Express & Star

Shining example of power of cricket in Black Country

The Whistle Foundation proved that cricket is well and truly thriving in the Black Country with their hugely successful floodlit cricket competition.


The tournament, held at Himley Cricket Club, relaunched an event which took place every August for 10 summers from 2010 at the club

The new competition was rebranded as 'The Floodlit' and followed a 100-ball format with clubs from Shropshire and the Black Country taking part.

The final was brilliantly attended by cricket fans from the area, as Wombourne beat hosts Himley to clinch the trophy.

Ajay Sharma, co-founder of The Whistle Foundation said: "All the hard work was worth it to be honest, I have not heard anyone say a bad word yet.

"We brought a product back, but we put our own style on it and it was a good show too.

"It was great, it looked great and if it helps the local community club.

"The fact we brought a prestige event and helped a club and a charity you're really struggling to find anything that was wrong with it.

"It was great to see the bank of volunteers from Himley and the charity it was great to see them all helping out.

"Hopefully it is something to build on."

Worcester League side Stourbridge performed well, as did Shropshire League side Quatt – they both made the semi-finals.

Beacon and Worfield did not make it out of the group stages.

The final was a low-scoring affair which saw Wombourne come out as eventual winners.

Sharma continued: "Cricket in the Black Country is flourishing and from a spectator point of view that is absolutely true.

"But also, when you look at the standard of cricket that was played, it was very good.

"Especially when you consider some of the individual performances that people put in.

"Wombourne were the eventual winners, and they looked unfazed all week.

"It helps that they have a lot of big hitters so they are very well made up at the sort of standard of game and that format.

"They played the right way and they wanted to win, their supporters came down in their droves so it was a great occasion the final and well done to them.

"The amount of people there during the final on the Friday night showcases how popular cricket can be.

"It really showcased that cricket can challenge the sporting market.

"You know for a club, a Birmingham League club hosting with clubs from the Staffs League, Worcester League and the Shropshire League to get numbers of that size you do not see numbers of that size at some county grounds really.

"Hopefully these people saw the event and will come next year and support the charity and the hard work that people put in for that week."