U.K. Cricket Placement Awardee 2017

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Ben McInnes

Ben McInnes 3

Dan McInnes (Father) “We were told after a 13 year misdiagnosis of a very rare form of JIA to apply for disability support pension for Ben to assist for later in life as he would not play sports or work as a normal young man may expect due to his illness. Coupled with the fact that his education was hindered by spending all of his senior school years hospital or in bed, the pension would be the most appropriate path. “The passion that Ben showed and the determination to not give up and to play cricket and achieve what he has, has made us very proud as parents which goes without saying as it is against all odds. “Ben had been asking how he could help others in some way for 18 months after some success with a new drug as the time in and around hospitals has given him a remarkable outlook and automatically says when asked how he is going “I’m ok, there’s worse off than me” as a result. “As he had asked repeatedly if there were any ways he could get involved in helping I started to research potential avenues to explore. As a level 2 coach who has worked throughout the bush over almost 15 years, I had heard of the Lord’s Taverners and the work they did so googled it one night. “After reading through it I filled in the Adam Gilchrist Scholarship application and thought it may at least open a conversation on where we might start, never thinking that it would lead where it has. “Almost immediately I was cc’d on an email from Stan Gilchrist to Graeme Hoskins, Chairman of the Lords Taverners NNSW branch expressing interest and asking for it to be explored.”

Graeme Hoskins (Chairman of the Cricket Placements Committee): “Lord’s Taverners NNSW began to explore how we could help Ben realise his dream of playing cricket in England, and as we regularly send 3 or 4 players a year to the UK, we had a number of clubs that we could contact before finally settling on the St Alban’s cricket club which is close to London. St Alban’s Chairman, Paul Sands, immediately responded in a very positive manner and the club has provided a wonderful package which includes accommodation and the chance for Ben to be involved in a favourite past time of coaching and helping young players develop. Ben left Australia at the end of April 2016. Lord’s Taverners NNSW has been honoured to have been involved with both Ben and his parents Dan and Sharon over the last 12 months in helping to organise Ben’s placement and feel sure that this will be an absolutely wonderful trip of a life time.”
As an update to this wonderful story, Ben has achieved a number of milestones since arriving at St Alban’s Cricket Club: He attended the 2016 UK Lord’s Taverners Presidents Lunch at the Lords Cricket Ground in the company of past English Captain, Mike Gatting, and met Taverners President, Sir Michael Parkinson. A few weeks later he returned to Lord’s, again as a guest of Gatting to watch a Test Match. In July last year Ben spent a week at the Lords Cricket Ground and operated as a net bowler to both the Sri Lankan and English Test Teams and had a half hour session of bowling individually to Joe Root. Ben is now coaching one of the junior teams at St Alban’s as well as being taught the art of ground and pitch preparation for the club as well as the local schools.

He was awarded Batsman of the Year of St Alban’s Sunday 1st’s for 2016. Pretty good for a bowler!

Just recently, Ben was asked by the club to stay at St Alban’s through the winter period and to play for them again through the 2017 season. He has accepted this offer and will return to Australia in September.

It goes without saying that this  fantastic story of Ben McInnes, the boy from Broome, and his driving passion to overcome his debilitating bout of Juvenile Idiopathic  Arthritis, and to not only play  cricket again but  to play cricket in England, would never have come to pass without the wonderful and ongoing support of Etihad Airlines. Etihad have been a longterm sponsor for the Adam Gilchrist Cricket Scholarship which is administered by our Lord’s Taverners Northern NSW Branch. We sincerely thank everyone at Etihad Airlines for their help and support over the last decade and we look forward to it continuing into the future.