Finding acceptance among the world’s first gay cricket team

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07/09/2019

The sound of cricket bags wheeling along uneven concrete and the click-clacking of cricket studs accompanies the arrival of Manish Modi and his teammates. They have just arrived at Botany Bay Cricket Club – a quaint and exotically named ground in Middlesex, near London – ahead of their league game against Hadley Wood in the Middlesex and Essex Invitational League. Graces Cricket Club are playing in a competitive league for the first time in just over 10 years, having lost every one of their games in the Middlesex Sunday League Division One a decade ago. “It was (initially) difficult getting the first 11 people,” Pat Sopp – one of Graces’ founding members and an honorary vice-president – told CNN Sport. “I think we managed to get 10 cricketers and Duncan Irvine, who is one of the founders, for his first and only game of cricket.” Now, Graces’ team is made up of cricketers from all over the globe, with players from England, India, Australia and Sri Lanka in today’s XI. And this XI all have one thing in common – they are gay. Graces are the world’s first – and up until recently, the only – LGBT cricket club.

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