April 24, 2002

First-class cricket returns to Folkestone

Media Release

Folkestone's Cheriton Road Sports Ground is to host first class cricket this summer after a gap of 10 years.

Hampshire County Cricket Club will face the Kent Cricket Board in the prestigious Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy, cricket's equivalent of the FA Cup, on Wednesday May 29th.

Shepway District Council, who manage the sports ground, and Folkestone Cricket Club are giving enthusiastic support to the match. After the success of last summer's European Cricket Challenge, sponsored by SAGA, and matches involving the Kent Second XI, they believe this match will further boost the district's opportunities for regular matches involving Kent County Cricket Club.

Hampshire, including England cricketers Robin Smith and Alan Mullally, will be an attractive opponent for the cream of Kent's recreational cricketers who are captained by Shami Iqbal (son of the legendary Asif Iqbal).

Iqbal said that his team was confident of giving a good account of themselves. "We are the only Board XI side in the country to have reached this stage of the competition in the four years we have been eligible and we are keen to become the first to beat a first-class county. Folkestone is a ground our club cricketers know well and this must be to our advantage."

Shepway Council's District Secretary for Economic Development, Cllr. Robert Bliss, said: "We are delighted that top flight cricketers are returning to Folkestone this season. This, together with our pioneering efforts to get a 'European Cup' of cricket established here, should give us recognition as a centre par excellence for the game.