Planting the seeds
Posted in Disability Cricket
What a hectic summer it has been. First of all, my congratulations to Andrew Strauss, Andy Flower, players and support staff involved with the rise to world number one Test playing nation.
The roots of this rise to number one must also fill the likes of Duncan Fletcher (somewhat paradoxically), Nasser Hussain, Michael Vaughan and Peter Moores with immense pride. For me, the foundation of this success can be traced back to the shift in performance culture created through the 'noughties'. For all involved in cricket across the country - a proud moment.
Much has happened since my last update on the Physical Disability cricket front. We had a highly successful weekend at Malvern College which opened the eyes of many PD cricketers of the standards required to gain a place in our High Performance Squad.
Following that weekend we added six more players to the squad – Callum Flynn, Hugo Hammond, Alex Hammond, Gareth Walton, Dan Reynaldo and Sam Wyles. We now have a talented squad of 21 players all vying for future international cricket.
Our match against The Army XI last month at Bourneville Cricket Club in Birmingham was a magnificent advert for disability cricket. In previous years this annual fixture was played by the British Association for Cricketers with Disabilities (BACD) XI. We’ve now taken it on as the High Performance squad for the ECB.
What a day it was. During our pre-match preparations Jonathan Trott and Chris Tremlett dropped by to lend their support and encouragement. In addition, we were fortunate to have ECB Chief Executive David Collier and Mike Gatting along to watch much of the action.
In terms of the scores it could not have got much closer. Batting first we posted 266 for eight in our 40 overs. A magnificent debut from opener Callum Flynn (79 from 94 balls) laid the foundation with able support from fellow opener Gordon Laidlaw (25 from 34) and Dan Holder (23 off 19). This created a great platform for the hard-hitting Matt Partington (62 off 30 balls) and captain Jimmy Williams (28 off 23 balls) to accelerate the innings in the final ten overs.
Taking the new ball Williams and Holder kept it tight with wickets falling at regular intervals. A magnificent piece of fielding to pick up and throw down one stump by Holder really set our fielding performance on its way.
The introduction of left arm spinner Fred Bridges (2-35 from eight overs) added further pressure to the scoring rate. At 119 for six with only 18 overs to go victory was in sight. Alas, it's a funny old game and the Army XI’s number eight, Stuart Tognarelli, had other ideas, smashing seven sixes and six fours in an unbeaten 95 off just 44 balls.
However, wickets continued to tumble and at 211 for nine the game was on edge. It came down to three runs needed when Partington found the outside edge and wicketkeeper Liam Thomas delightfully held on to secure an amazing victory.