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Howzat! Table Cricket is a big hit with college students!

Supported Learning students from City College Norwich had their first experience of a Table Cricket tournament this week, giving a big thumbs up to this inclusive format of the game which can be played by people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities.

A mixed group of more than 30 Supported Learning students were involved in the tournament in the college’s sports hall, which was organised in conjunction with Norfolk Cricket Board, Lord’s Taverners and CCN Active (which promotes sporting activity for all students at the college).

The game sees teams of 6 or 8 competing on an adapted table-tennis table, with a bowling ramp, miniature ball and 10-inch cricket bat.  Runs are scored by the batter hitting the ball to the boundary, but they can be caught out if the opposing team slides a fielder into position on the boundary to intercept the ball.

Originally developed as a game specifically for wheelchair users, the Lord’s Taverners are encouraging more people to enjoy Table Cricket by promoting the game to people with disabilities in settings such as colleges, schools and adult day centres.

Norfolk Cricket Board is currently working with 15 organisations in Norfolk, but Tuesday’s event at City College Norwich was the first time they have held an intra college tournament.  

Kevin Denmark, Cricket Development Officer at Norfolk Cricket Board, says that participants can get a lot from the game:

“Table Cricket is very inclusive.  People of any ability or disability can play, so nobody is excluded.  The game is great for holding the attention of participants and they learn a lot of skills whilst playing.  There’s a bit of maths involved with the scoring, they can have a go at umpiring and learning the umpiring signals, they are learning to play as a team and to follow the rules.  The table format of the game captures the MCC Spirit of Cricket, replicating it for individuals who might not otherwise play cricket.”  

There was a great atmosphere throughout the afternoon and the students thoroughly enjoyed the tournament. Hugh Darrah, 19, from Old Buckenham, said: “I’ve enjoyed it!  It’s been fun, it’s fantastic!” 

Abbie Morgan, 17, from Foulsham, said: “It’s been good. It’s fun. I’ve enjoyed being team captain and the batting.  Our team’s done really well, with some of our players getting some good scores.”     

Joe Bales, 18, from Hellesdon, added: “I enjoyed most playing as a fielder and a batter.  I scored a lot of runs, over 20.”

Thanks to the Lord’s Taverners and Norfolk Cricket Board donating the Table Cricket equipment, Nick Bond, City College Norwich’s Sportsmaker, is looking forward to organising many more tournaments for the college’s students. 

The CCN Active coordinator commented: “We’re promoting and encouraging sports that are more accessible to our students. This Table Cricket tournament has given 32 students who wouldn’t normally be playing sport the chance to try a new sport, hopefully one that they enjoy and continue participating in.”

Kevin Denmark summed up a hugely successful event: “This has been a rip-roaring success. Today was top draw, it’s been a fabulous afternoon. We’ve had fantastic engagement from the students and teachers.”

Pictures: Megan Dack and Dan Hargrave (UAL Diploma Photography students)