A CRICKET club is bowling over disabled sports fans.
Durham Country Cricket Club is looking to set up a variety of teams for the disabled, to play alongside the visually-impaired side it already operates.
The team took on visitors from Somerset in a friendly game at Washington Cricket Club’s Vigo Lane ground at the weekend.
The game is played with outsize stumps and a soft ball which makes a noise as it moves.
Ron Young is Durham’s man in change of developing disabled cricket.
“The benefits of sport to disabled people are exactly the same as those for everybody else – exercise, wanting to win, wanting to be part of something,” he said.
“Hopefully, the visually-impaired team is the first and over the next two or three years, we hope to have a hearing-impaired team, a physically-disabled team and a team that caters for people with learning difficulties.”
The team divides its time between Washington in the north of the county and Darlington to the south:
“Eventually, we hope to have a team playing at each club, but at the moment, they travel between the two,” said Ron.
Forty-two-year-old Richard Boggie is a member of the Durham side.
He said: “I have played cricket on-and-off for a couple of years.
“We have a few lads who are totally blind and others who, like me, are partially sighted.”
Richard, from Newcastle, suffers from a degenerative condition and has been losing his sight for years. “The reason I play cricket is the same reason as anyone else,” he said, “to keep fit and to get to meet people.
“We are always happy to welcome new members, especially young players. If they come along, we will get them involved.”
Cricketing charity the Primary Club supports the sport for the visually-impaired and representative Bob Southward was on hand for umpiring duties.
“We give clubs a grant when they start up a visually-impaired team, which they can use to buy the ball and stumps or put towards transport costs,” he said.
Anyone interested in joining the Durham team can contact Richard Boggie on 285 8640, mobile 07833 702 448.