COVENTRY and North Warwickshire’s Binley Road home will play host to professional cricket for the first time in a generation next Tuesday, August 9.
As part of their drive to build stronger connections with the community game around the county, Warwickshire – or more accurately their white-ball brand Birmingham Bears – will face a Warwickshire League XI in a T20 clash starting at 4.30pm.
This is the Bears second venture away from Edgbaston in as many months after a superb knock from Rob Yates previously steered them to a comfortable win over a Birmingham Premier League XI at Kenilworth Wardens.
Bears supremo Paul Farbrace was accompanied to Kenilworth by his entire playing and coaching staff and it is anticipated that a similarly strong group will be present at Binley Road. They will mingle with supporters throughout the evening after previously running coaching sessions as part of Coventry and North Warwickshire’s summer holiday programme.
The Warwickshire League side will include a couple of home favourites in the shape of Indian pro Shivam Bhambri and opening bowler Sameer Vohra, and Farbrace says the county club hopes to unearth some new talent.
Farbrace said: “Our coaches all watch league cricket when they get chance and this is an opportunity for us to see more of the best players in the local clubs.
“Hopefully we see more of players who we have previously come across and maybe build some links with some that we haven’t. These games present a fantastic opportunity for us to connect with the league and the wider cricketing community in Warwickshire.
“We really care about club cricket and this is our chance to show that we’re not just talking a good game but are out there supporting the club game as much as we can.
“Our players are encouraged to play in the leagues and we see them as great building grounds for talent. We want to work as closely as possible with the clubs and these games are a good way of doing that.
“Che Simmons is a great example of this. He played for Blossomfield in the Warwickshire League last season after coming to the UK from Barbados and they looked after him brilliantly.
“He has now gone on to sign a professional contract and they have played a massive part in that. Blossomfield will be a club that he looks back on with huge regard for the help they provided him with.
“Dan Mousley began his cricket at Nether Whitacre while Ethan and Henry Brookes also started in the Warwickshire League at Olton.
“They’re typical of a lot of our local lads who all have a story to tell about their journey through club cricket.
“It’s not just us at Edgbaston who have helped them, there are plenty of people in Warwickshire and Birmingham League clubs that have played a big part and, in some cases, continue to do so by giving good advice.”
Entry to Binley Road costs £5 with Warwickshire members free. Food and drink outlets will be open.
Warwickshire League XI: Owen Edwards (c), Wes Landsdale, Seth Westley (all Rugby), Shivam Bhambri, Sameer Vohra (both Coventry), Nick Pepper (wk), Archie Walker (both Stratford), Paul Smith (Castle Bromwich), Gary Hawkins (Olton), Ollie Thomas (Moseley Ashfield), Alex Roslyn (Solihull Municipal)