Whitefield and Thomas Wolsey Schools book places in Lord’s Final


Pupils at Whitefield School will be representing Essex at Lord’s on 7 June at the Lord’s Taverners National Table Cricket Finals. They will also be joined in the finals by Suffolk school Thomas Wolsey.

The Walthamstow-based and Ipswich-based schools are heading to the home of cricket to battle it out against ten other schools as they look to be crowned champions of the national competition organised by the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity, the Lord’s Taverners.

And thanks to the help of the People’s Postcode Lottery and Ford, who support the competition, the Essex and Suffolk schools will both be hoping to lift a trophy at Lord’s in this World Cup summer.

Whitefield School PE Teacher, Maria Papazoglou, said: “I am so happy and proud for my students, I introduced table cricket to my students three years ago. Since then, table cricket has become a major activity in our timetable.

“It is a great non-contact sport which allows all autistic pupils to participate. It teaches them how to work as a team, builds confidence and improves hand eye coordination, something that most of my pupils struggle with. Also, it is wonderful to see girls being active and part of the team.”

Thomas Wolsey Physical Development Lead Teacher, Kristy Wood, said: “The team is very excited to have the chance to play at the home of cricket again!

“The captain has coped so well with the role, developing his ability to identify strengths in the team and provide constructive feedback for all the players. Together they have formed a strong bond and it is a delight to organise the trips with them.

“Recently we have looked into the links to the main game of cricket and tried it out in physical development sessions, but they still very much prefer to play table cricket.”

The Lord’s Taverners table cricket competition now in its 21st year and working with 39 county cricket boards across the UK, saw more than 450 schools took part in the 10 regional heats to qualify for the finals.

Played on a table tennis table with side panels and sliding fielders, a ball launcher, weighted plastic ball and wooden bat, table cricket enables young people with severe physical and learning disabilities to enjoy cricket and represent their school on a competitive basis.

The game not only gives opportunities for competitive play and social integrations, it also improves life-skills including self-confidence, independence and social skills. An enhanced role for the captain also allows for the development of leadership skills.

The Lord’s Taverners aim to enhance the lives of disadvantaged and disabled young people through sport and recreation. Its programmes create a wide range of opportunities to engage in sport and recreational activities in their communities.