SOMERSET’S Ali Layard, who is 15 years old, became the youngest ever player to appear for the England Physical Disability side last week, when he played against Pakistan and Bangladesh in the T20 Tri-Series.

When he was nine years old, Layard was accidentally knocked off a narrow boat and dragged into the propeller, as a result of which he sustained terrible injuries to both legs.

After the accident the youngster, who lives in Buckland St Mary on the Blackdown Hills, was told that he would never walk unaided again.

But six years later he has defied all the odds and is now a very active sportsman.

Layard has won a cricket scholarship to Wellington School, where he has been working with former Somerset paceman Steffan Jones, who is director of sport there.

This year, along with his Dad, the youngster completed the Bristol 10k in aid of the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity, who were involved in his rescue and initial treatment.

Due to his cricketing ability, Layard was chosen in the Somerset Under-15 squad, and claimed 6-44 off 9.3 overs on debut against Worcestershire.

Jones said: “Two years ago I saw Ali bowling leg spin in the indoor school and thought he was quite handy.

“I then saw his legs and he explained what had happened, and I thought immediately that I was going to offer his family a scholarship.

“Ali plays first team cricket for us based on ability; he is as good a leg spinner as you could get anywhere and he can bat as well.

“He is an amazing character and my aim for him is to be a disabled cricketer playing county cricket.

“There is a lot of work still to do but I think that is a real possibility.”