Thursday 20th of November saw Thomas Fleetwood and 13 other members of Ledbury Cricket Club travel to London to collect The West Midlands District Award from The Forty Club, an organisation formed in 1936 to share the experience of cricket from the older generation to the younger generation in cricket today. The journey lasted two and a half hours, and by 9:00pm they had arrived at London Paddington, ready for a day’s worth of sightseeing before the big day on Friday.
Friday morning saw the club representatives strolling around the sights of London, seeing attractions such as Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, The Globe Theatre, and a wander around the Tate Modern to name a few; the weather was very bright throughout the day, ensuring it would be a weekend to remember. On the walk we also got a glimpse of Lord’s Cricket Ground from the outside, standing by The Grace Gates thinking it would not be long before we were living every cricketer’s dream.
As 6.00pm came The LCC XIV made their way into The Long Room bar for complimentary drinks, saw our names on the table plan, and by 7.00pm, made our way to our seats for the night. As we get to our chairs, the winning captains from each district were called in to The Long Room from the tip of Scotland all the way down to Cornwall; the LCC cohort cheering as our U15 captain Thomas Fleetwood walked into the room.
The 3-course meal was more than we could have imagined, with salmon, lamb and Frangipane barely touching the sides of our mouths as we took in the splendour of the architecture, paintings on the wall, and (only a stone’s throw away) the famous Lords square, only made visible by some dimly lit floodlights.
Upon checking the programme for the night and seeing the myriad of private and grammar schools surrounding our names, we found Ledbury Cricket Club were the only club in the entirety of The British Isles to have won an award and be represented on the night; the magnitude of which amplified how star struck each member was. Once the dinner had concluded, we go the chance to speak to some of the members of The Forty Club and heard how impressed they were with the youth system at Ledbury CC, the maturity of Thomas’ captaincy on the day of the game and how the game is being played in the right ethos at Orlham Lane.
Once the night was over, The LCC XIV made their way back to the hotels, and sight refuge for the night, from what was most definitely an event no one member was going to forget for a very long while. The early morning saw some sightseeing for The LCC XIV, visiting Lords once again for a guided tour, as well as getting to see the changing of the guard!
Thomas Fleetwood has been playing for Ledbury Cricket Club for over 3 years now, having helped with our ex-Head Groundsman Geoffrey Fletcher since the age of 9. He has flourished in his role of U15 captain, also having captained some of the club’s senior games on Sunday afternoons; this achievement not only shows the amount of work the whole club has put in to promote cricket in Ledbury, but the quality of Thomas’ character on the field.
Picture: Development XI Captain Thomas Fleetwood Accepting The West Midlands Regional Award from ex-Test Match Special Producer Peter Baxter