Lockdown halted activities for sporting youngsters at William Howard School – but not before they starred in a video made by a leading UK charity.
Table cricketers from the Brampton school have excelled in recent seasons winning Cumbrian and regional competitions before going on to be runners up in the national finals, held at Lord’s, the home of cricket.
Table Cricket is an inclusive form of the game played on a table tennis table and adapted to give young people with a disability the chance to play and compete.
The Lord’s Taverners charity created a video highlighting the impact the sport has on the lives of many young people. The William Howard players star in the footage – even introducing radio 1 DJ Greg James to the sport.
The team is organised by Learning Support Assistant Tracey Croucher who runs the school’s table cricket and boccia teams at lunch and after-school clubs.
Mrs Croucher said: “I think coming second in a national final is a great achievement. They were just so happy at Lord’s, you can see in the video, the smiles on their faces.
“They absolutely love it. It gives them the opportunity to be play in a team and to be successful and excel.
“They all gain different things from it, depending on the difficulties they have. Some of our students have difficulties socialising. They can struggle to work with and consider other people. Table Cricket has really made a difference for them because they’ve learned to work with other people and succeed as a result.
“Some students find it very hard to focus in the classroom but when they play table cricket the focus is there. Some of them have risen to the challenge of taking on a leadership role.
The school’s younger team had just won through to the regional final again before the lockdown was announced. Now that schools have returned, Mrs Croucher hopes to have the table cricketers back playing in year group bubbles as soon as possible.
William Howard student sports leaders were also involved in the competition as scorers and umpires for the games.
Headteacher Chris McAree said: “We’re very proud of the achievements of the team and their supporters. To reach a national final is a great testament to their skills and determination and we look forward to having them back in action just as soon as we can.”