Sussex stars show cricket really IS for all

Visitors enjoy the fun and the sun at Sussex Cricket HQ
Visitors enjoy the fun and the sun at Sussex Cricket HQ

The 1st Central County Ground was bathed in glorious sunshine for Sussex Cricket’s ninth annual disability inclusion day.

Some 28 different organisations including schools, colleges, day centres and community organisations brought more than 400 people from across Sussex to take part in the event.

A highly motivated team of ten Sussex Cricket coaches, seven county Disability Squad players and 50 business and community volunteers provided a hugely enjoyable experience for all the participants.

The majority of the volunteers came from a variety of Sussex businesses including 1st Central, Focus Group, Mazars, Mishon Mackay, Handelsbanken, Irwin Mitchell and Yes Promo Products.

In addition, the event was supported by 60 young sports leaders from Worthing High School, Ifield Community College, Downlands School, Durrington High School and Blatchington Mill School.

On arrival the participants were greeted by the young sports leaders and escorted around the outfield visiting different activity zones to practice different cricketing skills. Old favourites including the Sussex Cricket Foundation inflatables and Sid the Shark’s Big Hit Challenge proved as popular as ever.

This year visitors also had the option to just play matches covering three different formats of the game - Lord Taverner’s Table Cricket, Blind Cricket and Kwik Cricket.

Sussex Cricket’s mascot, Sid the Shark, was on hand for numerous photo opportunities and proved as popular as ever, as did current Sussex squad members Delray Rawlins, Tom Haines, Stuart Whittingham and Laurie Evans and recently retired Lewis Hatchett who all joined in the fun.

There was a real buzz around the outfield for the entire day, which generated excellent feedback from visitors and volunteers. Matt Swanson, Deputy Manager of Aldingbourne Country Centre, said: “We just wanted to say thanks for a fantastic day on Friday. Everyone really enjoyed themselves – lots of positive comments on the way home!

“It was great to meet both old and new friends in a wonderful sporting setting and get a feel for the match day experience of top cricketers.

“Our team really found it useful to get active and healthy - working on their cricket skills, especially as we have a tournament coming up in a few weeks!”

Terry Keegan from Irwin Mitchell LLP, who volunteered on the day, added: “I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for inviting me to volunteer at #DIScoverABILITY Day.

“Although I felt tired and a bit burnt afterwards I have to say I had a fantastic and uplifting day, I think it’s a really positive and great idea. I’ll be signing up for next year.”

Reflecting on the day, Rob Andrew, Chief Executive of Sussex Cricket said: “As one of our flagship community events here at The 1st Central County Ground, it is great to see #DIScoverABILITY Day continuing to grow year on year.

“As ever, we are indebted to the hard work put in by the unique team of volunteers, our community coaches and our County Disability players for the ensuring the ongoing popularity of the event.”