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Hart beats drum for Shrewsbury

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Joe Hart

Joe Hart will be lending his support from afar when Shrewsbury meet Cambridge Granta in the final of the National Club Championship

England goalkeeper Joe Hart might have been playing for Shrewsbury in the National Club Championship final had he not decided to pursue a career in football.

The Manchester City star, who was born in Shrewsbury, played for the town’s cricket club as a youngster and will be keeping tabs on their progress when they take on Cambridge Granta at Derbyshire’s County Ground tomorrow.

“I would have loved to have gone along to watch,” Hart told ecb.co.uk. “I will be texting my friends who are going. Lots of people are going along to watch.

“Some of my friends are going in fancy dress. I’m not sure what they are going as but they have a few things lined up.”

Hart is still in touch with many of the Shrewsbury players – his best friend will be lining up against Cambridge Granta – and he says they are thrilled to have gone so far.

“They have done amazingly well to get to the final,” he said. “My best friend is playing on Saturday and he can’t wait. One of the team’s dad played in the 1983 final, which Shrewsbury won, so that’s nice for the pair of them.”

The 24-year-old, who has played 13 times for England, began his footballing career with Shrewsbury but it is his time with the cricket team that he remembers fondly.

“Being at the cricket club was a big part of my life back then,” he recalled.

“We used to play loads rather than going to watch cricket. There wasn’t much professional cricket to watch in Shropshire anyway. When you are young you want to play.

“I used to bowl left-arm. I just tried to bowl it as fast as possible. I then tried to lamp it with the bat down the order. I wasn’t anything special.

“I played for the first XI when I was 14. I was part of the Worcestershire Academy too. When I was 16 I had a decision to make and everything was leading towards football.”