Shropshire captain Steve Leach has been awarded his county cap by the club in recognition of his positive contribution and service.
Opening batsman Leach was delighted to be presented with his cap by John Foster, the former Shropshire skipper, ahead of the start of the county’s opening Unicorns Championship match of the season against Cheshire at Shifnal.
He is the first player to be capped by the county since Richard Oliver and Anthony Parker in 2011.
Leach admitted it was a nice surprise to be told of the honour and insisted it was a very proud moment when he stepped forward to receive his cap from Foster.
“I’m delighted,” said Leach. “John Foster said some nice words and to have this recognition is the pinnacle, so I’m very grateful for it.
“I’m only 24, which I think surprises a few people, as I made by debut seven years ago now.
“But I’ve always really enjoyed playing three-day cricket and I hope there’s many more matches and many more runs to come for Shropshire.”
Leach, who is in his third year as Shropshire captain, said: “I didn’t know about becoming a capped player until just before the presentation happened.
“All the lads came up and congratulated me and it’s really something to strive for as a Shropshire player.
“It’s not something you really think about until it happens, but in terms of my cricketing career, it will obviously be a highlight. The cap will be one of those mementoes I’ll keep forever.”
Shropshire chairman Toby Shaw said that Leach, who topped the county batting averages last season, deserved the honour.
He said: “It’s terrific recognition for Steve and he’s already been a wonderful servant for the club. He’s developed a very cohesive and competitive side, so it’s great credit to him.
“He takes his position as county captain very seriously, both personally and collectively from the team’s point of view, and it’s well deserved.
“It gives me great pleasure that he’s now been presented with his county cap.”
The chairman added: “Steve’s an excellent batsman and, while his performances on the pitch are what most people see, it’s also what he does off the field, how be brings the players together and how they all respect him. That means a lot to us and the Shropshire audience.
“We were pleased that John Foster, who is very highly respected and played for Shropshire for a number of years, made the presentation.”
Pictured: Shropshire captain Steve Leach receives his Shropshire cap from former county skipper John Foster at Shifnal.