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Blind students enjoy treat

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Paul Nixon

Paul Nixon (left) gets involved at Grace Road's indoor centre

Leicestershire’s cricketers were left kicking their heels in frustration as rain washed out the first day's play of the LV County Championship match against Essex on Wednesday, but that enabled them to make it a special day out for a group of blind and visually impaired students.

Nobody was more frustrated than experienced wicket-keeper Paul Nixon, who was due to make the 300th appearance of his first class career, but he was one who led the players in some cricketing activities with the special guests in the indoor cricket school.

While Nixon passed on some coaching tips to the enthusiastic cricketers, some of his colleagues engaged in a match and tried their luck at playing cricket blindfolded to fully appreciate the challenge that playing the game presents for those blind visually impaired.

Robert Shade, from the Loughborough-based Royal National Institute for the Blind College, said: "Although there was no cricket played because of the weather, that made it an extra special day for the students because they got to meet many of the players and had the chance to play a game against them.

"Paul Nixon has been a close associate of the college for many years now and his enthusiasm for helping the students has been fantastic.

"This could quite easily have been a day when he was preparing to make his Test debut, and yet it's a measure of what a tremendous bloke he is that he was prepared to give up his time to help these lads."

He added: "We now a qualified cricket coach within our group and we have regular sessions at a sports hall in Loughborough, so this opportunity can only help to raise their interest."

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