By Stuart Dunn, @studunn21, at The Shrewsbury Chronicle
A TRIO of Shrewsbury players have received top Midlands Club Cricket Conference awards, with opening batsman Ed Foster insisting the recognition is well deserved.
Shrewsbury swept aside strong competition to be crowned Birmingham League champions with three games to spare in a campaign which also them reach the quarter finals of the ECB National Club Championship.
Now skipper Rob Foster, who could not have wished for a much more successful start at the helm, and promising young opening batsman Steve Leach have both won MCCC Cricketer of the Year awards.
There’s also silverware on the way for consistent wicketkeeper Anthony Parker who has scooped the Esmond Lewis Wicketkeeper of the Year award.
The awards will be presented at a dinner in Birmingham in March.
“It’s great recognition for the players involved but also for the club,” said Ed Foster, whose total of 874 runs made him the top run scorer in the Birmingham League premier division last season.
Five players from across the region are selected for Cricketer of the Year awards each year, with Rob Foster and Leach both getting the nod this time.
“Aside from the captaincy which he took to very well, Rob had a great season with the bat,” said Foster, of his younger brother. “He played some explosive and very effective innings at times but he also batted very responsibly when he needed to.
“The time Steve Leach spent in Australia last winter really helped his development and last season was his first big one in adult cricket.
“He came third in the list of run scorers in the premier division with more than 800 runs, a fantastic achivement for someone so young.
“We’re fortunate to have him at the club and, while it’s disappointing he’s not involved with the professional game at the moment having left Worcestershire, I’m sure another opportunity will come his way at some stage.”
Parker, the long-serving glovesman for Shropshire, played a key role behind the stumps for Shrewsbury in his first season with the club after making the switch from Shifnal.
Foster added: “It’s great for the bowlers to know there’s someone who will take the chances they provide. You won’t find a better wicket-keeper batsman in the league than Anthony.
“Anthony was excited to come and play for Shrewsbury as he’s a fierce competitor who wanted to come and play for a side challenging for trophies.”
Shrewsbury are no strangers to picking up MCCC winners and Elliot Green, their talented leg spinner, was named overall Cricketer of the Year, the top prize available, for 2012.
John Foster, Ed Foster and Steve Gale, all former Shrewsbury captains, have also won the prestigious award in the past.