On Wednesday the 10th of April, Cricket Scotland hosted its first ever Visually Impaired (VI) cricket match. The event took place at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow which saw the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) take on the Glasgow City Councillors (GCC) in a thrilling display of cricket.
The purpose of arranging this match was to highlight the lack of sporting opportunities available to those who suffer visual impairment and to promote cricket as a sport within this community.
The day began with a welcoming speech from the Chair of Cricket Scotland, Tony Brian, before the games got underway. It was hard not to notice the immediate friendly competitiveness amongst the teams.
It was interesting to see those who do not have a visual impairment wear simulation specs, these glasses came in various forms and distorted the vision of the players so the competition would be fair for both teams. The glasses are designed to create and raise awareness of the different kinds of visual impairments that people have, such as, tunnel vision, only peripheral vision and we even had sleep shades that would remove all vision.
The RNIB elected to field first putting the GCC’s quickly under pressure who had to adjust to their newfound visual impairment. All of our bowlers bowled underarm, however, a spectacular display of accuracy from team RNIB, seeing the fall of 5 wickets. The GCC’s struggled to adjust to the simulation glasses and were left short of runs.
After their innings was complete the GCC’s had set the RNIB 59 to chase. The GCC’s had a blast trying to bat and were excited to field in the search for victory. It didn’t take long for the RNIB players to adjust, however, when they found their form the chase was well and truly on as they racked up the runs. The GCC’s were quick in the field and managed to stop the flow of runs and even managed to get a few run outs, unfortunately, it was not enough as the RNIB clinched the game with wickets in hand.
All in all, it was a great experience enjoyed by everybody!
It was also great to see players of Cricket Scotland’s Men’s National Team, as well as head coach Shane Burger and High Performance manager Simon Smith, attend the event. The RNIB players weren’t holding back and some of their squad even showed Shane and Simon a skill or two!
Madison Garland, Disability Development Officer, said “By hosting this game we could help raise the profile of not only VI cricket but of disability sport, by making those who do not have a visual impairment aware of the struggles that those who do go through on a daily basis.
“We have also highlighted the lack of sporting opportunities within this community, the councillors have promised to help us create more opportunities for those with a visual impairment. The day was enjoyed by all and I can not wait to organise the next event”.
We would like to say thank you to all those who supported the event, RNIB, Glasgow City Councillors, Scottish Cricketers Association, Shane Burger (National Head Coach), Simon Smith (High Performance Manager), Glasgow Sport Kelvin Hall, Omar Khokhar and team, Tony Brian (Cricket Scotland Chairman) and Councillor Saqib Ahmed.