WASSIM Jaffer’s 62-ball century was one of many highlights of Lashings’ visit to Plymouth for a T20 match against the city side.
A Mount Wise full house of around 900 cricket fans saw Lashings win a high-scoring game by 82 runs.
From a cricket perspective the day was a real winner all round as scores of kids got to see cricket stars up close – and learn from them during coaching sessions before the match.
Plymouth player Dave Burke, who spent six months with clubmates getting the game set-up, said as adverts for cricket go it could not have gone much better.
‘We have had universally positive feedback from everybody who went along,’ said Burke.
‘It was incredibly hard work but the fact that people seem to have enjoyed it so much makes it all the more worthwhile.
‘The Lashings players were great, really great. You couldn't ask for any more. They mixed so well with the guests and were fabulous with the kids.’
Burke said when he was growing up as a cricket-mad youngster in Sheffield, the game was everywhere.
Thirty-five years later it needs events like the Lashings match to get youngsters up-close to the game at a high level.
‘I got hooked on cricket as I grew up in Sheffield and could walk to Abbeydale Park and watch Yorkshire after school,’ said Burke.
‘It is no coincidence that I was in the same class at Primary school as Michael Vaughan - and Joe Root later went to the same school.
‘We could all access cricket from a young age and could watch great players on our doorstep.
‘I could be wrong but I think that there is a primary school cricket league in that part of Sheffield with around 30 teams in it.’
Burke said one of the reasons for booking the match was to raise the profile of cricket in Plymouth, especially among youngsters.
‘Young girls and boys can't be inspired by watching the superstars unless they can get up to Taunton, which won't happen for the great majority,’ said Burke, who teaches at a primary school.
‘When I ask kids in school who has watched cricket on the television, literally nobody puts their hand up. The ECB are killing us with Sky TV.
‘Having such a positive experience with the Lashings players - especially with Chanderpaul coming down - might just have made the difference to a few. If it has then it has been all the more worthwhile.’
West Indian star Shivnarine Chanderpaul, still rattling off centuries for Lancashire at the age of 42, was the big-name current player in the Lashings team. He made a quick 35.
Somerset’s Peter Trego came in at short notice and thrashed 47 off 19 balls – including five sixes.
Faced with Lashings’ total of 235 for three, Plymouth replied with 153 for eight. Top scorer was Rob Bennett with 32.
Burke said no one really cared about the result. Getting the game on was what mattered.
We had an absolutely great day - it went really smoothly thanks to the hard work of a huge number of people from the club,’ said Burke.
‘We had so much support from our members it was ridiculous - people talking the week off work etc.
‘It really brought the club together in a big way.
‘The highlight was Wasim Jaffer hitting the most incredible century imaginable – totally chanceless and classy.
‘Peter Trego hit a couple that just disappeared miles out of the ground – unbelievable hits.’