He readily admits he has a hard act to follow but Toby Shaw is delighted to be Shropshire County Cricket Club's new chairman ahead of the start of an exciting new campaign.
The 50-year-old had no hesitation in accepting the opportunity to succeed Bryan Foulkes at the helm and he has high hopes for the 2012 season which gets under way when Shropshire play a friendly against Staffordshire at Shifnal on Sunday (15th).
“I am incredibly proud to be chairman,” said Mr Shaw. “It's something that has perhaps come a little earlier than I expected.
“I've got a hard act to follow as Bryan Foulkes has become a very important statesman to the club, someone people can identify with. He's been tremendously helpful and I'm delighted he's agreed to become president.
“It is a very exciting time and it's now just about balancing my work and other commitments.”
Mr Shaw, a partner in established local chartered surveyors Towler Shaw Roberts, was invited to join the Shropshire committee in 2005 and quickly proved to be a vibrant addition.
“It was a time when the club were having some tough times from a financial perspective,” he recalled. “Perhaps Bryan Foulkes identified in my business connections that I may be able to help out.
“I presented a blueprint in how I saw the club going forward and we needed to find ways that could generate income.
“We established a hospitality day centred around cricket which continues to go from strength to strength. It has become a big social event for the business community and I'm proud of it.
“We will be holding it once again at Wrekin College later this summer when Shropshire play an Invitation XI and 54 tables have already been sold.
“From a financial perspective, we are in a very enviable position in comparison to a lot of other clubs - and I've now been invited by the Minor Counties Cricket Association to advise them on the future development of Minor Counties cricket for the whole country.”
Shaw, who lives at Condover, near Shrewsbury, developed his own love for cricket at an early age when he was a pupil at Kingsland Grange School, later playing as a student at Wrekin College.
He spent many years playing in the local leagues, mainly for Wroxeter where, as a wicketkeeper capable of chipping in with runs down the order, he captained the second team until calling time on his playing career four years ago.
He is now optimistic Shropshire can continue to move in the right direction, both on and off the field, under the astute captaincy of Shrewsbury skipper Ed Foster.
And he's also pleased the county have managed to entice such a talented professional as Bilal Shafayat, the former Nottinghamshire star, for the 2012 campaign.
Shaw added: “I think we have an incredibly strong one day squad. I'm very pleased with it.
“We've got a tough draw in the MCCA Knockout against the likes of Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire, but I just sense, even though we have a young side, there's something there for us to perform very well on the day against strong sides.
“In any one day competition, you need an element of luck, but I do feel we have a competitive squad and the friendly against Staffordshire this weekend will be a good barometer.”
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