Joe Moss and Alfie Jeeves selected in DPL draft


Words: Brian Jeeves

Pre-season is usually a busy period in the life of a county cricketer, and once again it has been no different for Essex’s talented ability squads.

But as well as returning to training under the guidance of Head Coach Patrick Ward and his staff, several of the Essex squad were invited to attend an assessment day for inclusion in the DPL ‘select’ winter training camps, with Joe Moss and Alfie Jeeves progressing and subsequently selected in the draft by The Pirates and Tridents respectively.

The Disability Premier League is a pioneering cricket competition, bringing together players from three different disability groups – physical disability (PD), learning disability (LD) and hearing impairment/deaf.

There are four teams – Black Cats, Pirates, Tridents and Hawks – each with players from the three disability groups playing alongside each other. Each team plays six T20 games across three weekends, with the top two sides going through to the final.

Each squad contains sixteen players, with everyone playing a minimum of two games each during the competition, subject to availability. Each disability group must bowl at least 20% of a team’s overs, meaning a minimum of four overs are to be bowled by at least one player from the PD, LD and Deaf pool.

DPL Tournament Director, Richard Hill MBE, said: “The winter programme for potential new recruits for the DPL went exceptionally well. The cohort of players that were selected were of a high calibre and ability-wise would easily ‘fit in’. The most pleasing aspect of the winter camps for me was how we saw them grow in confidence, and how they started to believe in themselves, not only as cricketers but also as people.

“Several of the players at the camp live with autism and that can present in different ways for each person. As individuals, each person was allowed the space and freedom to express themselves in a very non-judgemental way, which in turn produced some powerful moments. Speaking to the group for example, a couple of the players did just that, which we know was a huge deal for them and this new-found confidence and self-belief carried through to their cricket. I think the DPL has all the hallmarks of being the best one yet!”

Moss and Jeeves will join Essex teammates and established DPL players, Ronnie Jackson (Hawks) and Joe Freestone (Black Cats) at this year’s eagerly anticipated competition, with the final set to be staged at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, in front of a global Sky Sports audience.

“It’s great to have four players from Essex featuring in the DPL,” Essex Head Coach, Ward enthused.

“The two new players, Joe Moss and Alfie Jeeves, have worked really hard to get into the draft and hopefully, they enjoy it as much as Ronnie Jackson and Joe Freestone have in previous years.

“I’m sure the guys can’t wait to get there and get going. Hopefully, it will spur them on with their performances for Essex before the competition starts.”

Leg-spinner Jeeves spoke about his experiences at the training camps, staged at Edgbaston and Shrewsbury School: “It was fantastic. I learned so much about myself as a person and a cricketer,” he explained.

“The coaches and mentors were great. It was also good to test myself against some excellent cricketers and move out of my comfort zone.

“We all wanted to get drafted by one of the DPL teams. But although the lads all play for different counties, everyone encourages each other.

I think the fact that six of us were initially picked for DPL training, while Ronnie (Jackson) and Joe (Freestone) are already there, proves that we have some promising ability cricketers at Essex who can challenge for titles again this summer.”

Allrounder Moss echoed those sentiments: “The DPL and Disability Cricket is growing and getting stronger each year and I am excited to be part of it.

“The camps were very interesting. The group of players were some of the most talented in the disability game. I think they will bring a lot to the DPL this season.

“It was a good way to judge myself, compete against other players from other counties and see how I faired against them.

“I enjoyed meeting new players, as well as linking up with one or two I’d played against last summer.

“Playing against them is very different to training with them, I was able to find out about them and why they play the game.

“It’s good to be taken out of an environment where you know people and understand the system and how things work, to then have everyone thrown in together and faced with a new challenge and new ideas by new coaches.”

“I felt that my time was well spent. Getting to know and see more from behind the scenes and learning about the other players was the best part of this experience.”

The 2024 DPL gets underway in late August. The respective squads are as follows;

Pirates: Henry Abel (Hampshire), Dan Bowser (Devon), Jai Charan (Middlesex), Anthony Clapham (Surrey), Stephen George (Devon), Dan Hamm (Cheshire), Alex Jervis (Yorkshire), Monty McKenzie (Hampshire), Tom Meskell (Lancashire), Joe Moss (Essex), Jake Oakes (Middlesex), Brendan Parr (Devon), Killian Spencer (Unattached), Cameron Sweeney (Durham), Liam Thomas (Yorkshire), Jordan Williams (Lancashire)

Black Cats: Sammy Ahmed (Warwickshire), Kevin Baker (Shropshire), Angus Brown (Sussex), Nathan Caddell (Middlesex), Cameron Cooper (Yorkshire), James Dixon (Lancashire), Joe Freestone (Essex), Jonny Gale (Surrey), Greg McKenzie (Hampshire), Kieran McKinney (Cheshire), James O’Conner (Yorkshire), Owen Piper (Sussex), Josh Price (Surrey), Dan Reynaldo (Hampshire), Ben Williams (Hampshire), Tayler Young (Surrey)

Hawks: Kevin Cooper (Isle of Wight), Zaghan Farhan (Cheshire), Connor Flaunty (Northamptonshire), Callum Flynn (Lancashire), Jamie Goodwin (Derbyshire), George Greenway (Devon), Alex Hammond (Hampshire), Hugo Hammond (Hampshire), Rob Hewitt (Yorkshire), Ronnie Jackson (Essex), Ben Mason (Middlesex), Farooq Mohammad (Middlesex), Owen Morris (Yorkshire), Jack Perry (Cheshire), Alfie Pyle (Sussex), Herny Wainman (Yorkshire)

Tridents: Matt Bailey (Shropshire), Kyle Clayton (Yorkshire), Jordan Dore (Kent), Chris Edwards (Cheshire), Will Flynn (Hampshire), Daniel Gee (Sussex), Joe Harris (Lancashire), Luke James (Lancashire), Alfie Jeeves (Essex), Sammy Kumar (Middlesex), James Nordin (Middlesex), Liam O’Brien (Sussex), Luke Riley (Yorkshire), Kester Sainsbury (Middlesex), Ben Sutton (Worcestershire), Umesh Valjee (Middlesex)