Stokes’ power strokes

Ben Stokes pitched up at Sunderland Golf Centre recently – and astonished onlookers with the sort of power hitting he normally serves up for the England cricket team.

The Durham CCC all-rounder is known to like a game of golf, plays off a handicap of 12, and certainly impressed Sunderland Golf Centre owner Chris Pope on his visit to the 42-bay floodlit driving range as part of a Callaway and American Golf custom-fitting day.

“As you might expect, Ben plays left handed,” said Chris, “and he gives a real belt. He hit a seven iron all of 225 yards while warming up on the range.”

The England vice-captain joined his skipper Joe Root to take part in a longest drive competition at Woburn last season and Stokes won with an impressive 295-yard shot.

He also launched a drive out to 313 yards at the American Golf Cricketer’s Cup competition, which suggests he might have a future in their annual long-driving competition.

Stokes recently became the Indian Premier League’s most expensive foreign player in a £1.8m deal for the 2017 season.