Edgar Herridge, National Disabilities Manager for the
England Cricket Board, recently visited Quality Street to meet our
disability side, the Magics. He was impressed with what he found as
they regained the annual trophy in a match with our girls
Summer 2020 will live long in the memory as the season stolen
by Coronavirus, wth every aspect of the normal left reeling in the
wake of the virus, lockdown and the pent-up hardship suffered
And so, imagine my delight to attend Merstham Cricket Club on a
warm September evening to witness the Merstham Magics regain the
inter-club cup against the Merstham CC Girls' team.
Formed in 2004, the Merstham Magics offer weekly sessions for
individuals with a range of disabilities and they form an integral
part of Merstham CC. Ben was the founding member of the group and,
when he first came to the club looking to play cricket, he set the
wheels in motion that would change the outlook and ethos of the
Attendance quickly swelled and the sessions now regularly see
fifteen plus participants enjoying their cricket at Merstham CC
each Wednesday evening.
As with any cricket club, there are extremely hard-working
volunteers that make things happen and ensure everyone is able to
enjoy cricket in a safe, supportive and fun environment.
From lead coach, Dan whose responsibilities range from setting
up small sided games and drills right through to helping the
participants with personal challenges they are facing away from
cricket; to team manager Chris who ensures that all of the
wonderful and exciting ideas that the group have are actually
achievable. And affordable!
The hard work of all the volunteers at Mershtam CC cannot be
underestimated, but - as Dan informed me from his position as
square-leg umpire - the true success of this group is the fact that
it is run by its members.
Each of the participants have a say in what their sessions look
like and their voice is given equal weight as any other Merstham CC
member. The players came up with their team name, they complete the
annual player surveys to help shape the future of the cricket club
and everyone involved at Merstham CC understand the significant
value that the team bring to the club as a whole.
From helping mow the outfield to umpiring matches and sometimes
playing in the club's weekend league fixtures; the players'
involvement goes far beyond just being members of the Magics.
One of the learnings early on in the formation of the Magics was
a need to develop a year-round offer. The end of the traditional
cricket season was not the end of the Magics' enthusiasm, and so
they moved their weekly sessions to an indoor venue.
Whilst cricket remained the common theme, the social aspect of
the club quickly gained real traction and the group now regularly
meet for quizzes, BBQs, and the famous Christmas party! In a summer
so decimated by the pandemic, it was fantastic to see the
difference that cricket can make, in action.
It was clear that, thanks to the enthusiasm of its members and
dedication of all involved, the Merstham Magics will continue to
thrive for a long time to come and I look forward not only to my
next visit to the club, but also sharing their story and the
lessons that they have learned to help other such sections develop
at cricket clubs across England and Wales.