Celebrity Bunbury team go to bat for village club

FAMOUS FACES - the Bunbury side that beat Chobham
FAMOUS FACES – the Bunbury side that beat Chobham

JOHN SALAKO and Joe Kinnear are not names usually synonymous with the game of cricket.

In fact the former England winger, and the ex-Wimbledon and Newcastle manager are much more at home in front of a rumbling terrace or entrenched in a dugout than they are perched on a crease awaiting the delivery of a 90mph yorker.

But Salako (below) and Kinnear ­traded in their boots and shin pads for the old leather and willow last week as the ­famous Bunbury team smashed Chobham for six.

The celebrity XI tour the country to help raise funds for grass-root clubs and their affiliated charities.

And they made short work of the village outfit, eventually securing a comfortable victory by a 22-run margin.

Club president John Goldsmith described the day as a wonderful success and thanked the all-stars team for creating such a memorable encounter.

He said: “It was a great day and a very jolly evening all round.

“We were a bit worried in the morning because the weather didn’t look promising but by the time we got underway we were bathed in golden sunshine.

“We ended up a bit short in the run chase but the game was played in great spirit and some of the quality on show was just brilliant.”

The celebrity outfit went to bat first and chalked up 175-7 before Chobham were bowled out for a brave 152.

Emma Bradley – Miss GB 2004 – added a touch of glamour to proceedings and delivered the opening ball, while the professional class of Northamptonshire pair Alex Wakely and Ben Howgego gave the audience something to savour.

The Phelps brothers, Oliver and James, better known for their roles as Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter series, sprinkled a touch of magic on what turned into a glorious afternoon of cricket.

Sir David English MBE, founder of the Bunburys, also donned his pads and gloves before raving about the continued success of a team that has raised more than £15million for charity over 26 years.

He said: “It was a sensational day – we couldn’t have assembled a more maverick group of individuals if we tried. We’ve got the Weasley twins in their whites alongside an ex-manager of the crazy gang. You don’t see that sort of thing anywhere else.

“When people contact me about a game  my decision is almost instinctive – it’s the smallest charities that often need the most support and it’s fantastic we can give something back.

“That’s why I started the Bunbury side. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to win. By hook or by crook we want to come out on top – as long as it’s done with a smile.”

In 609 fixtures, ­the Bunburys have lost just seven times.

The match – boosted by auctions and raffles – raised more than £3,000 for the village club and the English Schools’ Cricket ­Association.

John added: “We are very pleased with the amount raised. To promote youth cricket both at grass root and elite level is truly wonderful and we are proud to be ­involved in such a setup.”

Recommended For You

About the Author: Andy Fitzsimon