World cricket stars shine through the rain

LAST Wednesday saw the biggest ever visit to Budleigh Salterton by internationally famous sports stars.

LAST Wednesday saw the biggest ever visit to Budleigh Salterton by internationally famous sports stars.

The Lashings world cricket squad included England's Devon Malcolm and Phil Defreitas, Australian test stars Jason Gillespie, Stuart Law and Greg Blewett, New Zealander Chris Harris, Mohammad Akram from Pakistan, Gordon Greenidge from the West Indies and Henry Olonga, the first black player to be selected for Zimbabwe.

Sadly, the visit coincided with the worst day of the summer so far and the planned match against the Devon side at the Ottermouth ground could not go ahead.

The Lashings organisation has been established for some 25 years and they certainly lived up to their brochure billing to entertain rain or shine.

Apart from their players, their party came complete with professional auctioneers, sound engineers and two professional and brilliantly funny comedians.

Despite the weather, the whole event soon took on a party atmosphere with players mingling with the 280 guests who sat down in the marquee to a four course lunch and were royally entertained .

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A very successful charity auction took place and the assembly was stunned into silence by the wonderful tenor voice of Henry Olonga, who now combines his cricket with a highly successful singing career.

Former England test players Devon Malcolm and Phil Defreitas, together with their Australian counterparts Jason Gillespie and Greg Blewitt, gave their opinions in a question and answer session on the current test series.

The players mixed throughout and were in constant demand to pose for photos and sign autographs.

Club secretary Kevin Curran said that, while it was disappointing not to see any cricket, the day took on the mantle of a superb sporting dinner and that, despite missing out on the gate receipts, the club still expected to make a small profit.

He wished to thank everyone who helped, but, in particular, club member Jonathan Baumber who had done most of the organising and worked tirelessly for some months to put this event on.

Mr Curran added that the club were also greatly indebted to Specsavers, Woodbury Park Hotel and Golf Club and to South West Communications Group for their support and generous sponsorship of the event.

Kevin Curran Club,

Secretary B S C C.