England Disability Cricketers studying at the University of Worcester have told of the honour of playing for their country as they take part in an international tournament in Worcester.
Will Flynn and James Nordin are in the England senior physical disability team competing in the Physical Disability Cricket World Series currently running in Worcestershire.
England has taken on Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan in a series of matches in the past week, with the final tomorrow (August 13) at New Road, and culminating in England v Rest of World on Thursday (August 15).
Will, 19, who has finished his first year studying Physical Geography, said: “Playing in this World Series against four other fantastic cricketing nations is just an absolute honour. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Growing up as a kid you always want to wear the England badge and to do it in front of your home crowd is just truly amazing. I’m playing with 15 guys and we are all in this together, so there’s a real team spirit.”
James said to represent his country was all he had wanted to do from a young age. “It’s an opportunity I also thought I was never going to get with the condition I have so to go out there and play for England, it’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of,” he said. “I’m so proud and so fortunate to have had this opportunity.”
The pair are on the University’s sports scholarship programme, giving them financial and academic support, as well as access to specialist lifestyle advice, and helping combine studies and elite sport. Will said this had been invaluable to fit studies and deadlines around England commitments. Long-term, he wants to play in the squad as long as possible and be an ambassador for the game. But he also hopes that one day disability cricket might turn professional, opening up further opportunities.
Teams have been staying on the University of Worcester campus. “We’ve had the opportunity to actually live alongside other cultures as well, to learn about how they play cricket and also live their daily lives,” said James. “It’s been a really good learning experience in terms of broadening my horizons. In terms of the cricket, the standard of the tournament has been very high.”
James, a Sports Coaching Science student, who has just finished his first year, chose the University because of its reputation for inclusion and disability sport. He said his course had also had a positive effect on his cricket. “I’m learning more and more about the game, particularly speaking to people who coach cricket at a high level who are on my course,” the 19-year-old added.
Both students praised the University’s plans for an International Inclusive Cricket Centre, which has moved a step forward with the appointment of architects. They said the partnership facility, providing a new home for elite level, grass roots and recreational players, of all abilities and disabilities, would have a positive impact on the game.
Will said: “I think the Centre that is planned here for cricket is an absolutely fantastic idea. The University of Worcester has such a high profile with its sports, catering for all abilities and disabilities as well, with facilities like the Arena. Having a facility for cricket is going to provide many benefits for the community of Worcester, for all abilities or if you’re disabled. Especially when you’ve got the architects who have designed Lord’s, Edgbaston, all those indoor cricket centres. It’s going to be a high class facility and it’s just going to boost the City even more and its cricketing profile.”
James added it would create opportunities for those in the England disability squads, for students at the University but also for young people across Worcestershire.