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DISABILITY CRICKET: Sussex's Bridges helps England to victory


England this morning beat Pakistan by 19 runs in a thrilling finale to win the inaugural ICRC T20 Tournament for people with physical disabilities, as Sussex's Fred Bridges starred with figures of 4 for 24.

Bridges, who is a Level 2 Coach, runs the weekly Horsham Disability Hub that Sussex run in partnership with Horsham District Council. He also works as a Chance 2 Shine Schools Coach and assists with the coaching of Sussex's Junior & Adult LD/PD County Squads.

He has played for the England Disability team since its inception in 2010, and the spinner also plays for Broadbridge Heath Cricket Club in the West Sussex Invitation League. 

England won the toss and elected to bat first, starting well with the opening partnership of Gordon Laidlaw and Alex Hammond posting 70 before Laidlaw nicked one behind and went for 40 off 28 balls.

Shortly after Laidlaw’s dismissal Hammond pulled a short ball into his stumps for 30 off 28.

Jamie Goodwin and Callum Flynn then settled in and continued through the innings at a steady rate until Goodwin was dismissed for 18 off a great catch by Pakistan fielder Rehan Gani.

Captain Iain Nairn entered the fray and combined well with Flynn to add to England’s tally before being run out for 10 in the 18th over.

However, England were in a strong position by this stage and Flynn and new batsman Jordan Williams finished with a flourish, scoring 32 runs off the last two overs as part of a tournament-record 175 for four.

With rain threatening and thunder in the air, England’s bowlers looked to lay down an early marker. The breakthrough came in the fifth over with Bridges taking the wicket of opener Alam, who fell for 39.

Bridges proved outstanding throughout, eventually posting figures of four for 19 from four overs.

Dan Hamm followed with another wicket shortly after Alam’s dismissal and by the end of the seventh over Pakistan were three for 51.

Pakistan continued to notch up the runs with Rehan Gani top run scorer on 36 off 25 balls, and going into the final over they needed 24 to win. Their final tally of 156 for seven was not enough and England crowned a fantastic performance with a 19-run win.

Speaking immediately after the game, captain Nairn said: “We are just so proud to have won the first ever multi-national cricket tournament. It is an incredible feeling.

“Eighteen months ago we lost to Pakistan in Dubai and today to show how we have grown is just amazing.”

England's path to the title included group wins against India, Pakistan and Afghanistan and a number of impressive team and individual performances – Bridges' dominant bowling display resulting in a man-of-the-match award in today's game while Flynn was named both batsman of the series and player of the series.

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