Cricket legend James Hildreth visited the Somerset Disabled Cricket Team at Millfield this week. The Somerset County Cricket Club legend spent a training session with the growing Somerset Disabled Cricket Club to promote the Club and encourage new players to consider joining.

He supported the lead coach from Millfield, Henry Hunt in the delivery of the session to 18 players, from across Somerset, taking them through some batting, bowling and fielding drills.

Watch a video from the session below – transcript of speech at the bottom of this story.

The Club are looking for more players to join them, as they venture into pastures new by entering a hardball team into a national league, as well as looking to grow and introduce new players into one of their three teams, Dragons, Super and D40.

James became an ambassador for Somerset Cricket Foundation earlier this year after retiring from professional cricket and adds his support and commitment to the wide-ranging activities the charity delivers. The former Millfield student spent his entire playing career at Somerset, playing more than 700 matches and scoring in excess of 27,000 runs across all formats, including 46 hundreds.

James Hildreth talking to a Somerset Disabled player.

Somerset Disabled Cricket Club compete in the ECB National Disability County Cricket Championships in both the D40 Pursuit League and the Super 9s South West division. They play their home games at both Ilton & Taunton Deane Cricket Club on Sunday afternoons and matches are contested with an incrediball for Super 9’s and hardball for D40.

James said: “It’s amazing to be back at Millfield, it holds so many special memories for me. I came here as a ten-year-old, up until I finished at eighteen. And in this Sports Hall, I did a lot of my training, so I have many good memories. Mark Davis was my coach, and Richard Ellison was the master in charge of cricket at the time and really it was here that my love for cricket grew. And now tonight to see links again between Millfield and Somerset, is really good to see. It was brilliant to come down and be with the Somerset Disability Squad and really look to identify talent for the season. It’s right at the beginning of their journey going into next season, and at the moment we’re trying to find players not just from Somerset, but we’ve got players coming up from Devon.”

Mark Garaway, Millfield’s Director of Cricket said: “It has been fantastic for Millfield School to support the Somerset Disabled Team with their preparation for the hard ball and soft ball competitions next summer. One of our coaches, Henry Hunt has led the winter sessions magnificently with support from our group of excellent Student-Coaches. It was fantastic to be able to welcome back Somerset Legend, James Hildreth to the school and to get his support for the Somerset Squad.”

James Hildreth holds onto bowlers left arm, coaching him on his bowling position.

To play for the County team, all players must meet a recognised level of physical or learning disability or hearing impairment.

Training sessions take place on Wednesday evenings at Millfield. Anyone interested can visit: https://somersetcricketfoundation.org/disability/somerset-disabled-cc/ and sign up to join.

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VIDEO SUBTITLES:

It’s amazing to be back at Millfield, it holds so many special memories for me. I came here as a 10 year old up until I finished at 18. And in this Sports Hall, I did a lot of my training so, so many good memories. Mark Davis was my coach, and Richard Ellison was the master in charge of cricket at the time and really, my cricket grew here. And now tonight to see links again between Millfield and Somerset, is really good to see. So yeah, amazing to be back. And to get my hands stuck into coaching has been brilliant.

So that my role as an Ambassador for the Foundation. I thought it was brilliant tonight to come down and, be at Millfield with the Somerset Disability Squad and really looking to identify talent for the season. It’s right at the beginning of their journey going into next season, and at the moment we’re trying to find players not just from Somerset, but we’ve got players coming up from Devon.

So bringing some people together in an environment where they can have nets as we’ve put on here, and when they’re batting, bowling and understanding what skill levels their at, to then take them forward on their journey, planning with them to go into the next season, hopefully getting as many playing for Somerset as possible.

But you know, I’ve been so impressed by the standards so far, really inspiring some of the players here and their journeys that they’re on, and how they’re using cricket as a force for good in their lives as well. So yeah, a really good experience.