By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle
SHREWSBURY cricketer Ed Barnard’s hopes of helping England reach their first ICC Under-19 World Cup final since 1998 were dashed earlier this week – but he has one more match to play before heading home.
Barnard, 18, has batted at No 5 for the young Lions in all five of their tournament matches in the United Arab Emirates.
The promising Shrewsbury CC all-rounder was in the England side edged out by three wickets with just five balls to spare in a thrilling semi-final against Pakistan in Dubai on Monday.
He and his team mates, who include Joe Clarke, another Shropshire lad, now have to lift themselves for Saturday’s third place play-off match against Australia before Barnard flies home to resume his studies at Shrewsbury School.
His dad Andy, a former Shrewsbury CC captain and chairman, was glued to the television watching the Pakistan match on Monday having just arrived home from Dubai where he and wife Helen enjoyed watching Ed play three matches.
They missed their youngest son’s best moment of the tournament when he hit 93 en route to scooping the man of the match award against hosts UAE.
But they were in the stands to offer their support in the group matches against Sri Lanka and New Zealand plus the nail-biting quarter-final victory over India last Saturday in which Barnard struck 24.
“We had an amazing week watching the England under-19s perform brilliantly in Dubai,” said Andy. “The wins over New Zealand and India were outstanding but did not receive much press credit in the UAE.”
Barnard scored 13 in the semi-final defeat against Pakistan and both he and his team mates will be hoping to end on a high note by now beating Australia to secure third place in the tournament this weekend.
Barnard, a popular figure with his team mates at Shrewsbury’s London Road, will hope his England under-19 experience can enhance his chances of breaking through to the first class game at Worcestershire where he is a highly rated young player.
Meanwhile, Birmingham League champions Shrewsbury are holding an open evening to promote their newly-formed fourth team which will play in the Shropshire County Cricket League this summer.
Held in the clubhouse at their London Road ground tomorrow night (Friday, 7.30pm), the evening is for prospective new members and current club members, serving as a chance to find out more about the team and how to get involved.
Senior net practice ahead of the start of the new season has begun last week and there are two other sessions planned at Shrewsbury’s School excellent indoor facility on forthcoming Mondays, March 10 and March 24.
Shrewsbury first team batsman Ed Foster said: “We are seeking new players and anyone interested in joining one of our four teams should come along.”
Shrewsbury are also seeking scorers and umpires to help out during the 2014 season. This could be for all or part of the season.