Two Nescot students have been chosen to represent England in an international cricket competition.
Jon Gale and Tayler Young, who both study Sport, will fly out to Melbourne on Sunday (March 8) to play four one-day internationals and two T20 matches against Australia with the Learning Disabilities squad.
Jon, who is 20 and from Dorking, has also been revealed as an ambassador for national campaign My Sport My Voice, which aims to raise the profile of UK elite athletes who have a learning disability.
The Learning Disabilities matches are between March 17 and 24, while the Cricket World Cup is currently being hosted in Australia and New Zealand, with the final on March 29. The Ashes series will be played in England in July and August.
"I’m really looking forward to our matches, and also the experience of travelling and getting to see Australia," said Jon, who is an opening batsman and a first-year Level 3 BTEC student.
"I’m feeling really optimistic – I’m probably the most optimistic in the team. Last time I didn’t perform to the best of my ability, but this is my chance to prove what I can do.
"I hope that by having the Cricketing World Cup in Australia at the time and the Ashes this summer will help our team to get a bit more coverage."
Jon has autism, while Tayler was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age. Both students are aiming to become cricket coaches in the future, and both were part of the team that won the Learning Disabilities Tri-Series in South Africa in 2011.
Below, the England Learning Disabilities squad in South Africa in 2011, and above the 2015 squad - both photos courtesy of England Cricket Board
"One of the things I love about cricket is that you learn so much from it, like teamwork and communication,” added Jon, who has also competed at national level in dressage.
"For example, I have been working with the coaches on taking in information. It’s helping me to get better at processing more information at once and on concentrating, which is helping me at college."
Tayler, 19 and from Chessington, is studying the Level 2 BTEC in Sport and is a cricketing all-rounder.
"I can’t believe we’re going to Australia, I’m really excited,” he said. "We’ve got a strong squad and we’ve been training hard, so hopefully we’ll do well."
Neil Barnett, Head of Sport at Nescot, said: "We’re very proud of Jon and Tayler. We’ll be following their matches online, and we know they’ll both do well."
This month’s competition would have been a Tri-Series but South Africa withdrew. The last Tri-Series, held in South Africa in 2011, saw Jon and Tayler help England to victory.
The matches this month will be the first time the England side has faced Australia since 2011, and head coach Derek Morgan said he is feeling optimistic about his team’s chances.
"We are really confident that we are doing all we can for our players and giving them the platform to go and play," he said.
"If we can do that then we will be very competitive and can make a real impact over there, because I think this is the best-prepared LD squad we have ever had in place."
You can follow the matches online here.