Egerton Park Cricket Club toasted their superstar old boy Stuart Broad as he began his 100th Test match for England yesterday (Wednesday).
Broad became only the 14th Englishman in history to reach the landmark as the five-match series with India got under way in Rajkot.
The 30-year-old is England’s third-highest Test wicket-taker with 360 scalps, 23 behind Ian Botham and 103 adrift of Jimmy Anderson.
Broad came right the way through the ranks at the Melton club and was playing county league cricket for the First XI right up to 2004 before professional commitments overtook with Leicestershire and then Nottinghamshire.
After a spectacular trajectory, Broad made his first appearance in an England shirt in a one-day international in August 2006, aged 20, and went on to make his Test debut the following year in Sri Lanka.
Former Egerton Park chairman Geoff Goodson and wife Judy have proudly followed Broad’s international career overseas and at home.
“The first time I remember him at Egerton Park was in 1991 when he was only about five,” Geoff said. “We were playing an Old Leicester Tigers team in a Sunday friendly.
“We didn’t see his first Test, but we went to Cardiff for his first ODI. It was rained off, but Stuart got a wicket, opening the bowling with Darren Gough when Pakistan were 48-1 after seven overs!
“The club are proud to have been a part of Stuart’s cricket career. He always remembers his roots and comes back when ever he can.”
Broad, who grew up in Waltham and Whissendine, was primarily seen as a batsman during his early days at the club, like his dad Chris, a former England opener.
But a winter season with Park’s Australian sister club, Hopper’s Crossing, unearthed his bowling potential.
Current Egerton Park chairman David Glover captained the young Broad in the Second XI.
“It was quite clear we had something special,” he said. “Although at the time Oakham School took priority, once he was available he quickly became a very important member of the team.
“He would be given the ball, especially if we were up against it, and produce a miserly spell to dry up the runs and get us back in to the game.
“It was the same with the bat. He could be listed at number eight, but if quick wickets were lost he was often promoted up the order to steady the ship.
“Nothing ever fazed him, and it was all done with that wonderful smile on his face.
“Once the game was over, while the rest of us would enjoy a well-deserved post-match beer, Stuart would keep playing with the rest of the club’s youngsters until it was too dark to play.”