FOR the vast majority of cricket fans, last week’s Ashes Test match at Headingley will be forever synonymous with the name of Ben Stokes.
However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that this was named ‘The Participation Test’, and Gomersal wicketkeeper Liam Thomas had a part to play in that.
As vice-captain of the England Disability team, Thomas was invited to take part in an interview with Sky Sports’ presenter and former England captain David Gower, as a representative of one of several minority cricket groups featured in their coverage over the course of the test match.
Thomas, who is now 25, is a former Whitcliffe Mount schoolboy and has been part of the England Disability setup for seven years while playing his club cricket at Scholes, before moving to Gomersal two years ago.
He was born with an underdeveloped right leg which was amputated below the knee before his first birthday but, with a prosthetic limb, that has never stopped him participating in sport.
He became a bit of an internet ‘celebrity’ when a clip from an England game showed his artificial leg falling off after a dive to save a boundary. Undaunted, he jumped up, hopped after the ball on one leg and threw it in before stopping to pick up his leg.
This typified the strength of character that Liam and his fellow participants in the disability game are showing week-by-week and, as he said to Gower in his TV interview, it is the fact that he and his teammates are ‘all in the same boat’, so to speak, that helps bind them together as a unit.
While the sensational outcome of the match itself will stick in most people’s minds, Liam will doubtless have a huge sense of satisfaction at being able to speak up for his corner of the cricketing world on such a huge stage as Sky Sports.
In the meantime, he was in action on Saturday in the Bradford Premier League when he turned out for Gomersal in a Championship One game against his old club Scholes, and helped them to a crucial win with 33 runs and a catch behind.