When Boyd Duffield was diagnosed with an Intellectual Disability at the age of eight, his mother Lisa was apprehensive about the challenges her son would potentially face.
With impediments in speech and communication, and the disappointment of watching children progress ahead of him, the pathway for a young Boyd looked narrow.
Although he wasn't officially diagnosed with an Intellectual Disability and the Autism Spectrum Disorder until the age of eight, Duffield’s parents became aware of his struggles when he was four.
“We just took Boyd along to everything his brother did… They played cricket in the driveway, the backyard, wherever they could,” Mrs Duffield said.
Boyd, now 24 years old, started his cricket journey at the age of six when he joined his local club as a participant in the MILO in2CRICKET program.
“They were very inclusive and Boyd loved it,” Mrs Duffield said.“It was beneficial for Boyd to be around other kids and take instructions from adults other than his parents. I did notice a difference in his behaviour and communication.”
Transitioning from his time as a child and progressing into teenage years, Boyd’s chances as a sportsman began to look slim; the barriers in communication and a lack of understanding of his disability (by others) were too high.
However, tireless support from inclusive clubs, volunteers and individuals, as well as Cricket Australia’s ‘A Sport For all’ mantra provided him with a clear pathway.
Fast forward to 2018, and Mrs Duffield admits that she never could have imagined the opportunities and experiences Boyd has had in his short career thus far. She also says that abled people gain benefits through mixing with those who have an intellectual disability.
Duffield is currently representing Western Australia’s Lord’s Taverners team in the division for those with an intellectual disability at the 2018 National Indoor Cricket Championships. Mrs Duffield believes that playing cricket is secondary to the experiences provided to her son.
“It’s an amazing pathway for inclusion cricket. It keeps them fit, it creates new friendships and all of these guys stay in touch via social media,” she said.“It’s the highlight of the year for some of these guys. They are all forging friendships with people from other states.”
Running in conjunction with mainstream divisions, the Lord’s Taverners Shield provides players with more than just opportunities to perform on the court.
“Indoor cricket has given Boyd some really great friendships that have grown into other things like going out for dinner with friends, going to the movies. It’s taught him money skills, doing his own washing and more,” Mrs Duffield said.
For Boyd, the greatest thing about sport is that it has ignited a passion, a structured routine and formed lifelong friendships.
“I love indoor cricket, it’s a fast-moving game. I like bowling, batting and getting to know all of the other players,” Duffield said.
Boyd’s journey from starting at his local cricket club in Western Australia has transformed into interstate trips for both indoor and outdoor cricket, and last July, he travelled to England to represent his country in the INAS Tri-Series against the hosting country and South Africa.
“When we got the email, I cried, hugged my husband and then proceeded to tell Boyd,” Mrs Duffield said.
“He was jumping up and down, he said ‘I’m so proud of myself’. It was the highlight of our journey with Boyd so far.”
A journey is just one word to describe Duffield’s experiences as he enters today's Minor Semi Final as Western Australia’s Lord’s Taverners leading run scorer (150 runs).
To view all of the Semi and Preliminary Final action including the Lord’s Taverners Shield, visit www.indoor.cricket.com.au or head to the CA Indoor Facebook page for live streams.