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Bowled Over in Barbados

Photo of cricket team in Barbados

SRSB client and volunteer Martin Wilson has just achieved what must be every cricket fan’s dream trip – an International tour against the West Indies. He spent ten days out in Barbados as a coach for the UK Women and Girls Visually Impaired Cricket Team. 

“It’s been a manic, whirlwind eighteen months. I’d not long been a coach when I was drafted in to train the UK team. As a VI cricketer I have spent years trying to get into the England squad, but now I am a coach at international level - that’s as good,” said Martin, 56, who has very limited vision due to Stargardt Disease. 

Photo of cricket team in Barbados

Martin played a key role on the coaching team for the squad of 18 women and girls, aged from 15 to 74, who travelled out to the Caribbean and came back celebrating success. “We beat them 4-1 so I would say that was very successful. We played 3 development matches and 2 International games. I have also been invited to go back and coach the West Indies team, which is quite a pat on the back for me, so I must have been doing something right even though I am visually impaired.”

Photo of Martin on a beach in Barbados

Martin believes that as a VI cricketer himself he has the edge over sighted coaches because he has a basic understanding of people’s needs. “Everyone has different sight levels, different levels of fitness we start with the basics and build on that. We were complimented on how well organised our girls were.” 

His role as coach gives Martin a great deal of satisfaction because he believes that sport is a good way of encouraging visually impaired people to be independent. 

“Taking girls on who have never been able to see a game of cricket and explaining this is the ball, these are the stumps, it’s slow progress but then they get to play in an international game.”

As well as going back to coach cricket in Barbados is also trying help visually impaired children in schools in by sending out equipment for them.

“The cricket kit we can help with but if anyone at SRSB has any sight aids they are not using magnifying glasses, talking watches, anything sitting in a cupboard they are not using if they could bring it in and I will arrange for it to be sent out. I made memories I will never forget and I would like to do something to help.”

We were very grateful to Sheffield Cricket Lover's Society for their support with Martin's trip.

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