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Millburn Academy pupils in Inverness growing in confidence and skill thanks to disability cricket sessions

By Andrew Henderson

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The latest round of cricket coaching for additional support needs pupils at Millburn Academy recently culminated in a tense match.

Training sessions see children from all different age groups taking part alongside supporting teachers, learning how to work together and gain confidence as well as picking up skills in sport.

Such was their progress, coach Kim Neill felt the time was right to have a friendly competition – splitting the group in two to play against each other.

Kim Neill has been coaching cricket for ASN pupils at Millburn Academy for the last few years.
Kim Neill has been coaching cricket for ASN pupils at Millburn Academy for the last few years.

It is a mark of how much ever player has developed that there was only one run separating the two teams in the end, but there were some particular stand-outs that Neill felt were particularly deserving of acknowledgement.

Jayme-Lei Steele was awarded the most improved player in the sessions. She added 15 runs in her two overs batting, as well as taking two wickets when bowling and claiming another run out on top of that.

Craig MacInnes, a strong all-rounder, and batter Jami Miah received leadership accreditations, while Sana Salam received a similar accolade for dedication.

"Some of these children struggled in the beginning to have enough confidence to take part in the sessions," Neill reflected.

"Jayme-Lei's progress has been incredible over the past few weeks, which has given her so much confidence.

"Craig has been playing cricket in the group for two years now, and his leadership is valued by all. Jami is very helpful and is always ready to take the bat, and Salam is very enthusiastic – always ready to throw the ball back to the bowler to make sure they are ready.

"The children have gained a lot of confidence during these sessions, they have learnt a new skill and have learned to work together.

"Sport in general is difficult for those that have additional needs. They struggle to cope the older they get due to their disability, so I am so happy that they can play a sport in their own environment where they can flourish at their own pace, and I am really happy with their achievements and their growth."

A Millburn Academy representative added: "Our ASN pupils here at Millburn have gained so much from our sessions with Kim for Cricket.

"We have seen pupils increase in confidence, skills and respect for others. The team work aspect is amazing and encouraging and this is a highlight of our week."

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