Derbyshire cricketer proud despite England falling just short

"RICKMANSWORTH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28:  Paul Allen of England poses for a photograph during an England Deaf Cricket Training Camp at Merchant Taylors' School on February 28, 2016 in Rickmansworth, England. (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)"

"RICKMANSWORTH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28: Paul Allen of England poses for a photograph during an England Deaf Cricket Training Camp at Merchant Taylors' School on February 28, 2016 in Rickmansworth, England. (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)"

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Derbyshire cricketer Paul Allen could not have been prouder of his team despite falling just short of leading England to victory at the Deaf ICC Championship.

Right hander Allen, who plays for Spondon Cricket Club and lives in Heanor, was named as captain of the England team which travelled to Dubai earlier this month for the 50-over competition.

It marked the first international series for England since their unbeaten tour to South Africa in 2013 and featured a new-look management team including head coach Phil Hudson and assistant coach Mark Nash.

And while their first of three round robin fixtures against South Africa was abandoned due to bad weather, England found their feet with back-to-back wins over Pakistan and India to book their place in last week’s final at the Sharjah International Cricket Ground.

Former Winsford Sixth Form College student Allen won the toss and elected to bat first against fellow finalists Pakistan, with the captain making an unbeaten 45 off 47 balls as England eventually posted 225-6.

The 31-year-old then chipped in with a wicket but Pakistan proved too strong with the bat as they reeled in the total with eight balls to spare.

And while disappointed with the outcome, former Chester University student Allen insisted there were still plenty of positives to take away.

“Obviously we were absolutely gutted to have lost the final to Pakistan,” he said.

“I was hoping to avenge the loss we suffered in the 2005 World Cup final. But unfortunately it wasn’t to be although as captain I couldn’t have asked any more from the guys.

“We batted superbly especially Sam Crichard, Umesh Valjee in the middle period to set up a platform for me and Michael Weathersby to put on a stand on 70 plus in the last 10 overs.

“But the overall feeling was pride – the boys have developed and grown so much over the past 18 months.

“The final was lost due to Pakistan batting better than us. On the day they were a better side than us, hats off to them, their captain had a 100 plus stand for the third wicket, but we went down fighting as we picked up 3 wickets in the last three overs of the match.

“But I firmly believe we were the best all round team at the tournament, every game we have players performing and that’s a great to see from a captain’s point of view.”

Allen now turns his attentions to club side Spondon CC of the Derbyshire Premier League ahead of the new season.

Although the England international admitted the desire to keep improving for his country was as strong as ever.

“The competition has shown me that I strive on the responsibility,” he added. “I believe the tactical awareness will only improve with the more experience a gain.

“But the major thing I have learnt is we have a bunch of talented cricketers who are improving with every game, every training session.

“We will learn from the experience and I know we will come back stronger. The pain that the guys felt after the final will motivate them to improve and come back stronger and win the next major deaf competition.”

Cricket across England and Wales is a sport that anyone can play, If you would like to get involved or find out more about disability cricket email; disabilitycricket@ecb.co.uk