Howzat for a close call as academy finish fourth

Pupils from Percy Hedley Sports Academy who took part in the National Table Cricket Competition held at Lords.
Pupils from Percy Hedley Sports Academy who took part in the National Table Cricket Competition held at Lords.

YOUNG sports stars showed their skills at the home of cricket by taking fourth place in a national tournament at the home of English cricket.

Pupils at Benton’s Percy Hedley Sports Academy were among 12 teams taking part in the Macquarie National Table Cricket Competition at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

The finals included a morning of group games between the regional finalists and a final, which was played out in front of a celebrity audience, including Ashes-winning fast bowler Steve Finn and former England international Angus Fraser.

Table Cricket – played on a table tennis surface with specially designed bats and balls – enables young people with disabilities and special needs the chance to enjoy cricket and represent their school on a competitive basis.

Daniel Blake, team manager of Percy Hedley Sports Academy, said: “Last year we finished a close second and with the same players we thought we’d have a shot at the title but the standard was really high.

“It was a day of highs and lows and the team are a bit disappointed, but we’ll get straight back into training for next year’s competition.”

Earlier this year, youth cricket and disability sport charity, The Lord’s Taverners, formed a three-year partnership with global financial services institution Macquarie Group.

Now in its 13th year, the competition sees more than 500 youngsters from across the country compete in a series of regional heats for the chance to take part in the prestigious national finals at Lord’s.

Matthew Patten, chief executive of The Lord’s Taverners, said: “The Lord’s Taverners believes that all young people should have access to sport and recreation, particularly those with disabilities and special needs.

“Macquarie’s support for this competition has given even more young people the chance to play cricket against their peers at iconic venues like Lord’s.

“Congratulations to Percy Headley Sports Academy on finishing fourth – I look forward to seeing them try to compete for the title again next year.”