Choose cricket and you won’t be disappointed. That is the message from Susan Hewitt, mother of Yorkshire and England star Rob, to any disabled youngster with a sporting interest.
On International Women’s Day, we caught up with Susan, whose contribution to, and love for, Yorkshire disability cricket has been significant over the last decade and a half.
Like any parent, she has put the miles in supporting 28-year-old all-rounder Rob, who has been playing for the county for the last 16 years and England for the last nine.
The family home backs onto Stamford Bridge CC near York, where Rob plays in the second team and where his sister Louise scores. In fact, Louise has now started scoring for the county’s disabled sides.
“I don’t think some people realise how much they can develop through playing cricket,” says Susan.
“It’s not just about the technical skills, it is about the team sport element helping them develop life skills. It’s absolutely huge.
“It teaches team play, sharing, skills which are so vital – especially to those with learning disabilities. It’s also crucial in helping them feel like they belong.”
There are currently two women playing in the Yorkshire disability system – Lucy Taylor and Claire Domville, who both play for the Terriers side.
Obviously, Susan Hewitt would be keen to see more women and girls involved, though her advice is not just limited to females.
“Cricket is a very inclusive sport,” she said. “I just think it’s a sport which fosters such a relaxed environment.
“If players are able to progress and get into Yorkshire and even England squads, for them to be able to go away as a team and learning social skills of being around hotels, mixing with others, it’s huge.
“For the likes of Rob and Alex Jervis, they’ve developed hugely as people. They’ve got jobs. And a lot of that has been through going to cricket.
“Cricket does seem to have more patience than some other sports, and is definitely more family orientated.
“You can take your picnic, and other siblings can be involved given they can run around on the other side of the boundary, play with others, things like that
“There is no doubt that Rob would have had a completely different life if he hadn’t got involved in cricket.”