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Former Hereford cricketer is a key figure in Blind Ashes series
A FORMER Hereford cricketer has been a key figure in the three-match Blind Ashes series.
David Townley is chairman of Blind Cricket England and Wales and the president of the World Blind Cricket Council. Hereford-born-and-raised David was part of the presentation party, including former England Test captain MJK Smith, which handed the Ashes to Australia. “Australia won the Ashes 3-0,” said 60-year-old David, who played mainstream cricket for Hereford City Sports, Wormelow and Gamecock.
“It was a little disappointing from an England point of view because it’s the first time that Australia have won the Ashes.
“But there was not much between the sides and, in the first Ashes game, one of the Australian bowlers took four wickets in an over and that changed the match.
“We had two games at Malvern School, all three Ashes games were pretty close but England hit back from the disappointment to win the Twenty20 series.”
David has played for England in the semi-finals of a Blind World Cup and led London Metro to the British Blind Sport Primary Club National Knock-Out Cup at Lord’s.
“We had the first Ashes series in 2004 and it clashed with the Olympic Games and it didn’t get much coverage,” said David.
“I was fully sighted until I was in my mid-40s and I am now registered blind and only have light perception,” said David, who left Hereford around 25 years ago.
“I loved to play mainstream cricket but I was never really that great at it,” admitted David.
“My dad was a friend of the late Eric Jenkins,” said David, who went to Hereford High School for Boys.
“Someone suggested that I have a go at blind cricket and I played for my club side and then for England.
“As someone who lost their sight later in life, the transition I made to play blind cricket was easier.”
David was born at Hereford Hospital and, before moving to the city when he was eight years old, he lived at Bishopstone Common, Glasbury and Foxley.
He now lives in London and teaches art on a part-time basis to visually- impaired children.
But he still has a strong association with Hereford.
David’s mum, Gwendoline Townley, lives in Westfaling Street and his sister Carol Farr lives in Marshall Close.
David has been chairman of Blind Cricket England and Wales for five years and president of World Blind Cricket Council for two years.
“Blind cricket is the only blind sport where all the different sight categories play with, and against, each other without wearing blind folds.”
There are two different codes of blind cricket — one is domestic cricket and the other is international game.
“The international game is played with a ball which is the same size as a normal cricket ball and the bowling is underarm.
“India and Pakistan are streets ahead of the other countries,” said David.
“In the last two World Cups England have finished third above Australia.”
“There is a main National League for domestic blind cricket in the UK and a development league,” explained David.
The Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford have a team in the development league.
David and the England players will soon be preparing for a major competition in December.
“The next big international event will be the Twenty20 World Cup in Bangalore and I am looking forward to that,” said David.
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