Refusing to stumped by losing his sight

Digital StillCamera
Digital StillCamera

THE dad-of-three is determined not to let the rare eye condition stop him from enjoying the other love of his life – cricket.

Russ had always played the sport since leaving school, including in the RAF and for club side Richmond, so he was delighted when a friend introduced him to visually impaired cricket four years ago.

A few players helped form the North East Eagles.

Finding enough members proved tough, but an open day held in Durham last summer attracted more.

Aided by training sessions led by Ron Young, Durham County Cricket Club’s coach and disability development officer, Durham Visually Impaired Cricket Club was formed last September.

He said: “It was nice to be able to pick up a bat again.

“I never thought I would get the chance to play again, that’s why I love it so much.

“There are people on our team who were born with no sight at all so for them to be able to play in a team sport is quite something.

“It’s a good sense of achievement.

“Even when you lose a game it’s still fantastic to play and the sense of exhilaration when you do win is great.”

Funding from the Coalfield Regeneration Trust paid for the team’s kit and helps the club travel all over the country to take on other visually impaired sides.

The rules of blind cricket are very similar to those of standard cricket.

The main difference is the ball is a small football with ball bearings inside to help the batsmen hear it coming.

The stumps are also slightly bigger and players get extra help during the game according to their level of sight.

Those considered totally blind are allowed a runner when batting and their runs are worth double.

They are also allowed to catch the ball if it has bounced once.

Durham Visually Impaired Cricket Club has members from all over the North-East aged from 14 to 50.

To find out more information call Russ on 07826 595208.