Stars turning out for match

Graham Sharples for Withnell Fold
Graham Sharples for Withnell Fold
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A much-loved cricketer will be honoured with a testimonial match after racking up his 50th consecutive season playing for his village team.

Former schoolteacher Graham Sharples, 64, has been turning his arm over for Withnell Fold Cricket Club since 1964.

‘Shaps’ as he is more commonly known as, has bamboozled batsmen in the Palace Shield competition throughout his career.

Now, his club Withnell Fold will honour his services with a testimonial match on Friday which runs in conjunction with ‘The Fold’s’ 110th year celebration.

Professionals Preston White, Zandre Cloete and Louis Delporte, who represent Euxton, Brinscall and Barnoldswick respectively, will represent the Withnell Fold chairman’s team.

Accrington’s Ockert Erasmus and current professional Matt Kleinveldt will represent the East Lancashire side.

Fold first team skipper Michael Atkinson, said: “Personally I’m gutted to be missing Friday night due to being at my dad’s wedding.

“It would have been a great game to be involved in and for obviously the occasion of Graham Sharples’ 50th season.

“It is a great achievement and I, along with everyone else up at the club, has nothing but respect for the old timer.”

Friday evening will consist of a Twenty/20 match which starts at 6pm.

Entrance will be free of charge and the club is hoping for a bumper crowd to help celebrate this prestigious event.

Mr Atkinson added: “Since his retirement and especially this season Shaps’ has been instrumental in keeping the ground looking as good as it does. Every club needs people like this and we are lucky to have Graham Sharple. His commitment to the cause is there for all to see.

“The last two weeks have seen a hive of activity getting the ground ready for what is hoped will be a successful evening we’ve worked really hard and the place is looking gorgeous. We hope the event will be well attended and a great social night will be had by all.”