The Lord's Taverners SA, in partnership with Sporting Chance South Africa, hosted the inaugural Table Cricket Festival at the iconic Newlands Cricket Ground last week, with six schools taking part in what was a momentous occasion.
Table Cricket, an adapted version of the game played on a table tennis table, is specifically designed to give people with disability a chance to get involved with the sport, with multiple benefits including highly-inclusive participation, camaraderie, mental and physical stimulation and more.
The six schools which took part include Eros School, St Joseph's Marist College, Tembaletu LSEN, St Joseph's RC Special School, Filia School and Vista Nova. The schools all cater for learners with a range of disabilities from Cerebral Palsy and Down's Syndrome to Limb Girdle Muscle Dystrophy and a range of other intellectual and physical challenges, and the Table Cricket Festival gives these learners an ideal opportunity to play competitively whilst having an enormous amount of fun.
The game works as follows – there are different scoring zones around the table and, just like in regular cricket, fielders have to be carefully positioned to prevent runs or to get the batter out.
Teams of six take it in turn to bowl or bat, with the bowler using a ramp to deliver the ball (either a regular ball that runs true or a weighted one that swings around). The batter scores by hitting the ball into the scoring zones, avoiding the fielders if they can.
Protea Veterans cricketer Grant Jansen – part of the team who recently finished as runner's up in the Over-50s Cricket World Cup – was in attendance. "It was just wonderful to see cricket being played by all ages, all abilities. Table Cricket is so exciting, and it shows that all young people want is to play," Jansen said.
Lord's Taverners CEO, David Ralph, who has been advocating and promoting Table Cricket for years now, adds, "It's been very difficult for the past three years because of Covid, and the reason for the Festival is to re-ignite interest in Table Cricket to see if we can get more schools involved."
There are plans to host more Table Cricket Festivals in the near future, and to ramp up participation not only in the Western Cape but across the country. But there are real challenges in terms of funding the equipment and events.
Should you want to get involved in the programme, bring it to your local school or even donate a table to a school, please contact us at email@example.com.