IN what will be a first for Mid North Coast cricket a Gloucester X1 will take on the NSW blind side on Sunday at Gloucester.
"I understand the Gloucester team will feature some of the under 17s along with the men's side,'' Blind Sports and Recreation NSW/ACT general manager Jason Stubbs said.
The NSW blind side will include two Gloucester players, versatile athlete Courtney Webeck and Lincoln Muddle.
"Lincoln only joined us about six weeks ago,'' Jason said.
"At the first session he attended he mentioned how all his mates play cricket and footy. I said 'mate, we can come and play against your mates'.
"It all went from there and everything is organised for this weekend. We'll drive up there on Saturday and play the locals in a T20 game on Sunday.''
The NSW blind side will include players in three divisions.
"We have B1, which is totally blind, B2 is less than five per cent vision and B3 is less than 10 per cent,'' Jason explained.
"The rules are pretty much like cricket, except we bowl underarm; we use a different ball, it has a rattle in it; we use metal stumps, so they can rattle and we have a line halfway down the wicket.
We want to make the sighted clubs more aware that someone who is visually impaired can still play cricket.- NSW blind cricket coach Jason Stubbs
"The ball must bounce at least twice to be legal and the B1 players must bowl 40 per cent of the overs. But pretty much everything else is like mainstream cricket.''
Jason said Blind Cricket NSW attempts to organise matches against mainstream sides as often as possible.
"We want to make the sighted clubs more aware that someone who is visually impaired can still play cricket,'' he said.
"The other reason is that we don't have our own ground. Blind cricket really needs to be played on turf wickets, so we use the grounds where our opposition side plays.
"It's also a bit more of a challenge for my players.''
Jason's son, Oscar, will be in the NSW side. He has represented Australia in the Commonwealth Games for swimming and has also been in the national vision impaired football (soccer) side and the Australian visually impaired cricket team.
Oscar is also an ambassador for Blind Sports Australia.
There'll be 14 players in the NSW squad and Jason assured they're not coming here for a weekend away. It'll be a competitive game, he said.
"We'll give them a run for their money,'' Jason promised.
Jason is in the process of organising a trophy for Sunday's winning team.
"If everything goes well, we'd like to come up every year,'' he said.
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