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How’s that?! Disabled youngsters from across Norfolk compete in table cricket tournament

PUBLISHED: 19:01 28 January 2018 | UPDATED: 19:01 28 January 2018

Pupils from The Clare School's winning table cricket team, with volunteers from Lord's Taverners and organisers from Norfolk Cricket Board. Picture: Jacob Massey

Pupils from The Clare School's winning table cricket team, with volunteers from Lord's Taverners and organisers from Norfolk Cricket Board. Picture: Jacob Massey

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Disabled children from across Norfolk have batted it out in the regional heats of a national table cricket competition.

The sport was developed by professor Doug Williams at Nottingham Trent University and is designed to enable disabled people to have the opportunity of playing a form of cricket.

The game takes place on a table tennis table with side panels and runs are scored by hitting the ball against the panels using a miniature version of a cricket bat.

The fielding team uses a ramp to bowl and can prevent batters scoring runs by sliding fielders along the side panels.

Youth cricket and disability charity Lord’s Taverners has organised the competition annually since 2002, with the final played at Lord’s cricket ground. Teams from 10 schools across Norfolk competed in the regional heats at the Norman Centre in Norwich and The Clare School ran out as the victor.

Gary Towers, the Norfolk regional chairman of Lord’s Taverners, said the day was hugely enjoyable - for both him and the children.

He said: “It has been absolutely wonderful. The atmosphere was great and all the kids really got into it, and to be honest I did as well. That’s what it’s all about - having fun helping other people have fun.”

Organiser Les Rowland said the competition was improving each year.

He said: “We started out with just four teams and it has grown phenomenally since. It means it’s more difficult to organise, but that’s a great problem to have.”

Volunteer Tim Sheppard, former physio for Norwich City, said advancements in technology were helping the charity achieve their goal of enabling disabled young people to compete in sports.

He said: “When this charity was founded in 1950 there was virtually nothing in the way of sports provision for disabled people. Now disability equipment and technology is such that the vast majority of disabled people can compete in some form of sport.”

Coaches from Norfolk Cricket Board helped facilitate the competition, providing equipment and umpiring.

Kevin Denmark, cricket development officer, said: “It’s a great thing to be a part of. We learn a lot from doing it and it’s a good way of introducing kids from different schools and allowing them to interact.”

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