the Lord’s Taverners 2014 National Table Cricket Finals at Lord's

This year, over 500 young people from 82 schools took part in the Lord’s Taverners National Table Cricket Competition, which is supported by the ECB plus a number of trusts and foundations. After 10 regional heats at county cricket grounds and leisure centres across the country, the 10 finalists challenged for the national crown in the inspiring setting of Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Dan Cook, team captain of Victoria Education and Sports College, said: “It’s brilliant to win the Lord’s Taverners 2014 National Table Cricket Finals. We train every week and have worked really hard, progressing through qualifiers, regionals and now the finals here at Lord’s. It means so much to play at such an iconic venue and I would encourage anyone, no matter the severity of their disability to sign up to play next year.”