How Sussex Cricket Foundation has broken new ground

As the Community Cricket Director for Sussex Cricket my role encompasses a range of objectives, in the main I am responsible for all recreational cricket across the County up to the professional level, writes Gary Wallis-Tayler.

I work with a team of 22 people which includes three Territory Managers, a Disability Cricket Manager, Cricket Development Managers and a number of coaches. As a team we work together across Sussex to increase inclusivity within the game and provide opportunities for everybody to get involved with the sport we love.

Our main mission is to actively change lives trough the power of cricket, whilst also looking to grow the game, tackle inequalities and inspire the next generation of cricketers. We look to ensure the cricket is accessible for all ages, abilities and genders. So far it has been an amazingly successful year for the Sussex Cricket Foundation, highlighted by our flagship event, DIScoverABILITY Day.

DIScoverABILITY Day is one of the largest mass disability sport events in the South East and aims to provide an unforgettable experience in a unique setting.

DIScoverABILITY Day was a huge success in the sunshine at Hove

The community event involves people from Sussex-based schools, colleges, charities, day centres, care homes and community groups enjoying a fun-filled day out at Hove.

This year we had 580 participants from 25 organisations, with the help and support of 90 volunteers from local businesses and secondary schools. We were fortunate enough to have the event covered by sussexworld.co.uk, BBC Radio Sussex, BBC South East Today and ITV Meridian. For those who were involved, it was brilliant not only for them to take part in the day, but also to catch a glimpse of themselves on TV!

On the following Sunday we broke a number of records, as The 1st Central County Ground hosted the first ever disability cricket fixture to be played at a first-class ground. Sussex D40 side took on Surrey, and beat them by 118 runs in front of over 350 people!

Gary Wallis-Tayler at Hove with Matt Parsons, a Sussex Foundation Cricket coach

It was a fantastic occasion and was marked in spectacular fashion by yet another record, as Sussex batter Alfie Pyle scored the first ever century in D40 cricket. Alfie made 162 runs and had the privilege of raising his bat to the crowd at Hove, something that will live forever in the memories of all of us that were lucky enough to be there.

Looking forward, we are once again opening our doors at The 1st Central County Cricket Ground to all primary and secondary schools across the County to come and watch Sussex in action on Day 1 of our LV=Insurance Championship game against Leicestershire this Monday (11 June).

I believe by giving these opportunities to school children within Sussex, we will hopefully inspire them to get involved themselves one day. We will be welcoming nearly 800 students, some of which will be attending a sporting event for the first times in their lives.

The Sussex Cricket Foundation does a tremendous amount of work in our local communities, and I am extremely proud of what we have achieved so far, but we will not stop there. To find out more about the great work my team and club does, please contact [email protected]