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20 September, an evening with andy flower obe

On 20th September, the Herefordshire Cricket Society will be welcoming one of Zimbabwe's all time greatest batsmen and arguably one of England Cricket's finest coaches. The eldest of two test-playing brothers, Andy Flower was for a long time Zimbabwe's only batsman of true Test quality in all conditions. For a period of about two years from the start of 2000 he was so phenomenally consistent that he has no rival as the best player in Zimbabwe's history and is only comparable with the likes of Adam Gilchrist in terms of wicketkeeper-batsmen. Flower played 63 Test matches for Zimbabwe, scoring 4,794 runs at an average of 51.54 and taking 151 catches and 9 stumpings, and 213 One Day Internationals, scoring 6,786 runs at an average of 35.34 and taking 141 catches and 32 stumpings. He holds the Zimbabwean records for the most Test career runs, the highest Test batting average, and most ODI career runs. He is the only Zimbabwean in the ICC's All Time Test Batting Rankings at number 31 (November 2013), putting him in the company of Brian Lara (ranked 23), Sachin Tendulkar (29), Steve Waugh (equal 31 with Flower on 895 points) and Rahul Dravid (33). Towards the end of his career, Flower achieved international recognition when he and teammate Henry Olonga wore black armbands during the 2003 Cricket World Cup match against Namibia to protest against Robert Mugabe's policies. This act led to pressure from Zimbabwe's government and Flower's retirement from Zimbabwean cricket.

Post his playing career, Flower is enjoying a stellar coaching career, most notably guiding the men's England Cricket Team to become the number 1 Test team in the world. He also coached England to their only major major international honours, winning the 2010 T20 World Cup. Flower is currently 'Technical Director of Elite Coaching' for the ECB which incorporates him being Head Coach of the England Lions Team.

There is no doubt that Andy Flower OBE is one of the true greats of the game, both as a player and a coach, and we are honoured to host him this coming September.

The event will be hosted at The Green Man, Fownhope, HR1 4PE

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18 October, an evening with geoff cope

On 18th October, the Herefordshire Cricket Society is honoured to host an evening with Yorkshire great, Geoff Cope. Cope played first-class cricket for Yorkshire from 1966 to 1980 initially during the era of Brian Close and Ray Illingworth. He took 686 wickets at an average of 25 and also appeared in three Test matches for England.

Cope tells the story of early success, followed by time out of the game remodelling his bowling action; a Test match hat-trick; the drama of the days that led to his joining the four-man board that rescued Yorkshire; and the diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa, a gradual loss of eyesight that now leaves him reliant on a guide dog.

He is a favourite speaker on the cricket society circuit with a great stock of anecdotes and a wonderful gift for bringing alive the past.

 

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15 november, An Evening with Ashley Giles mbe

On 15th November, we are delighted to host the one and only 'King of Spain', Ashley Giles MBE. Giles, a former English first class cricketer played 54 Test matches and 62 ODIs for England, before being forced to retire as a result of a recurring hip injury. In July 2004 he recorded match-figures of 9–210 in the first Test against the Windies at Lord's (including his 100th Test wicket, Brian Lara), which won him the Man of the Match award. He followed this with his best Test-figures of 9–122 in the second Test at Edgbaston, and was instrumental in England beating the Windies twice. In that series he gained the nickname "King of Spain", after a set of mugs ordered in 2000 (for his testimonial year) were erroneously printed with that slogan, instead of "King of Spin". In 2005, he was named as one of five cricketers of the year by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. In the 2005 Ashes series, Giles captured the wickets of all of the top Australian batsmen at least once during the series. He hit the winning runs in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge to give England a 2–1 lead. He contributed a Test-best 59 runs and a century partnership with Kevin Pietersen to ensure the draw in the final Test at The Oval and a 2–1 series victory.

Giles was forced into retirement by injury in 2007 but quickly became a coach, first at Warwickshire and on 28 November 2012 the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed Ashley Giles would become England's limited overs Head Coach taking charge of the Twenty20 and One Day International teams. Since his departure from this role, he has returned to Warwickshire as Sport Director.

Giles will always be fondly remembered by all of those who watched him play over the years and is a fine example of how hard work pays off. He was undoubtedly one of England's most dependable spinners and lower order batsmen.