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The hotly-contested finals of the Macquarie National Table Cricket Competition took place at Lord’s Cricket Ground today (Friday 17 June), where Victoria Sports College from Poole were crowned 2011 champions after a nail-biting finale against Wigan’s Oakfield School.
The final match, which followed a morning of group games between the 12 regional finalists (see below), was played out in front of a celebrity audience including EastEnders and Strictly Come Dancing star, Ricky Groves, Middlesex CCC players, including Ashes-winning fast bowler, Steve Finn, and former England international cricketer, Angus Fraser.
Table Cricket, which is 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.
Rob Belbin, Victoria Sports College team manager, said: “We’re all just thrilled and proud of all our players who put in a fantastic team performance today. Thank you so much to The Lord’s Taverners and Macquarie for hosting such a great competition – hopefully we’ll be back next year to defend our crown!”
Jamie Kelly (17), captain of the Victoria Sports College team, said: “The standard of table cricket has gone to a much higher level this year so we all really had to make sure that every shot played and every ball bowled counted today. I’d like to thank all of my team mates and Rob, without who we wouldn’t have been able to retain the trophy.”
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. At the heart of the partnership is the Macquarie Group Foundation’s support for the charity’s iconic national table cricket competition. Now in its 13th year, the competition sees over 500 youngsters from across the UK compete in a series of regional heats for the chance to take part in the prestigious national finals at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
Julie White, Global Head, Macquarie Group Foundation, said: "We are very pleased to support this competition with premier cricket organisation The Lord's Taverners as it exemplifies Macquarie's approach of supporting community initiatives through both staff volunteering and financial assistance. The competition is an innovative way of enabling young people with disabilities to engage in an enjoyable, active contest as well as an opportunity for Macquarie staff to serve alongside them."
Matthew Patten, Chief Executive, 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 Victoria Sports College on today’s win – I look forward to seeing them try to defend their title next year.”
Teams taking part in the national finals were:
Beckfoot School (Bingley)
Brookfield House School (Woodford Green)
Lonsdale School (Stevenage)
Marjorie McClure School (Chislehurst)
Oakfield School (Wigan)
Percy Hedley Sports Academy (Newcastle)
Portland College (Mansfield)
South Gloucestershire ‘A’
South London Special League
Thomas Wolsey School (Ipswich)
Victoria Sports College (Poole)
Wolverhampton Outreach Sports Club