Disability Cricket In Wales

Gwersyltt Cricket Club is a special place. And that’s before you notice the group of players going through their drills on the outfield. Under the coach Jamie Griffiths, up to 10 cricketers regularly attend the Wrexham-based club where Gwersyltt Disability Cricket Hub is thriving.

But then that’s hardly a surprise. Chance to Shine runs disability projects across the country, providing cricket opportunities to hundreds of young disabled people. Parents and teachers alike credit cricket with helping those with disabilities develop their fitness, social and interpersonal skills. They learn how to share, to work as a team and build friendships.

“For three years I’d been doing a lunchtime session at St Christopher’s School, a local special school,” explains Jamie. “The kids showed interest so we started doing sessions at Gwersyltt. We asked the cricket club if they would get involved and they have been absolutely fantastic.” The success on the pitch has been extraordinary too. Out of the ten regular attendees, three represent the Wales disability side. “The way they socialise with each other is great to see. After the session they go into the club and they’re always smiling. And they keep coming back.”

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He adds that there’s a real sense of togetherness about the group. “They just get on with it! When they move onto the skills they all buzz off each other and give each other high fives.” The overwhelming feeling from the parents is that Jamie is doing something very special. Eileen Vickers, whose son Greg, 34, is one of the hub’s success stories, says: “Greg was a really good cricketer when he was about 14.”

In 2005 Greg was found lying lifeless in a road following a night out. He spent 15 months in hospital. Doctors gave him little chance of recovery. Greg suffered six skull fractures. To this day his family or the police have no idea
what happened but his continuing success at cricket has provided a huge comfort.

“He joined the RAF and was home on leave when he was involved in an accident. He had a stroke and received frontal lobe damage,” says Eileen. “We’re very grateful that this allows him to keep playing one of the sports he loved at a level he can manage. He’s got a new circle of friends and mixes with new people.

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