KINGSTON are the pride of London after coming out on top of eight boroughs as more than 80 youngsters took part in the Lord’s Taverners Disability Cricket Championships (LTDCC), beating Westminster in the final by 33 runs.
The LTDCC is a year-round cricket programme for 14-25-year-olds with a limiting disability, and has expanded into five new boroughs thanks to the support of the Berkeley Foundation, established and supported by the Berkeley Group.
As well as Kingston and Westminster, teams from Bexley, Hackney, Harrow, Newham, Richmond and Wandsworth also took part at the MCC Academy at Lord’s.
With additional funding from the Wembley National Stadium Trust, Sport England and players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, LTDCC provides access to coaching and competition in local communities across London.
The programme helps participants to develop physical fitness as well as confidence, motivation, self-esteem and communication skills, while local people are trained to become qualified coaches to make the programme self-reliant and sustainable.
Winning Kingston coach Neil Mears said: “It’s an amazing opportunity for our guys, playing at the home of cricket. Since getting involved with the LTDCC in the spring, their confidence has come on and what I noticed was the sportsmanship and attitude towards other teams. Very special.”
Since its launch in 2013, the programme has provided accessible sporting opportunities, and the chance to play competitive cricket, for over 2,000 young people with a physical, learning, or sensory disability, across 23 London boroughs.
Berkeley Foundation’s charitable funding has enabled this expansion of the competition and in partnership with the London cricket boards (Middlesex, Surrey, Essex and Kent), plans are in place to involve all 32 London boroughs within three years.
Stuart Cowen, Berkeley Foundation CEO, said: “It is fantastic to see these teams competing and new boroughs taking part. The programme has reached out to 24 London boroughs with the aim to reach all of them in 2018.
“The Disability Cricket Championship is an outstanding programme that really does assist disabled young people to participate in sport, and lead fulfilling lives.”