Hackney’s Richard Barnes plays cricket with Middlesex stars

Richard Barnes in bowling action (Pic: Nick Webster)

Richard Barnes in bowling action (Pic: Nick Webster) - Credit: Archant

It’s not everyday you bowl out a top-class player at the Home of Cricket - but now Hackney’s Richard Barnes can say he’s done exactly that.

The 22-year-old was at Lord’s to help launch the expansion of the Super1s, a programme giving young people aged 12-25 with disabilities the chance to regularly play cricket, thanks to the Lord’s Taverners.

But he wasn’t alone at cricket HQ, joined by other participants of inclusive sports club, No Limits, as well as Middlesex’s Nick Gubbins, Toby Roland-Jones, John Simpson and Tom Barber.

And it was Barnes who was left celebrating a prized scalp in the indoor school, bamboozling an opener many have tipped for England honours later this year.

“I got Nick Gubbins out, I had a good straight arm and kept my concentration – I’d just bowled three wides before so it was good to get him,” he explained.

“I kept doing the action I’ve been taught with the Super1s and Super9s, I’ve been there for six years so it’s been about learning from that.

“We went to Lord’s to meet Middlesex players, they were all really nice and I’d never met them before so it was really good.

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“I’ve been to Lord’s quite a few times, mostly for competitions, but nothing like this.

“Playing cricket has really helped me, I first started when I was ten and it has changed my life.

“I used to do football a lot but I always got injured, yet since I started playing cricket, I haven’t been injured once in six years.

“I love bowling - fielding and batting are okay for me as well but I bowl quite accurately which is good.”

Super 1s provides young people with a chance to realise their potential, both on and off the pitch, enabling them to discover what they can do, not what they can’t, and become role models for their peers.

Now the programme - which started in four London boroughs and now operates in them all - is expanding, with Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Yorkshire the next latest areas set to benefit from the initiative.

And with county and regional finals held at iconic venues including Edgbaston, Emirates Old Trafford and Lord’s itself, there is certainly the opportunity for skills to hit the spotlight.

And Gubbins knows better than anyone the impact Super1s can have for talent across the country.

“I got bowled around my legs trying to play a paddle shot – it probably wasn’t the right shot to play in that situation but the lad is a good bowler, he was getting the ball to move away from me quite nicely,” he said.

“It was really good fun, there was good fun and banter flying around from the kids and everyone looked like they were enjoying themselves which is what it is all about.

“That’s why we play the game, there’s a chance to build some friendships with one another and there’s the opportunity to develop those skills for other life situations that they wouldn’t otherwise get.

“To get the chance to play at Lord’s - you don’t get those opportunities anywhere else.”

Super 1s is a national disability cricket programme, run by the Lord’s Taverners, which provides disabled young people aged 12-25 the opportunity to engage in cricket within a community hub environment, providing regular opportunities to compete against peers and enjoy the benefits of sport and an active lifestyle.