A FORMER Andover student, who was told by his doctors that he would never play any sports, has become a shining star for the England Men’s Physical Disability Cricket Team.

Anthony Clapham was born with a club foot, but despite being told he would never participate in sports due to his medical condition, Anthony's journey from John Hanson School to international cricket has captivated hearts and inspired many.

During his childhood, he underwent numerous surgeries at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and University Hospital Southampton.

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Despite these challenges, his passion and determination for the sport never wavered.

Now 33 years old, his dedication has paid off as he recently made his debut for the England Physical Disability team during a cricket series held in India.

As a fast bowler, he showcased his talent by claiming two wickets in each of his first three T20 matches, earning accolades and admiration.

For his mother, Anja McAnespie, Clapham's achievements represent a dream come true.

“He was told from a very young age that he couldn’t even participate in sports day,” said Anja.

“But Anthony’s life shows that if you're very persevering and structured, you can achieve anything. I, being a sports person, used to support my son and encourage him always. My dad used to make him go horse riding which improved the strength of his calf muscles. So it’s great to see him achieve the England cap.

“I think it only shows children out there who are suffering with a disability to not be negative. Because you can do it. It's all about putting your mind to it. Some people might say I'm a pushy parent. That might be the case, but I can rest assure, look where my son is now. He's representing England. For him to be called to be a fast bowler is a massive privilege.”

Anthony's cricketing journey began at John Hanson School under the guidance of former England cricketer Andrew Hooper, who served as a supportive coach during his formative years.

He later played for the Andover able-bodied cricket team before expanding his horizons to other clubs, albeit facing challenges in breaking into the Hampshire team.

After he got a job with Adidas, Anthony redirected his focus to disability cricket.

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He led the Pirates team in the ECB Disability Premier League to consecutive finals as captain.

His outstanding performance caught the attention of selectors, leading to his call-up to the England national team.

Anthony now lives in Tadley near Basingstoke.