Sparks Regional Talent Manager Lauren Rowles and Operations Manager Beth Gaskell travelled to South Africa for a tour with the England Men’s Learning Disability team earlier this month and came back with a Tri-Series win.
England’s Learning Disability team defeated Australia by eight wickets to take the series title. It was captain Chris Edwards who scored the winning runs after hitting a brilliant half-century to keep England’s unbeaten record in series going – a record that has stood since 2010.
England had won every group game heading into the final back on Sunday 19 November in Johannesburg.
It is a huge achievement for both Rowles and Gaskell, who have been with the Sparks since the establishment in 2020.
England Learning Disability Head coach Rowles was beyond pleased with the achievements of the side over in South Africa, hailing the resilience shown from the players throughout the Tri-Series.
She said: “I’m incredibly proud of the group of staff and players who all contributed to the success of the team.
“Every player performed at their best throughout the competition both on and off the field.”
Operations Manager for the team, Gaskell, echoed the thoughts of Sparks’ lead EPP coach and Talent Manager by saying: “Going into a competition as favourites is never an easy position to be in, but the team took on the challenges headfirst and embraced it.
“They were a dominant side who showcased exceptional skill, teamwork and unwavering determination.”
Having been at the heart of cricket operations for many teams in various tournaments over the years, Gaskell highlighted the personal honour of being involved in an England camp.
She added: “Being a member of the England LD [learning disability] team has been a privilege beyond words. Witnessing the team’s dedication, resilience, and passion on the field fills me with immense pride – not just for the results but for the environment that we have built within the team.
“Working in an environment where every player strives for personal and collective greatness, where challenges are embraced as opportunities, and where dedication to constant improvement is the norm, is a wonderful thing to have been a part of.”
Along with the pleasure and pride from both Gaskell and Rowles, they are also keen on seeing the legacy of England’s Tri-Series win last for a long time for cricket’s disability programme to get better and better.
Rowles said: “It shows how far the disability programme has come, but also the potential for how it can grow over the coming years.”
“The challenge for us now is to remain undefeated as we continue to push the game forward.
“The aim is not just to defend our title, but to raise the standards of excellence in every match. As we move forward, the goal isn’t solely about victories, but about inspiring others, and leaving an enduring legacy of sportsmanship and progress.”