It came from Coach Graham Furber as he highlighted the successes of the 2022 season before presenting the Disability Awards section of the evening.
He said: “A recent SCB audit indicated that clubs do have players in the county who could be considered for selection.
“We look forward to working with Tyler Ibbotson as our first dedicated Disability Officer and the new Disability Hub clubs like St Georges, Shelton and Wellington in developing disability cricket in the county and hopefully finding some more county standard players of both sexes to take the squads forward.
“Please be assured that this is not ‘Mickey Mouse’ cricket – we are often playing sides containing players who play Saturday cricket for their clubs, and even in Premier Leagues throughout the country. Please get in touch with us, we do need your help!”
There are two disability County squads – the S9s who play incrdiball cricket with a minimum of nine players-a-side with 30-over games. It was a difficult season for the side in 2022 with batting a problem as they lost all five games.
But Graham said: “We do have some young players coming through of both sexes to supplement our ageing but loyal squad, so there is room for optimism.”
Then there is the D40 side which plays conventional 11-a-side cricket with 40-over games – who have a season in 2022 which saw them win five of their games by large margins, losing three in really tight games.
“It was a real curate’s egg of a season. We finished a creditable second in the D40 Pursuit League (North) behind eventual national champions Yorkshire. And the games we lost were, frustratingly, all from positions of absolute strength.”
Graham also highlighted the success of the inaugural ECB Disability Premier League which culminated with Sky televising the final.
He said: “We had four players involved – Shaun Rigby, Kev Baker, Adam Marshall and Matty Bailey – and James Wojda coached one of the sides – The Hawks.”
The first disability award for the S9s went to Olli Harrison, as lead coach Jonathan Caldecott stepped up to make the presentations.
Graham said: “As I said, our batting was a problem all season with no consistency. Last year’s recipient of this award, Greg Lloyd again batted well and there were encouraging signs at times from other players like Ewan Woodhouse, Luke Clarke and Matty Harvey.
“Olli was mentioned in dispatches last year, and he has continued to show significant progress in his performances.
“He takes the award for his always aggressive opening bowling, plus a potential with the bat that we hope to develop further, and a great attitude to learning about how the game of cricket should be played.”
Graham said there were a number of contenders for the D40 awards, with three players mentioned in despatches.
Kev Baker scored 338 runs at 84.50 with 4 x 50s with retirements, highest score 77 not out, and a truly outstanding wicketkeeper.
Danny Percy, who has done a great job for us as an emergency opener 173 runs @ 28.83 HS 65….and is one of the best outfielders on the circuit.
Youngster Harry Pyke scored some useful runs down the order but also took 11 wickets at 20.73 with best bowling 4-22 and was the second highest wicket taker in both the North and South leagues.
Graham said: “But there could only be one winner. Skipper Shaun Rigby hit 350 runs averaging 50, with a top score of 78 not out with 5 x 50s with retirements – the top run scorer in both leagues, with the joint highest top score in both leagues.
“He also took 20 wickets at 10.10, with best figures of 5-18 – the top wicket-taker in both leagues.”
The Disability Champion Award went to Dave Hassall.
Graham said: “Dave could easily be called ‘Mr Shropshire Disability Cricket’
He is a founder player and member of the Shropshire Disabled Cricket Association since 1990.
“He has been a regular player with the England CFPD side since 1996, and for many years captained the ‘Zenith’ side in the internationals at Lord’s and Newport CC (Gwent).
“He has been a regular SCB Disability squad member since the early days of the BACD/ECB competition. He has captained the side and in recent years has carried out the role of Team Manager for both squads.
“He is married to our loyal and hardworking scorer, Ellen, such an integral part of our organisation. Ellen, I hope you do know how much we appreciate what you do for us.
“So a legend of local disability cricket, it is our great pleasure to present this award to Dave.”