Young North Walsham cricketer Alex Roper defies disability to excel at sport he loves
- Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017
Howzat! Thirteen-year-old Alex Roper is hitting the world of cricket for six by proving that determination and skill can overcome physical disability.
The Gresham's School pupil has limited use of the left side of his body as he was born with cerebral palsy. But despite his condition, it has not stopped him from playing the sport he loves.
And thanks to a natural talent for bowling he has been called up to play for his local club.
Now, Alex is playing in the highly competitive Burgess Division One league for Aldborough Cricket Club's Sunday team, against a combination of seasoned older players and promising young cricketers.
Because of his condition, Alex is only able to bowl chest-on, rather than side-on.
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But it it means he can deliver a ball that swings inwards, before moving in either direction as it lands on the seam.
His dad, Guy, 48, said the technique made it hard for batsmen to play against.
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'Like any bowler he has been hit over the boundary for four, but the following ball he always makes up for it,' he said. 'His concentration and determination not to lose out to the other person is phenomenal.'
Alex was made man of the match during his first game with the club against Acle around six weeks ago.
His dad, who played alongside him, said he bowled five overs and managed to produce 'wicket-taking balls, left, right and centre'.
The teenagers' debut performance was so impressive that even the opposition squad clapped as he left the pitch.
'I was so chuffed,' said 48-year-old Mr Roper, who used to bowl for Ingham and Great Witchingham, and lives near North Walsham. 'We ended up batting together at the end as father and son, and it was just brilliant.'
Alex was born after 24 weeks and weighed just 2lbs (0.9kg). His right side of his brain was damaged, resulting in restricted use of the left side of his body. But not to be defeated by the condition, he has taken part in various sports whenever he can. Along with cricket, he plays tennis and golf, goes swimming and even takes part in shooting.
Aldborough's Sunday captain Andy Siddall, said: 'He is unbelievable. I don't know many kids who would play senior cricket at 13. He is such a nice lad as well.'