April 21, 2024

Alfie Pyle: A disabled cricketer defies bullies to make his England debut

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Alfie Pyle represented the D40 teams in England and Sussex

Alfie Bale has already achieved something big in his cricket career – he has beaten the bullies.

Bale made his debut for the England Disabled Cricket (D40) team during the winter, having previously stopped playing due to bullying at school.

Pyle, who suffers from a learning and speech disability, said the bullying he experienced affected his self-confidence.

“I couldn't concentrate on playing cricket,” Bale said.

“I was bullied at school, lost some confidence and stopped playing cricket for a little while, which didn't really help me.”

The 21-year-old recently became the first cricketer to play for England after going through the Super 1s programme.

The Super 1s were created by Lord's Taverners, the UK's leading youth and disability cricket charity.

The program targets young people aged between 12 and 25 with disabilities and gives them the opportunity to play competitive cricket on a regular basis. It runs in every county, as well as Scotland and Wales, and is the first gaming program of its kind.

Bale has spent four years with the Super 1s and has reaped the rewards. After impressing there as a player, he not only broke into the Sussex D40 side, but also gained international recognition, playing for England's Learning Disabilities side in a tri-series against Australia and South Africa.

He made his debut for England in November against Australia in Pretoria and appeared seven times, finishing with a batting average of 31.

Image source, Bars of the Lord

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Alfie Bale trains during a Super 1s session at the K2 Center in Crawley, Sussex

“I first started playing cricket when I was five years old, and as I grew up I played two years more than I did,” Bale said.

“Now I've forgotten about the bullies and I'm playing cricket again. I'm proud, everyone is proud of me.”

Bale also starred for Sussex last summer, scoring 162 points in a match against Surrey, while playing in the 2023 Disability Premier League televised final.

“The Super 1s have been great for me, it’s a good experience,” Pyle said. “I want other kids to be able to follow my example and hopefully play for England soon.”

Away from cricket, Pyle is studying the RHS Level 2 Certificate in Horticulture at Princebury College in Pulborough, Sussex.

Pyle's goal is to have more opportunities in the sport, as well as continuing his training and school work.

His message to anyone with a disability who has not tried the sport they want is to try it and give themselves the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of sport.

“Keep doing what you're doing,” Pyle said. “If you're struggling, if you don't want to play cricket or do anything, just take a breath and come back in the next session. We hope you feel better and enjoy it.”

“I don't really like to see people with disabilities suffering, I just want them to be happy and do what they do.”

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