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World’s oldest Blind Cricket competition renamed in honour of legendary player

25th April 2013

Heindrich Swanepoel (Metro) Heindrich Swanepoel (Metro)

The world’s longest running blind cricket competition has been renamed in honour of arguably the game’s greatest ever player.

The competition, in its 35th year, will now be known as the British Blind Sport Primary Club Heindrich Swanepoel Memorial Cup.

The change in the competition name will take place immediately, with the first round of the newly named tournament starting on Saturday 4th May with the final taking place at a yet to be confirmed venue on Saturday 10th August.

Who was Heindrich Swanepoel?

Heindrich was the most successful blind cricketer of all time, in over 20 years playing for London Metro Heindrich won the BBS Cup 10 times, reached the final another 6 times & won the national league title 8 times. He still holds the best ever bowling figures in the cup final, 6 for 7 versus Lancashire in 2001. He has also won a succession of player of the season awards & was the last man to captain a side to the league & cup double, achieving the feat in 2003.

Heindrich made his international debut when the England team was formed in 1998 & he played every international from that point until England’s Twenty20 series against Australia in summer 2012 when he finally missed his first match. This included 3 world cups, 3 Ashes series’ & if not for his untimely passing Hein would have gone to the 2012 World Cup in India.

Off the field Hein served as Financial Director for the World Blind Cricket Council for a number of years & also had spells as Treasurer of both BBS Cricket & BCEW.

Aged just 43 Heindrich suffered a heart attack & died whilst on holiday in Morocco at the end of September 2012.

Some Thoughts

Ian Martin (Disability Cricket Manager of the England & Wales Cricket Board): "This is a really fitting way to remember Heindrich. He made an enormous contribution to the development of Blind Cricket in this country and abroad and his legacy will live on through this competition to inspire future generations"

Rory Field (Captain of London Metro & one of Heindrich’s closest friends): “Heindrich was a pillar of strength and pivot around which so much revolved in Metro. He was a passionate and fantastic cricketer and an even better person who took what most cricketers mean by that holistic term 'the spirit of cricket' so much further. Heindrich would always be the first to help injured players, be the first to ensure that all B1 players have a guide, the first to help with administrative duties such as sorting out kit for the new season and the last to leave the practice ground. Heindrich will live on in our hearts and memories and now also in one of the English games greatest competitions; very fitting."

Luke Sugg (Captain of the England Visually Impaired Cricket Team): "Working alongside such as accomplished individual was a tremendous honour for me. Heindrich was like a brother to not only me - but everyone involved within the England team. I had the pleasure of opening the bowling with him, and still to this day strive to have his belief and determination to succeed. I'll never forget my first act as England skipper was to tell Hein he was being rested - I could hardly speak to tell him - knowing how proud he was to wear the three lions on his chest. He'll go down in history, and will forever remain in our hearts. Naming this prestigious competition after him is the very least we can expect - after he put so much into helping blind cricket develop. It will drive everyone to win this competition.”

Dave Gavrilovic (Chairman British Blind Sport Cricket): “Some people will only remember Heindrich for his multitude of sporting achievements, but for those of us who knew him it will also be his kindness, his humour & his seemingly endless strength that will be unforgettable.

"I was lucky enough to be part of the Ashes squad with Heindrich in summer 2012 and I will always remember how much he went out of his way to help all the new players & to make sure the b1 players were looked after both on and off the field. He was always there with some advice if other players were struggling & could always spare a few words of encouragement when they were needed.

"Heindrich was a true legend of Visually Impaired sport & will be both remembered & much missed by so many people. Naming this country’s most iconic Blind Cricket competition after the legend that was Hein is truly fitting.”