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Super 1s Impact - Meet Hadley and family

Hadley (13) has Cerebral Palsy and is a full-time wheelchair user. Here he and his family tell us about his passion for cricket, how he discovered the Super 1s programme and what a difference it has made to their lives.

I have loved cricket since I was born. When I first came home from the neonatal intensive care unit, where I spent my first two months, the Ashes we last won in Australia was in full swing. My mum and dad say I spent a lot of time crying and awake when I was a baby. Listening to or watching cricket was one of the only things that would calm me down.

As I grew up, I continued to love cricket, watching it on TV and live at the Ageas Bowl (home to Hampshire CC). I find it exciting to watch, especially as the game can take so many twists and turns. I have been to Lord’s to watch an England ODI and I’m really looking forward to England v Australia at the Ageas Bowl next year! I play cricket in my garden with my dad, grandads and my friends as much as I can. Even if the weather isn’t that good, we always find time for a few overs.

It was only in my garden that I played until I was 12 years old as my parents couldn’t find a mainstream club that would adapt sessions enough for me to play. This frustrated and upset me as I’m very competitive and wanted to be part of a team and play competitions like my friends.

In 2022, my parents needed to buy a wheelchair adapted vehicle (WAV) to enable me to travel in my wheelchair. They decided to organise an event to help fund this and I wanted it to be a cricket tournament. Mum and dad started to make some enquiries to see where we might be able to hold the cricket match. It was then that the Development Officers at Hampshire CC got in contact and offered to help organise and run the event, and also told us about the Super 1s programme.

I was so excited. I joined my local Super 1s hub straight away and loved it! The coaches and the other participants are so friendly, and they have really helped me build my confidence. I always enjoy the sessions; they are great for exercise and having fun with friends. I feel like I can really express who I am through cricket. I like getting tips from the coaches and think I have improved a lot in the last year. I am very grateful for them understanding that just because you are disabled, it doesn’t mean you don’t want to play competitive sport.

In addition to regular cricket sessions, Super 1s also holds festivals and inter-hub competitions, and provides young people with opportunities to visit cricket grounds for various events. Through these opportunities, I’ve been lucky enough to get a tour of Lord’s and meet some of my cricket idols which is amazing. I’ve met Monty Panesar, Nick Compton, Mike Gatting and Maia Bouchier.

It was a cool experience. I couldn’t believe how big Monty Panesar’s hands are! Mike Gatting gave me some batting tips and Maia borrowed my bat during a festival as she said it was ‘better than hers!’

Hadley’s parents-
The enthusiasm Hadley has for cricket is second to none, so we are exceptionally grateful to have been welcomed into the Super 1s family. And that is really what it is. Everyone is there to support you. Besides his cricket skills, Hadley’s self-belief has grown considerably. Hadley struggles with anxiety, so this is an incredible achievement for him. He deserves to feel empowered and able to participate fully in the things that he loves, and that is exactly what Super 1s does for him.  

The programme’s emphasis on personal development is amazing. Being predominantly motivated by sport, means Hadley learns much better in the Super 1s environment than a typical education setting. He is currently unable to attend school due to his anxiety, so being able to socialise with peers who understand and encourage him at Super 1s is invaluable. The sessions help him improve life skills such as leadership, teamwork, and empathy. The hub is also a great support for us as parents – a place where we can chat to others in similar situations which is invaluable.


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