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Shropshire cricketers team up for a worthy half-century

By Nick Elwell | Cricket | Published:

Shropshire leg-spinner Sam Whitney, one of the event organisers, ran the final leg as Bridgnorth Cricket Club’s #Relay50 charity challenge in aid of Severn Hospice proved a big hit.

Sam Whitney

Held over the Bank Holiday weekend, the Birmingham League club pulled together to draw up a rota of club players and friends to either run, walk or cycle for an hour each, including right through the night, for a combined time of 50 hours continuously, writes Stuart Dunn.

A number of Shropshire CCC players past and present took part, as did cricketers from other Shropshire clubs, and Bridgnorth Hockey Club’s ladies players.

Whitney and Bridgnorth’s second XI captain Matt Martin, the event organisers, were delighted with the response, with more than £8,000 – and rising – raised for Severn Hospice, which has been providing specialist care and emotional support for families living with an incurable illness since 1989.

Whitney, who is the club captain at Cricket Meadow, said: “At the start we said that it would be good to get to £1,000, so to get up past £8,000 has been incredible. There’s been so many generous donations and we are just overwhelmed by all the support really.”

Explaining the idea behind #Relay50, Whitney added: “We always do the Bridgnorth Walk every year for Severn Hospice, a 22-mile walk which everyone in the whole town gets involved in.

“My mum and my nan were in the Severn Hospice before they both passed away and a year or so before Matt’s dad, John, was also in the Severn Hospice, so it’s a place that’s very close to our hearts.

“Matt and I were trying to come up with an idea about what we could do to raise a bit of money with the Bridgnorth Walk not taking place this year.

“It was initially going to be a 24-hour relay, but the response was so good that we decided to do it over the whole Bank Holiday weekend finishing at 3pm on the Monday which is when we would usually be completing the walk.

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“It’s just amazing the level of support we received. More than 250 people ended up taking part in eight different countries.”

Whitney was one of a number of Shropshire CCC players involved in #Relay50 along with his Bridgnorth team-mates Simon Gregory, Ben Lees and Matty Simmonds.

Fellow Shropshire players Mike Barnard, Jack Edwards, David Laird, Ryan Lockley, Dan Lloyd and Matt Swift were also joined in the challenge by Shropshire’s head of academy Ian Roe, who played his cricket for Bridgnorth, coach Dave Nock and selector Tony Parton.

Academy player Lewis Evans took part fresh from completing his own charity challenge of cycling 26 miles for 26 consecutive days for Shropshire Mind.

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Former Shropshire player and coach Kevin Sharp, now head of coach and player development at Worcestershire CCC, also lined up for the challenge, along with several other ex-Shropshire players, including Mark Downes, Rob Foster, Richard Oliver, Mark Robinson and Jono Whitney, one of Sam’s brothers.

“There was great support from the Shropshire guys,” said Whitney. “Jono had a team of 22 doing his leg with him in Western Australia.

“Liam Brown, a mate of mine, swam for an hour in a pool in Vietnam, Louise Pugh canoed for an hour, so there was all sorts going on.

“It really was a great team effort and special thanks to Alex Thomas, our media man at Bridgnorth CC, who did an incredible job setting up social media posts to go out every hour throughout the night when people were taking part in the challenge.”

Bridgnorth are the latest Shropshire cricket club to organise a charity challenge in response to Covid-19.

Shrewsbury Cricket Club teamed up with Haughmond Football Club to successfully run the week-long Megametre Challenge, also in aid of Severn Hospice, earlier this month.

You can still donate to Bridgnorth’s charity challenge raising funds for Severn Hospice by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/f/kpgur

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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