Shropshire County Cricket Club’s annual hospitality event has been hailed a great success.
Nearly 700 guests from the county’s business community enjoyed the Pure Telecom Challenge, a hugely popular event now into its 13th year, at Wrekin College.
They were treated to some excellent cricket as Shropshire played two Twenty20 matches against Grange Cricket Club, the Scottish champions, from Edinburgh.
Former Kent and England captain Chris Cowdrey returned for a second year as master of ceremonies, with guests also entertained by top comedian Ian Irving and live music well into the evening from The Dirty Rockin Scoundrels.
Shropshire chairman Toby Shaw, the event organiser, said: “The day was another great success and just illustrates its importance as an opportunity for the Shropshire business community to get together.
“Chris Cowdrey was excellent again as host and Ian Irving was a lot of fun. The band were also very good and it meant lots of people stayed longer. I’m delighted it was such a success, another sell out, and that everyone had an enjoyable time.
“Thank you to Matt Sandford and his team at Pure Telecom for all their support as event sponsors, and to Wrekin College for making their wonderful facilities available once again.”
He added: “The cricket was fantastic with Grange showing just what a good side they are. It was a great experience for some of the younger players from our Academy team included in the county side as they played against strong opposition and players with international experience.”
Grange’s team was captained by Dylan Budge and also included George Munsey, who were both in the Scotland side which beat England in a one-day international in Edinburgh last June.
Grange elected to bat first in the day’s opening match and rattled up 215-6 from their 20 overs. Budge showed his international class to hit 90 from 47 balls and opener Oliver Hairs cracked 60 from 23 deliveries, with Jack Twigger taking 3-31 for the hosts.
Shropshire were then restricted to 122-8, with Alexei Kervezee, who captained the side, top scoring with 30 and Matt Simmonds, one of the young Academy players included, adding 24. John Blain inflicted much of the damage by taking 4-9 as Grange won by 93 runs.
The second game was reduced to 12 overs per side owing to rain, with Grange, having opted to again bat first, coming out on top by 46 runs.
Opener Jamie Crawley struck an unbeaten 53 and Finn McCreath weighed in with 31 with as Grange accumulated 111-4, with Sam Ellis claiming 3-21. Shropshire, in reply, closed on 69-9
Donations from the event will be made to four charities, with Lingen Davies Cancer Fund, Macmillan Cancer Support, Shropshire Rural Communities Charity and Shrewsbury Bookfest to benefit.
Pictured: The two captains, Shropshire’s Alexei Kervezee, left, and Grange Cricket Club’s Scotland international Dylan Budge, at Wrekin College.