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Ability on show in softball festival

Mersey Rose pro-disability event held at Prescot

Mersey Rose Softball Team Back row (left to right): Ian, Rob, Jake, Aaron, Anna (c), Steve, Martin, Joe Front row: Jasmine, Xanthe, Heidi (non-playing), Andi

Mersey Rose's softball season finally got under way yesterday at the club's pro-disability event at Prescot & Odyssey CC.

With previously scheduled games having been rained off, the event was an opportunity for many of our softball players to play their first cricket of the year - and, in some cases, to play their first games of cricket ever.

Playing in the Super 8s event alongside Mersey Rose's softball team, captained by Anna Page, were Firwood Bootle's softball team and Lord Rockingham's XI - Andi Page's team containing some Mersey Rose players and volunteers from Prescot (and Bootle's captain Gemma).

The Mersey Rose team contained a number of disabled players. The entire purpose of the event was to show what disabled players can do - and they didn't disappoint. The youngest player was 13 year old Jasmine and the oldest was our veteran Joe. Everyone contributed something while Aaron, playing his first game for us, proved a revelation with the bat.

Bootle's team included Tom Meskell, who plays disability cricket for Lancashire. He deserves special mention for the way he encouraged our own players, providing advice and coaching tips from behind the stumps.

Mersey Rose's softball team played two games. In the first, against Bootle, Mersey Rose opted to field first. The first pair, Tom and Emilia, put on 24 in the first four overs to given Bootle an idea start. Mersey Rose's bowlers created a few chances - Anna Page almost taking what would have been an incredible catch at cover - but they couldn't find the breakthrough. Bootle finished their innings on 82 without loss, thanks to positive batting from Chris (10) and Daisy (9), giving them a net score of 282.

Jake and Rob, both playing their first cricket, were the first pair for Mersey Rose. They played purposefully and scored 17, but were pinned back as Rob was bowled twice (by Emilia and Jackie). Guest players Paddy and Daire also looked to play aggressively, but lost a wicket each: Paddy was bowled by Chloe while Daire found himself the victim of a run-out by Tom. Anna and Jasmine batted sensibly, while the last pair of Joe and Aaron added 18 runs (with Aaron doing most of the scoring). Heidi bowled Joe with a full length delivery to give Bootle their fifth wicket of the game.

Mersey Rose finished on 79 for 5 - a net score of 254, giving Bootle a 28-run win.

In the second game against Lord Rockingham's XI, Mersey Rose again put their opponents into bat. It seemed an inspired decision as five wickets fell early, before some positive contributions from Martin (7) and Steve (9) helped to build a recovery. The last pairing of Andi and Gemma added 44 runs.

Chasing a net score of 270 Mersey Rose were helped over the line by outstanding knocks from Rob (20) and Aaron (27), earning them a 9-run victory.

At the conclusion of play, participants were presented with a medal. Steve (Mersey Rose) and Tom (Bootle) spoke about the need for inclusive approaches in cricket around disability.

Gemma, Bootle's captain, said: "I loved seeing your team in action and the enthusiasm and fun had by them all. Was great to see. I hope they had a good experience!" She added that Firwood Bootle has been progressing inclusive cricket for some time and now not only have have four Lancashire disability players in their senior squad but also have numerous young people in the junior section who are neurodiverse or have other disabilities.

At the start of Pride Month, both teams wished to express their support for Pride and LGBTQ+ inclusion. All players involved agreed to be photographed with the rainbow flag to express solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.

Taking Pride in cricket

Many thanks to Firwood Bootle for all their help, especially in regards umpiring and scoring (yes, we mean you Jackie and Heidi). Thanks also to our friends at Prescot & Odyssey Cricket Club for hosting the event.

We will play a softball game at Bootle's Wadham Road on Tuesday 2nd July.

Scorecards from yesterday's games can be found here: Mersey Rose Softball v Bootle Mersey Rose Softball v Lord Rockingham's XI


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