The launch of the first of four Super 1s hubs across the county took place at University Centre Somerset in Taunton on Wednesday evening.
Super 1s is a national project designed to give young people with disabilities the chance to regularly play cricket. Local sessions take place weekly during term time and are aimed at 12 to 25-year-olds. The sessions are fun, played with a softer ball and teach the basics of cricket, plus they are free to attend.
The first session, was run by Somerset Cricket Board Community Coach, Andrew Skidmore, and was attended by Somerset players Eddie Byrom and Paul van Meekeren.
Afterwards Steve Gass, Participation & Growth Development Officer for SCB said: “The launch of our first Lord Taverners Super 1s session attracted a good turn out and has gone very well.
“The large majority of those present were new to cricket which is brilliant and exactly who this initiative is aimed at.
“On Monday we will be launching a Super 1s hub in Bridgwater. This will be followed by one in Bath on Wednesday and one in Yeovil on Thursday.
“The idea behind Super 1s is to provide these young people with the opportunity to play sport, meet new people and make new friendships. Through Super 1s they will also play competitive fixtures against other hubs in Somerset.”
Regarding the presence of two Somerset professionals Steve said: “It’s great to see Eddie Byrom and Paul van Meekeren coming along and joining in. Once again we’ve got great support from the County Club.”
Following the session, both of the Somerset players gave their wholehearted endorsement to the Super 1s initiative. “This is an exciting development,” said Eddie. “We want to get as many people involved with playing cricket as possible. In addition to them developing cricket skills this will also help them to develop skills for life as well.
“We love getting involved with the community. It’s important that we support these sorts of initiatives and help out where we can. It’s great to have been a part of this first session.”
Dutch international Paul van Meekeren was equally as enthusiastic about the new scheme. “It’s always good to be able to come along to events like this and help people play cricket.
“One of the most important things about this is that people can come along to these sessions and get to interact with one another. It’s a great way to develop their social skills and introduce them to cricket at the same time.”