“Something so magical for our club,” was how Crowhurst Park captain Paul Brookes described the hotly-anticipated visit from Lashings All-Stars.
Some big names from the world of cricket showcased their skills at the Walcott Ground in Telham on Sunday as Lashings came to Park for the first time.
Months of planning and preparation went into the event, and all the hard work was rewarded with a very successful day.
“It was amazing,” said Brookes, who estimated that around 1,000 people came along to the ground throughout the day. “It was more than we imagined if I’m honest. It was something so magical for our club.
“Outside of the cricket, it was great just seeing so many people coming along and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. People just kept coming in; I’ve never seen so many people up there. People you’ve not seen for years suddenly rocked up to see a game of cricket.”
From a cricketing point of view, the main part of the day was a T20 match between Lashings and a Park side which combined young talent with some more seasoned figures who played a big part in the club’s rise from the East Sussex League to its present place in Sussex Division Two.
Lashings, whose team contained a few late changes to the advertised line-up, batted first and amassed 204-5 largely thanks to an unbeaten 114 off just 48 balls by Yasir Arafat. The Pakistani all-rounder blasted 16 fours and six sixes. Owais Shah was the next highest scorer with 30.
Brookes was the most successful of the 11 Park bowlers with remarkable figures of 2-3 off two overs, including the wicket of Tino Best. Richard Coleman, Paul Lindfield and Matt Peters claimed a wicket apiece.
Park were all out for 120 in reply. Ed Smissen (24) and Colin Ayres (20) were the leading runscorers, while Phil DeFreitas took 3-27, and Best, Iain O’Brien and Adam Hollioake picked up two wickets each.
Brookes described Best as the quickest bowler he’s ever seen, and the West Indian paceman certainly left his mark on Park’s batsmen, catching Brad Payne on the arm, and giving Clive Tong a badly bruised, if not broken, finger.
Before the cricket, some 300 people attended a VIP luncheon with Lashings players in the corporate marquee. There was also a junior tournament involving local clubs, plus softball and hardball training, which Lashings players joined in with.
“They (the Lashings players) had time for all of the children, showing them how to bat and bowl, signing bats and posing for pictures,” added Brookes. “They were more than obliging and that added to the perfect day.”