Yorkshire’s Ralph Thoresby School defended their Lord’s Taverners National Table Cricket Finals crown, after a dramatic final-ball win over Cumbria’s William Howard School on Friday.
Needing just one to win off the final ball, the Leeds-based school struck the winning run to retain the title against their opponents from Brampton, near Carlisle.
Twelve teams, made up of more than 150 youngsters, took part in the finals day in the Nursery Pavilion at the home of cricket, after battling it out in regional qualifying heats around the country.
Thanks to the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Ford, who support the competition, the table cricket competition is now in its 21st year, with nearly 8,000 youngsters and more than 450 schools regularly taking part in the sport.
Watching at Lord’s was Radio 1 DJ, TV presenter, cricket lover, and Lord’s Taverners Table Cricket Ambassador Greg James, who saw first-hand how the game not only gives opportunities for competitive play and social integration, but also improves life-skills, including self-confidence, independence and social skills.
“You need a particular set of skills to play Table Cricket, it promotes team-work, helps you learn to deal with winning and losing, and it encourages all kids to be part of a sport that is for everyone,” explained James.
“There’s lots of great things going on with table cricket, with thousands of kids playing around the country and hundreds of schools. That’s why I support the Lord’s Taverners, because cricket is for everyone and they give kids a sport to enjoy and be proud of where they might have felt left out before.”
The 12 schools who made it through to the finals day were:
Ralph Thoresby School (Yorkshire)
Brimsham Green School (Gloucestershire)
Fountaindale School (Nottinghamshire)
Fairfax School (Warwickshire)
Redwood School (Lancashire)
Whitefield Academy Trust (London)
Thomas Wolsey (Suffolk)
Valence School (Kent)
Greenfield School (Wales)
Maplewell Hall School (Leicestershire)
William Howard School (Cumbria)
Denbigh High School (Bedfordshire)
Played on a table tennis table with side panels and sliding fielders, a ball-launcher, weighted plastic ball and wooden bat, table cricket enables young people with severe physical and learning disabilities to enjoy cricket and represent their school on a competitive basis.
The Lord’s Taverners, the UK’s leading youth sport and disability cricket charity, aims to enhance the lives of disadvantaged and disabled young people through sport and recreation. Its programmes create a wide range of opportunities to engage in sport and recreational activities in their communities.
For more information about the Lord’s Taverners, visit www.lordstaverners.org