Disability History Month: What is Essex Ability?


As we get near the end of Disability History Month we want to share with you a bit about the history of the county disability teams.

The teams were first set up in 2010 with It was a sharp learning curve for some of the players but they stuck to the task and earned their first win in 2012.

By 2014 we had 2 teams running, D40 and Super 9’s and in 2015 the super 9’s had reached our first final, coming runners up in 2015 and again in 2016. In 2017 and 2018 they won the final a feat repeated by the D40 team in 2019.

There are now 3 county teams (Hawks, Falcons and Kestrels) running with new players joining each year.

Essex Hawks

The Hawks are the senior side and still feature a few of the players from the first team from 2010.

When the team was set up in 2010 several of the players had not played a full 11 aside game but soon adapted to the new format. It was tough going at times in the early years with the team waiting over 2 years for their first win but once they developed the progress was clear to see.

By 2017 the team had really become a strong unit and after a couple of close runs in previous years made it through to their first semi-final and then first final only to lose out narrowly in a rain affected game. The team returned to the semi-finals in 2018 only to lose on a bowl out but in 2019 went all the way and became national champions.

Essex Kestrels

The Kestrels play in the national super 9s league. Super 9s is a slightly different format played using an incrediball with each team fielding 9 players at a time but able to have 12 in a squad and bring players on and off when needed.

It provides a good introduction to more structured cricket from the small sided games played at a introductory level.

The team was formed in 2013 and entered the league in 2014. The team hit the ground running and made it through to the final in 2015 and 2016 but in both occasions were beaten by a more experienced team from Derbyshire. This didn’t stop the players who kept going and went onto win the competition in 2017 and 2018. The competition was split into smaller regional groups from 2021 with the top 2 teams going through to a final. The Kestrels finished runners up in both 2021 and 2022 in the South East division.

Essex Falcons

With the super 9s winning back to back championships it became apparent that the team was outgrowing the competition. The gap between super 9s and the existing hardball team was considerable and many of the players would struggle to make the step up at that stage.

With this in mind a development team was set up, The Kestrels took some of the players who had helped make the Super 9s team a success and along with some new young players formed a hardball development team in 2019.

The team played fixtures against a team from Northants, Wales and Kent in their first year and found each game brought its own challenges which the team tackled and overcame.

For 2021 the national competition brought in a 2nd division called D40 Pursuit, which the Falcons now play in, and is split into North and South divisions with the 2 winners playing off for a chance to move into the D40 quest division.