England star Alex Jervis has spoken with pride and emotion after helping Yorkshire’s D40 team win the National Quest Disability title late last month.
Seam bowler Jervis has been a driving force behind Yorkshire’s progression as a force in disability cricket for a number of years now, including setting the wheels in motion for this summer’s tremendous triumph.
Not only has Ashes winner Jervis taken wickets and scored valuable runs, his work behind the scenes has been more important.
“Three years ago, it was me pushing the Yorkshire Cricket Board to try and get a hardball team,” said the England Learning Disability linchpin.
“And seeing the team we put out three years ago to the one we’ve got this summer, it’s unbelievable.”
Yorkshire’s title success this summer has been quite remarkable given this is their first year in the top flight following promotion last September.
A reward for winning the title comes this Sunday at Tring when they play a showcase match against the Lord’s Taverners – an annual tradition. Monty Panesar will captain the Taverners, and David Gower and Mike Gatting will umpire a clash starting at 12.30pm. Yorkshire will be presented with their Quest trophy on the day.
“The plan for this to happen was a lot longer than what’s it taken,” continued Jervis of the title success.
“It’s not as high as I’ve got to in my career, but as an achievement it’s definitely right up there.
“I’m quite overwhelmed by it all because part of my whole ambition was to get Yorkshire back onto the disability map. To win the Championship after starting it all off is amazing.”
Jervis had actually spoken at the start of this summer about how he had considered quitting cricket after falling out of love with the game before a trip to Kenya earlier this year with the Cricket Without Boundaries charity helped him regain that spark.
“I’m very glad I didn’t give up now!” he said.
In 2021, Jervis was named as the Lord’s Taverners Disability Cricketer of the Year and has played for them in past: “It will be nice to play against them this time,” he added.
After Sunday’s fixture, Jervis will again take part in the ECB Disability Premier League competition, starting next Sunday, pitting the best players in England against each other.
Yorkshire won the Quest title on July 30 courtesy of a rainy No Result at Surrey coupled with rivals Lancashire losing at home to Sussex.
In the dressing room before the Surrey game, team manager Owen Jervis – Alex’s father – played good luck messages from Yorkshire captain Shan Masood and Northern Diamonds star Katie Levick.
Jervis senior said: “It was great to have the messages from Shan and Katie.
“When we played those to the players before the game, they seemed to get it that the big players within the club know we’re playing and are behind us. It made a big difference.
“From my perspective, it’s clearly been a difficult time at Headingley over the last couple of years. So for us to be able to bring back some silverware is fantastic.
“It’s a fantastic achievement for everyone.
“I want to mention those behind the scenes as well, and I’ve already nominated them for an award.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without the people behind the scenes – officials, umpires, scorers, parents – all those who make the game tick.”
Regular captain Gordon Laidlaw is unavailable for Sunday’s Lord’s Taverners clash, so Owen has named Matt Bateman as stand-in skipper for the day.
“This is a great opportunity for Yorkshire to put on a show and do what we can,” said Jervis.
“We’ve won the title, and the ECB have almost marketed this as part of the prize. There’s no pressure on us. It’s a day to be enjoyed. But bringing the trophy back home to Headingley will be a much bigger deal for our players.”
He added: “We’ve got a few things going on after this game, more long-term. We want to look at more opportunity for young disabled players and to promote disability sport throughout the county.
“We have a product for every disabled person who wants to play cricket, and I look forward to helping get Yorkshire at the forefront of disability cricket in England. We’ve been followers for a while. Now it’s time for us to pick up the baton and lead.”
Yorkshire squad v Lord’s Taverners: Matt Bateman c, Archie Atkins-Sloan w, William Baxter, Kyle Clayton, Cameron Cooper, Rob Hewitt, Alex Jervis, John Kenwood-Nash, Adam Marshall, Owen Morris, James O’Conner, Luke Riley, Jasper Spooner, Cameron Sweeney.