Northamptonshire disabled cricket club turns to community to pay for upcoming season
A disabled cricket club in Northamptonshire needs the community's help to raise enough money to keep the team going.
Northants Disability County Cricket Club has started an online fundraising appeal with a target of £4,000 to pay for the next two seasons.
The club wants to buy new helmets and shirts for the players, as well as cover the cost of travelling all over the country for its matches.
Founder and coach Andy Hill said: "The cost of cricket is spiralling year-on-year.
"This year we've had issues getting kit with the new regulations so we're trying to get a new shirt and helmet for each player."
The disabled team gets some funding from the England and Wales Cricket Board as a section of the able-bodied county team, which covers the cost of training at The County Ground.
But the rest they have to fund themselves, including the players of all ages who have to pay for their equipment when many of them do not work because of their disabilities.
The club, which was founded in 2012, accepts any disabilities to be more inclusive, but that means it is harder to enter certain leagues and get funding.
"It's one of those sports where you have to spend a lot before you even step onto the grass - it's one of the hardest sports to fund but one of the most rewarding too," Andy said.
Highlights over the years for Steelbacks include nurturing eight England players, six regional players and previous World Cup winners.
Last season the club won against Wales, Derby and Essex in the league and hosted an annual match against a team representing the Help for Heroes charity.
Stafford-Sharp Associates is helping the club with its fundraising appeal by setting up the GoFundMe page and sharing the word on social media.
Darren Sharp, from the Silverstone-based recruitment agency, got involved as his 12-year-old son Alfie plays for Northants having partially lost his sight due to epilepsy.
"Let's see if we can help the club and get people to invest in their pride as sport helps everybody, whether you're able-bodied or disabled," he said.
To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/northants-disability-county-cricket-club