A Nescot Sport student met his cricketing heroes at Lord’s on Monday (September 21), after being part of the team that won the INAS International Cricket Series against Australia in March.
Jon Gale travelled down under with England’s learning disability side, winning three one-day internationals and two T20 matches to take the series 5-1.
On Monday the 21-year-old, who lives in Dorking, was invited to a reception hosted by the ECB and met members of the men’s and women’s first teams, as well as the physical disability squad.
Jon met batsman Ian Bell MBE, who has played in five winning Ashes series, current Test captain Alastair Cook MBE, and all-rounder Moeen Ali, who won the Ashes with England this summer.
“The ECB wanted to celebrate an amazing summer of English cricket, so there was a lot of people there,” said Jon, a second-year Level 3 student.
“Alastair Cook gave a speech where he said that regardless of things like disabilities we are all part of the same cricketing family of the ECB, and we all represent one another.
“That really meant a lot to me, and I thought it was a really nice thing to say.”
Jon, who has autism, played in Australia alongside former Nescot Sport student Tayler Young, who was diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age.
He said he had been excited to have a look around Lord’s, but had been most excited to meet his personal hero, Iain Bell MBE.
“His passion for the game is quite incredible,” said Jon, who is also an ambassador for national campaign My Sport My Voice and captains Surrey Cricket Club’s team for players with disabilities.
“He has really inspired me with the amount he gives back to the game and made me think about the way I approach cricket.”
The INAS International Cricket Series has been played as a biennial tri-series since 2005, but South Africa was not involved this year.
Jon and Tayler were both in the team that won the last tri-series, held in South Africa in 2011. The 2017 tournament will be hosted in England.
Neil Barnett, Head of Sport and Uniformed Public Services at Nescot, said: “We’re all really proud of both Jon and Tayler for their success in March, and going to the ECB’s reception was a great experience for them.”