‘Just desserts and totally deserved’ – Letchworth disabled cricketer presented with national award by Mark Ramprakash at The Oval
- Credit: Archant
A Letchworth cricketer who bounced back from spinal conditions affecting his movement to bring sport to the disabled has won national recognition for his efforts.
Letchworth Cricket Club’s Andy Catherell, Herts disabled county captain and lead coach, was on the pitch at The Oval on Friday to receive an outstanding contribution award from the England and Wales Cricket Board, with former England Test star Mark Ramprakash making the presentation.
Andy has collapsing lower vertebrae and two prolapsed discs in his back, and uses a wheelchair – but his coaching work over the last five years has helped to send the number of disabled cricketers in Herts sky-rocketing from 24 to more than 700.
“To get this award is really nice, and it was fantastic to go to The Oval and meet Mark Ramprakash and a few of the current England team, but I don’t feel like the job’s really done,” the 39-year-old said.
“There’s still more people we can get out and help. I don’t do this for any other reason than helping people and to get them involved.
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“We just want people to have fun and go away with a smile on their face – that’s more important to us than producing a Test cricketer!”
Andy said he would like to thank Herts Cricket’s head of disabled cricket Richard Hill, who helped him get back into cricket.
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“Without him none of this would have happened,” said Andy.
“I was in a really bad place, and cricket offered me a way out of that negativity back to doing something positive to help. It was quite therapeutic for me as well as helping others.”
Andy has been able to return to mainstream cricket as well, and is now in his second season back in the Letchworth team – he keeps wicket and bats with the help of a runner.
“Letchworth have been really supportive, and so have the Saracens League,” said Andy.
“It sends a good strong message when people see someone in a wheelchair playing cricket.”
Richard Hill told the Comet that Andy had become integral to disabled cricket in Hertfordshire.
“Andy does the lion’s share of the work and I’ve got to say he is really good,” said Richard.
“He’s a real people person and he’s got exactly the right character to get people to take part.
“He’s pretty unique as a coach who uses a wheelchair. I think a lot of the groups he works with are empathetic because they see he has a disability as well.
“We tailor what we do because the types of groups we work with vary greatly.
“Andy always gets it exactly right, and that’s a real skill.
“This award is absolutely just desserts, and totally deserved.”
For more look on Facebook for the Hertfordshire Disabled Cricket Association.