CRICKET stars Michael Vaughan, Phil Tufnell and Azhar Mahmood visited Sonning Cricket Club for its president’s day celebrations.
More than 100 people gathered at the club on Sunday and guests were welcomed by president Max McNeill with a champagne reception in the pavilion before a 25-over match.
Vaughan and Mahmood played in the game, while Tufnell commentated with former Reading Football Club captain Ady Williams.
Vaughan, England’s 2005 Ashes-winning captain, said: “Tuffers and Max got me in a drunken moment and asked me to play and I said ‘why not?’
“It’s one of my biggest passions getting more people playing the game and giving kids the opportunity to see and play the game.
“I’m involved with the Pathways programme for junior cricket, so it’s nice to give something back to a small club like this.”
Tufnell, a former England spin bowler, also played at the club’s president’s day two years ago and said: “It was the last game I ever played. I pulled my hamstring in the 49th over and finished sitting here just as the sun was setting.
“I think what Max is trying to do is spot on — getting cricket as a bit of a focal point in the village.
“Grassroots cricket is where out next Ashes-winning side will be sprouting from. I’m a big supporter of local club cricket, it’s as simple as that.
Mahmood, a former Pakistan all-rounder who is now part of his country’ss coaching team, said: “It’s very important to promote the game. When I was young I went to watch cricket and I’d see my heroes during training and I would get motived to perform and play for my country one day.”
Mr McNeill told guests: “I wanted to bring the village closer to the cricket club. In my view a village isn’t the same without two things — one is a pub and the second thing, in my view, is a cricket club.
“People talk about grassroots cricket in the media — well, actually, you’re looking at it. We have got nearly 200 juniors playing here.”