In the week leading up to the cricket season, a unique form of the game was brought to the table by schoolchildren at Old Trafford.
The Cricket Centre staged the The Macquarie North West Disabled Table Cricket Event which saw six schools play it out to be honoured as North West champions.
Disabled table cricket is proving to be big on the national scene, with the winners of the regional competitions going onto the nationwide finals at Lord’s.
Table cricket was founded in 1989 and introduced to give youngsters with a physical or learning disability the chance to compete in cricket.
As with any form of cricket, there is a bowler, a batsman and fielders playing, as well as an umpire who oversees the indoor tournaments throughout the country.
As a result, the youngsters partaking are provided with the opportunity to improve social integration, while at the same time developing their cognitive skills, hand-eye coordination, special awareness and physical well-being.
The winners on the day were Oakfield High School & College Table Cricket Team who will now represent the North West in the national finals at Lord’s on Friday 17th June.
Oakfield High and all of the other competitors were able to meet the Lancashire first team squad who popped in to take in the games following a hard session in the nets.
Martin Mansell, the National Table Cricket Competition Manager, has praised the level of competition at this year’s event.
“This is a great event;” Mansell said. “The North West regionals are nice when you come to Old Trafford; we have got lots of support here from Old Trafford and Lancashire cricket.
“The schools here are great; there has been some really good competition this year which is another bonus for the event.”
Mansell explains just how beneficial this event is for the youngsters with differing needs and their development in everyday life.
He continued by saying: “It allows the children first and foremost to take part in a team event; most students with disabilities in sport tend to do individual sports.
“Secondly, it helps them to develop physical well-being, hand-eye coordination, their mental ability to understand team sport and recreational opportunity, and also take part in competition as well.
“Overall, it has been a good competition today and it will be good for the winning team going onto the national competition on June at Lord’s.”
Photograph on the home page is of Oakfield High School & College Table Cricket Team in action at the Cricket Centre.