Table cricket heats take place in Durham, Birmingham and Exeter
There has been table cricket action all over the country this week as the road to Lord's passed through Durham's Chester-le-Street (24 April), Birmingham's Edgbaston (25 April) and Devon's Cricket Centre in Exeter (26 April). Over 150 disabled young people, all dreaming of playing in the national finals, took part in this week's regional table cricket heats.
In Durham, eight teams from across the North East played out a round robin tournament at Chester-le-Street. Teams from Sandgate, Trinity, William Howard, Dryden, Oxclose Community Academy, Hope Wood Academy, Barndale House and Hexham Primary Schools competed on the day to become North East top dogs. William Howard School came out on top after some high scoring matches and fierce competition. Three members of the current Durham CCC squad, Brydon Carse, Matt Potts and James Weighell swapped the nets for the table and got involved with the action.
There was no let-up in the action, as the next day a further eight teams headed to Edgbaston, scene of one of the greatest Test matches ever in the 2005 Ashes, to create their own sporting history at this ground. Teams from Wightwich, Sherbourne, Penn Hall, Derwen, Wilson Stewart and Severndale Futures schools competed for their chance to play at the most iconic of cricketing arenas, Lord's. 2017 national champions Wilson Stuart went into the day's play as favourites, and were hoping to defend their crown, however there was an upset in the final and Severndale Futures emerged victorious.
Former Leicester Tigers and England Rugby player George Chuter, and Nick Owen, well-known presenter of BBC's Midlands Today cheered on the young people before joining in matches on the practice table. To add further excitement to the day, and with thanks to Warwickshire CCC, the Cricket World Cup trophy was brought out and held aloft by the jubilant youngsters.
The road to Lord's headed to the South West towards the end of the week, to the cathedral city of Exeter in Devon. Eight more teams from the region came together for a day of competitive table cricket. Teams from Exeter House, Penryn Primary, Bradley Stoke, Tregolls, Oaklands, Southbrook, Westfield and Winchelsea Schools went toe to toe for the chance to be named South West champions. After a highly competitive day of table cricket, it was the team from Bradley Stoke School who triumphed, beating Tregolls School in the final.
The regional finals are now at the half way stage, with the road to Lord's stopping at the Stoke Mandeville stadium and the 3AAA County Ground in Derby next week.