We are constantly being introduced to more and more ideas, from gadgets, accessible venues to activities.
Here our reviewer, Helen Martin shares her experiences of taking her daughter Holly, who is going through ongoing recovery from a traumatic brain injury, to accessible cricket.
Since her accident two years ago, Holly is relearning how to walk and talk and many other skills we took for granted before. Living where we do though, everything is always a bit of a drive away. Not a huge problem, if Holly agrees and wants a go we go!
Recently, a lady called Sue Leathly posted about Disability Cricket at Helston on facebook and it sparked an idea. It would combine a lot of the physio activities we are encouraging Holly to partake in and we decided it was worth a go. As a family we are always up for trying new things. I have to say never thought Cricket would be one of them!
It turns out I know Sue from working in primary schools, she was the Educational Psychologist for the Lizard when I first started working at Coverack School. She’s so warm and welcoming and introduced everyone at the start.
We used Holly’s Frame Runner for these sessions. It’s not designed for this, it’s a running frame for Para Runners but it means she can stand and walk and have her hands free for catching, throwing and batting.
For Holly to access these sessions we do a mix of group and 1:1 activities. She’s not strong enough or fast enough to play a full game but the bowlers will come in closer for her turn to bat, I help her field and often a runner is designated to score the runs.
Bowling is a little hit and miss, she still finds throwing a challenge, but it is achievable with help. I’ve often said that Holly needs to be inspired to get better and she can’t do that sitting at home all day. An opportunity to go and play a physical game with a mixed group of people is ideal for her ongoing recovery.
Sue is great at keeping the session moving for everyone involved which is no mean feat! The needs of all the players are diverse yet somehow she keeps everyone engaged, moving and having a go. Her background in education is very clear by the way she handles the
Because of the nature of the club the attendance fluctuates but this doesn’t matter to Sue. Her experience means she can tailor the session to the numbers and ability brilliantly. There is often another session running somewhere on the cricket field so it has been known for our group to be part of a few warm-ups for a team getting ready for a match or for a few players from elsewhere joining us for a bit of a game.
One session really sticks in my mind, a young lad called Tom joins the session. He is a regular and I gather he has been coming for a long time. Tom’s idea of a good game is to throw the ball as hard and high as he can, preferably over the wall into the neighbouring rugby pitch. Another reason why having nimble kids like George around is a real help to go and fetch these wayward balls.
Tom and Holly were the only players in attendance at this session. Sue let on afterwards she wasn’t sure it would work well because of Toms over-exuberance compared to Holly’s small, slow, careful moves. But low and behold Tom was amazing!! He curbed his enthusiasm to meet Holly’s needs, he showed a huge amount of empathy and compassion by taking time and care to throw the ball carefully for Holly to hit. Both of them gained a huge amount from this small group session. Tom demonstrated he had a whole range of skills Sue had not seen before and Holly had a really good, physical work-out batting, catching and throwing to Tom.
I don’t know Tom well but It was a great example of how raising expectations can be of a huge benefit. Sometimes we, as carers, need to push things to the next level. Not easy when you have concerns for the consequences and hard to manage in a big group but on that day Tom was pushed to do more. He’s always encouraged and coached to bowl the ball in the right direction or throw the ball to a team member but it isn’t always achieved…… normally accompanied with a huge cheeky smile on his face!
On this day the level of concentration was apparent by his facial expression. He tried so hard to keep the ball under control and aimed it with a precision rarely seen by him to Holly. I think it’s fair to say he blew us all away. Well done Tom! What a shining example you are to why these sessions are
important to all and a great demonstration that inclusion in sport is a must!
So in summary disability cricket, is it worth it? 100%, I wish the sessions ran all winter.
To quote Dreadlock Holiday- ‘I don’t like cricket! I love it!’ 🎶
If you’re interested in joining next season the sessions run on a Friday evening, mid-May to the end of August, from 5-6 at Helston Cricket club! You can follow Helen’s social media pages on Facebook : @AccessibleLizard and @ComeOnHollyPop