A young Kingston cricketer and his coach were rewarded for their hard work at a special ceremony at the Oval yesterday.
James Grindrod won Player of the Year at the awards for the Lord’s Taverners Disability Cricket Championships (LTDCC), a year-round cricket programme for disabled young people aged 14-25.
Meanwhile, coach Neil Mears won the Special Contribution award and the borough of Kingston won the competition itself.
In his awards speech, Mr Mears said: “I’m overwhelmed. It’s lovely to be recognised and I’m genuinely touched.
“Cricket is a sport I’m passionate about, it brings friendship, team work – all these great things that can be transferred to adult life.
“Having a programme backed by the Lord’s Taverners that provides these things for young people is really special.”
This year, James Grindrod made it into the South England regional centre squad and a Lord Taverner’s spokesperson praised his commitment to playing cricket both at school and his local club, Old Ruts CC.
“He is always one of the first to help set the equipment up at a session, and always tries to get the rest of the students involved and going each week,” the spokesperson said.
“He shows a massive love of for the game and his future is looking very bright.”
Mr Mears was also praised for making ‘a world of difference’ to so many people, and for his genuine passion for disability sport, working hard to ensure participants feel welcome, motivated, and supported.
Berkeley Foundation chief executive Stuart Cowen said: “The Disability Cricket Championship is an outstanding programme that really does assist disabled young people to participate in sport, and lead fulfilling lives.
“Sport is a wonderful way for these youngsters to compete and work as part of a team.
“You can see how much they enjoyed this year’s championships.”
The championship was played at Lord’s Cricket Ground, with more than 80 people taking part.
Kingston won all their group games and, in the final, defeated their opponents by 33 runs.
Since 2013, the programme, run by disability charity Lord’s Taverners in association with the Berkeley Foundation, has provided young people across 18 boroughs, with various disabilities, the chance to play cricket.
In the next three years, it hopes to extend the programme to all 32 boroughs.