Cricket: Newham youngsters enjoy Super 1s finals
- Credit: Archant
Young cricketers from a disabled club in Newham had a day to remember after travelling to the Home of Cricket for the Lord’s Taverners Super 1s finals.
Teams from Newham, Bexley, Kingston, Hillingdon, Redbridge and Hackney battled it out at the finals at Lord's for the right to call themselves national champions, with Hillingdon retaining their title after topping the table.
The Super 1s programme gives young people with disabilities aged 12-25 the chance to play cricket regularly, as well as the opportunity to take part in a year-round competition structure, which culminated in the finals at cricket's most iconic venue.
One of the eight teams to qualify for the finals, Newham narrowly missed out on the Super 1s prize, but player Leanne Tansley loved every minute of her time at Lord's, the 21-year-old even getting the chance to meet Australian cricket legend Shane Warne, who presented the trophies.
"I love the competitive side of cricket and I love going to tournaments with my team," said Tansley, who won the event's Player of the Year award.
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"I love cricket for a number of reasons but mainly because it gives us such amazing opportunities.
"I love having a fun time with my team and is really has a positive impact on my everyday life."
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Launched in 2013, Super 1s was initially introduced in four London boroughs and is now delivered in all 32 as well as across multiple counties across the UK.
The programme is set to give thousands more youngsters the opportunity to play cricket thanks to a new four-year £800,000 partnership between the charity and the Berkeley Foundation.
By creating community cricket hubs, delivered weekly by the county cricket boards, the Super 1s programme gives disabled young people the chance to compete against their peers, enjoy the benefits of sport and live an active life.
The sessions are free to attend, fun, played with a softer ball and teach the basics of cricket.
For many young people with disabilities, opportunities to take part in regular competitive sport are limited, but Super 1s has created the ideal pathway for disabled young people to play the game.
For Super 1s Programme Manager Mark Bond, there is no better feeling than seeing the youngsters involved playing cricket with a smile on their face at the country's home of the sport.
"The competition aspect is vital for the young people involved in our programmes," said Bond,
"There's a lot of disability sport programmes that give you a chance to try it and have a go, but there's rarely a pathway for people to engage with it regularly.
"The incentive of playing cricket at Lord's is of course, pretty big which is really important for our students.
"Many of these young people have often been excluded from sport and were not given the tools to engage in sport at school so to be playing cricket at somewhere like Lord's is amazing.
"It proves to them that anything is possible, and their disability doesn't have to define what they can and can't do."
*The Lord's Taverners and the Berkeley Foundation have announced a new four-year £800,000 partnership to support the continued growth of the Super 1s Disability Cricket programme - allowing thousands of young people with disabilities the chance play regular cricket, enjoy the benefits of playing sport and empowering young people to realise what they can achieve, regardless of their disability. For more information visitwww.lordstaverners.org.