Table cricket is specially adapted to give players with severe physical or learning disabilities the opportunity to enjoy sport. Image courtesy of Devon Cricket.

Regional Table Cricket competition comes to Exeter.

The Sir Christopher Ondaatje Devon Cricket Centre, on the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus,  is preparing to welcome almost 100 children from across the region to the South West Table Cricket competition on 15 May.

Players from Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire are set to compete in the specially adapted version of cricket which gives those with severe physical or learning disabilities the opportunity to experience the excitement of sport.

Teams of 6-8 players compete on a table-tennis table sized playing surface, with the batsperson using a smaller wooden bat to hit a plastic ball that is rolled instead of bowled.  Runs are scored by the ball hitting special targets on the side wall with the opposition team using “sliding fielders” to prevent this from happening.

Now in its 14th year and organised by national cricket charity the Lord’s Taverners, the National Table Cricket Competition sees over 500 young people compete each year. Exeter is the last of 10 regional heats that have taken place across the country, prior to the prestigious finals event at Lords in June.

Devon Cricket, who are partners of the University of Exeter Sports Office, are helping to oversee the running of the event and hope that it will inspire a generation of table-cricketers.

Development Manager Matt Theedom said: “We’re really excited to be hosting this event at the Sir Christopher Ondaatje Devon Cricket Centre. Table cricket is a superb way to give children and adults with disabilities a chance to partake in competitive cricket and enjoy the spirit of the game.

“The table format makes it ideal for wheelchair users, and the smaller field of play means that all of the players are able to engage with each other and enjoy the match together.

 “It’s a brilliant challenge for players who have to strike the ball with precision and control to score runs consistently. It also gives players the chance to learn the different rules, cricket terminology, and tactics when playing.

 “The Devon Cricket Centre is the perfect venue, hosting the competition in a purpose built cricket facility adds to the sense of occasion for the players. It also means that we have an exceptional space to work with, as we are expecting well over 100 people to attend.”

Date: 13 May 2014