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Floodlit T20 has a bright future in Shropshire

By Nick Elwell | Grassroots | Published:

Shropshire’s first taste of Vitality Under 19s T20 cricket has been hailed a huge success.

Oswestry CC hosted the event at Morda Road on Friday where sides representing the Central and North-West areas played under floodlights with coloured clothing, pink balls and ‘Zing’ bails.

Shropshire’s Clubs and Community Cricket Manager Steve Reese said: “It was a great night and our thanks go out to Oswestry CC who hosted the event, all the players, managers and coaches who helped pull it all together, and the excellent crowd of more than 300 who turned out to watch.

“I think it showed there is an appetite for this sort of cricket in Shropshire, and we will be carrying out some consultation over the coming weeks about how to develop the concept.

“The idea of ‘Cluster’ sides worked well. Not many clubs in Shropshire can put out an Under 19s side, but if we look at groups of clubs in the same area getting together to supply players to a team, it can be a success.

“All the players enjoyed the opportunity to play with and against their peers in a great atmosphere, so it shows there is also an enthusiasm for Under 19s T20 cricket.

“We will be asking clubs if they want to get involved and how they see the initiative moving forward in Shropshire so we can integrate it into the cricket Calendar for next season.”

One option would be for games to be played on one Friday night each month with a final tournament organised at the end of the season.

Central team manager Mal Serplet: “What a great initiative. It was great to see young adult cricketers taking centre stage and doing their individual clubs proud.

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“I look forward to seeing this format of cricket grow over the next few seasons.”

Central skipper George Cheshire said: “It was a great opportunity and experience as it was challenging and the pressure was high due to the amount of people watching.

“The game was great to play in and watch as it was very close.”

North West skipper Lawrence Hitchin added: “I really enjoyed the experience of playing in front of a big crowd under the floodlights against people of a similar age, certainly something I’d like to do again.”

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North West Manager Shaun Astley said: “Personally I think the idea of an under 19s’ competition is exciting, and as Chairman of Wem I will be looking into how many available players we would have.

“I would also welcome the ‘Cluster’ side idea to ensure the players are playing as much cricket as possible to not only maintain their involvement in the game, but more importantly their enjoyment.

“The game was a credit to Oswestry CC, Cricket Shropshire and the players involved.

“All players clearly demonstrated how the ‘Cluster’ idea can work, and all entered into the spirit of the concept. Playing under lights and being part of Shropshire cricket history was an added bonus.”

Oswestry Chairman Chris Wiseman said: “The night was yet another milestone for us, the first club in Shropshire to hold a floodlit T20 match. The evening was a great success with a very large crowd.

“The evening would not have happened without the amazing help from Griffiths Tool Hire who supplied the lights.

“It’s something that we have wanted to do for a while. We managed to get it organised in less than four weeks so it was an amazing effort by everyone involved from Oswestry CC, Cricket Shropshire and the players.

“We are already looking to see what we can do next year, so hopefully floodlit cricket could be a regular sight at the Stonehouse Oval.”

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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