Year of disability cricket in Kent ends on a high

Thursday 20th December 2012

Year of disability cricket in Kent ends on a high

As 2012 draws to a close, disability cricket in Kent keeps rising, as developments in the grassroots game continue under the work of Kent Cricket Board.

The year ended on a high with Rob Comber, captain and coach of the Kent visually impaired county team, representing England at the Blind Cricket World Cup in India, only to be beaten by Pakistan in the semi finals. This international recognition puts the inclusive agenda of Kent Cricket Board firmly in the limelight, with additional impetus from the new heights Kent Women have reached under the leadership of Charlotte Edwards.

Appointed this year by Kent Cricket Board as part of a greater investment in disability cricket, Alex Farmer is now responsible for ensuring that cricket is more inclusive in all communities. A significant part of this plan is increasing opportunities for disability players in the county. The success of the Paralympic Games this summer raised the profile and awareness of disability sport, but much still needs to be done to break down barriers and provide access to opportunities.

Regular disability cricket sessions take place across the county for those with learning disabilities such as autism, ADHD and also visual impairments. Further initiatives will be introduced throughout Kent during 2013, with a new special educational needs school-based competition. This will provide children with the opportunity to play cricket in a competitive environment, and will seek to provide the cricket and sporting habit, whilst inspiring them to progress to represent Kent and England.

During 2012 there were many success stories including:

Orchard school were crowned winners of both primary and secondary Asda Kwik Cricket events in May, with over 150 children with learning disabilities taking part

Table Cricket took centre stage in June, with Valence School clinching the title ahead of other schools in a hard-fought event

Over 2,500 children with disabilities took part in the Chance to Shine programme in schools

Ridge View school in Tonbridge were named as Chance to Shine ‘School of the Year’ in September, beating off competition from schools around the UK (watch the video here –

The disability programme also stretches beyond working with schools. Cricket is now provided to a network of disability organisations across the county, such as MCCH and Mencap, primarily ensuring adults with varying disabilities have access to sporting opportunities. This year MCCH’s adult learning disabilities cricket team in Bexley has competed across the country, winning a competition held at Lord's, and travelling as far as Leicestershire for matches.

It is this far reaching appeal which sees the Kent Cricket Board continuing the drive to push the boundaries, to ensure the game can be enjoyed by all, and has seen cricket used as a catalyst to help children with disabilities develop key personal, social and life skills. Cricket provides enjoyment on an individual and team basis for all that play the game, and this enjoyment is not restricted to the few.

At the same time Rob Comber was bowling for England against Pakistan in the semi-final of the Blind Cricket World Cup, somewhere in Kent there was a child playing cricket who will go on to represent England disability teams as part of a future generation.

If there is a child or adult within your family or network of friends who would like the opportunity to play disability cricket, please contact Alex Farmer via for more information about cricket taking place in your area.

Kent Cricket Board are also keen to hear from volunteers who are interested in assisting coaching or management of activities, and also businesses in Kent who would like to support disability cricket as part of their community programmes.