Youngster Panayi gets England call

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle

Skipper Rob Foster insists George Panayi’s first call up to the England under-17 squad has come as no surprise to anyone at Shrewsbury Cricket Club.

Fast bowler Panayi, a student at Shrewsbury School, has been selected for the young England tour to Dubai in February to play against Pakistan’s under-17s.

Foster predicts a bright future for Panayi, who played plenty of second team cricket for Shrewsbury last summer, while he was also given a taste of first team action in the Birmingham League’s premier division.

The captain reckons Panayi, 17, will be pushing for a regular first team place at London Road next summer, particularly as Shrewsbury have lost the services of another promising paceman in Dewi Jones.

Jones has been told he must now play his club cricket in South Wales after signing a contract with Glamorgan, for whom he made his first-class debut against Middlesex in July while he was a Shrewsbury player.

Panayi, also a member of the Warwickshire CCC Academy, hails from Hertfordshire but opted to play his club cricket for Shrewsbury owing to the close relationship the club enjoy with Shrewsbury School.

“He’s a hugely exciting cricketer,” said Foster. “He played a few league games for the first team last year and has also played some knockout games.

“He’s a very quick bowler for his age and he’s got a very good skill set in that he can bowl yorkers and bouncers. He’s also a useful batsman so he’s a very good all round cricketer and nothing really fazes him.

“I would imagine when he’s free of Shrewsbury School commitments next summer that he will be banging down the door to be involved with our first team.”

Foster added Shrewsbury were disappointed to lose Jones after a single season but completely understood the reasons behind his departure and that they wished him well in his pursuit of a successful career in first-class cricket with Glamorgan.

“Obviously, Glamorgan have strong ties with the Welsh clubs and having given Dewi a contract, they want him to be with a club down there,” said Foster.

“It’s a shame to have lost him but it’s for good reasons as Dewi is doing well with Glamorgan.

“He really enjoyed the time he spent at Shrewsbury and took wickets and also contributed with the bat down the order.”

Meanwhile, Andy Barnard, the master in charge of cricket at Shrewsbury School, said Panayi’s international recognition was richly deserved.

“George has worked hard and long for this exciting selection,” said Barnard. “He becomes Shrewsbury School’s fifth national age group selection in the last ten years.”

Current Shrewsbury first teamer Ed Barnard, who also plays for Worcestershire, represented England under-19s in the last two years.

Rhuadri Smith, now with Glamorgan, played for Scotland under-19s in 2012/13.

Going further back, James Taylor, who is still attached to Shrewsbury CC, played for England U17s during his Shrewsbury School days in 2007 and also the under-19s in 2009.

Taylor is currently playing for the senior England One Day International team in Sri Lanka and top scored with 90 in last Sunday’s six-wicket defeat, his first appearance of the tour.

Scott Ellis also represented Shrewsbury School with disctinction when he played for England’s under-19s in 1994.

Barnard added: “Having narrowly missed out on selection for the Bunbury Festival two years ago, George’s outstanding performances at Shrewsbury School, where he was the leading all-rounder last season, and for Warwickshire CCC and Shrewsbury CC have promoted him into national selection.

“The hard work carried out with Paul Pridgeon, the School’s cricket professional, has helped develop George’s game and effectiveness on the pitch.”

Panayi is currently on tour in the United Arab Emirates with Shrewsbury School.

“The trip will be excellent preparation for his upcoming matches against Pakistan under-17s, one of the strongest age group teams in the world,” stressed Barnard.

Impressive Cox lays platform for Shrewsbury win

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle

Rob Foster, the Shrewsbury skipper, was delighted to see Tom Cox recapture his best form as the London Roaders moved to the brink of Birmingham League premier division safety with victory over Kidderminster.

Shrewsbury, washed out at title hopefuls Barnt Green on Monday, now know victory at Knowle & Dorridge on Saturday will make them mathematically safe as they sit 51 points clear of the bottom two with three games to play.

Cox was the star of the show as Kidderminster were beaten by 11 runs in a well contested clash at London Road last Saturday.

Batting at No 3, Cox just fell short of a richly deserved century, dismissed for 94 from 122 balls, a fine knock featuring a six and nine fours, as he lifted the Shrewsbury score up to 187 all out.

No other Shrewsbury player made it past 20 as Cox, eighth man out, held the innings together.

“Tom Cox was outstanding,” said skipper Foster. “It was as good a knock I’ve seen him play for a long time and he helped us put a score on the board as we didn’t bat well as a team.

“By his standards, he’s perhaps not got the runs he would have wanted this season, so it was pleasing to see him play so well.”

A rain interruption meant Kidderminster were set a revised victory target of 176 in 42 overs, but they fell short, dismissed for 164 with eight balls remaining.

Opener Richard Kimberlin top scored with 44 but Worcestershire’s Matt Pardoe, who has lost his place at the top of the New Road club’s batting order to former Shropshire skipper Richard Oliver, managed just 13 before being caught by Steve Leach off the bowling of Mike Barnard.

Shrewsbury were pleased to welcome back a Worcestershire player of their own in Joe Leach, but he took a back seat as the lion’s share of the wickets were shared between Dewi Jones (3-26), Sam Griffiths (3-28) and Elliot Green (3-37).

“It was good to get a win,” added Foster. “All the bowlers did really well and we also took some good catches.”

Meanwhile, improving Shrewsbury II host leaders Knowle & Dorridge II in the Birmingham League’s premier reserve division on Saturday chasing a great escape from relegation.

Shrewsbury’s second string hauled themselves off the bottom of the table with an impressive five run victory at Moseley II last Saturday but were then washed out at home to Barnt Green II on Monday.

Shrewsbury’s total of 208-9 just proved to be enough as Moseley were removed for 203.

George Panayi was the top performer for Shrewsbury, taking five wickets after earlier hitting 57, while the London Roaders were also well served with the bat by Henry Blofield, in good touch for 59, and Toby Jones (26).

It was a second successive victory for Shrewsbury after beating Attock a week earlier and they are 16 points adrift of safety with three games to play.

“We’ve given ourselves a bit of a chance,” said captain Jon Anders. “We’ve still got three of the top four to play in Knowle & Dorridge, Wolverhampton and Walmley.

Shrewsbury are without both Panayi and Blofield this weekend.