LV= Insurance Pride of Cricket Awards: Vote for the Pride of Cricket Award winner
Dozens of entries were received for the LV= Insurance Pride of Cricket Award for 2021. The Pride of Cricket Awards judging panel has whittled the entry list down to a shortlist of 10 names. Read their nominations and vote for your favourite…
"His lifelong obsession began in his teens and has continued for 50 years thereafter. He is the bedrock of our club and does the jobs people don't realise, the opening of the clubhouse for the junior practices, the emptying and sorting of the bins after a Saturday night, the attending the league meetings 50 miles away in the middle of winter.
"He has done the usual roles within the club, managed junior and senior teams, been secretary, director or cricket, has ran the bar single-handed for 30 years and now sits as our president.
"He has also worked in a representative capacity managing junior and league sides for many a year and is universally known around South Yorkshire as 'one of the good guys,' with the club that effective he built seen by many as the blueprint of how to run a club and a junior section.
"The club has expanded greatly in the recent years including the formation of a female senior side, of which Steve installed himself as team manager. After a couple of seasons of playing in tournaments they have entered the South Yorkshire Soft Ball League."
"This growth of the club - we now have five junior sides, Dynamos, All Stars and the above female section - has led to the club having to build an off -ield net facility to allow games and practice nights to happen simultaneously. Fittingly we have named this The Steve Fletcher Net Facility as a lasting legacy to a man that epitomises 'The Whitley Way.'
"Unfortunately we have received the devastating news before the start of the season that Steve has been diagnosed with cancer and that unfortunately recent treatment has not been as successful as they had hoped.
"This has rocked the club to the core, and whilst there will be a loss that we will never be able to truly fill, we are trying to make sure 'we give the ball a right kick' and make his remaining time at the club some of the most enjoyable, even if we can’t guarantee no more of the batting collapses which frustrate him so much and winning such an award would be a fitting testament for the years of selfless dedication he has given to primarily the club, but also to Ben-Jessop Junior League, South Yorkshire Cricket and Yorkshire Cricket as a whole.”
"Steve Fletcher is WHCC and if we can run the club half as well as he has over the years in the future, I personally will be a very satisfied man. But it will take eight people to replace what Steve used to do by himself in what has been a lifetime's work and passion."
"A volunteer in sports administration and management since 1955 – a total of 66 years - Hugh Milner has been involved in the management of various sports (cricket, football, table tennis) since he was aged 14 in 1955.
"He is currently a vice president of the Sussex County Cricket Club; president of Littlehampton CC; director of Sussex Seniors Cricket; manager of Littlehampton Sportsfield; and secretary and trustee of the Littlehampton Sportsfield Trust.
"His previous clubs include Puddleton, Dorchester, Dorchester YMCA. He played for Littlehampton for 49 years between 1967 and 2016 and has served in just about every position imagineable on and off the field.
"Hugh was awarded the Littlehampton mayor's award for liftetime contribution to sport in 2005 and has sat on boards and committees across the cricket community in Sussex. He managed and captained the England over 70s between 2013 and 2015."
"Martin has been in charge of cricket at Tiffin School for 47 years.
"The school has had academy status since 2011 having previously been a grammar school. Places at the school are highly sought after as it has extremely high academic standards. As a result, there are no sports scholarships at the school, unlike many of Tiffin's competitor schools.
"In his 47-year tenure Martin has coached many fine cricketers, many of whom have gone on to have very good careers in the First Class game. Alec Stewart, Mark Feltham and the Harinath brothers are just a few in this category while many, many more have continued to play a very good standard of club cricket after leaving school.
"It has not been all plain sailing as Martin has had to deal with a serious lack of funds for quite some time, something that would not be expected for a teacher in a grammar school or public school. He has been the team minibus driver for most of his time at the school. More extraordinarily, he continues to be umpire and scorer for the 1st XI, he has been (and continues to be) the 'tea lady' for a large portion of his career and, more recently, he has been the groundsman as well. He is the fixture secretary for all the school teams and he has also run annual tours to Holland and closer to home.
"He has done all this while being a teacher of modern languages at the school. The cricket role is secondary to his teaching yet he has given and continues to give an enormous amount of his own time to ensure that the cricket continues to thrive. He now has more teams than ever playing regularly throughout the summer term, giving opportunities to even more pupils to represent the school, whatever their level.
"If you have the pleasure in meeting Martin you will find an incredibly modest man who never seeks recognition for what he has done and continues to do for the pupils at the school. He can rightfully be described as a 'true gentleman' who has an unwavering enthusiasm for the game and playing it in the correct manner. He continually encourages his players to adopt these beliefs and doesn't suffer inappropriate behaviour."
"On the surface others could be seen to do a similar job but the difference with Ian is his longevity, commitment, genuine care to helping the lives of children and people through cricket.
"He really is one of the most incredibly kind, conscientious and selfless people you will ever meet. He holds the respect of every person who knows him in the Bristol cricket community because of his amazingly patient, committed and caring approach.
"His roles have never been for his own benefit but for those of others. He is on call day or night to help parents and their kids and has the most kind and enthusing nature of any person I have ever met.
"His unbending focus is that everyone deserves a chance and his hope is that if he can give them an opportunity they will hopefully benefit not only on the cricket field but in their future lives. Evidence of this is the amount of ex youth team players who when you mention you are part of Stapleton Cricket Club immediately ask “How’s Crawf”.
"This is usually followed by an explanation of what a great person he is and how he helped them in some way. He has recently done a lot of work with the Afghan Refugee community that have come to Bristol. As such this has helped many Afghan children to settle in the UK and find happiness playing cricket for Stapleton.
"His efforts have crossed cultural and language barriers. To see the kids beaming when they see him is a sight to behold. He genuinely is their hero. His efforts don’t just stop there. He has in the last five years also taxied an 80 year old infirmed gentleman to watch Bristol Rovers when they are playing at home.
"Without fail he combines this with organising and coordinating the under-12 indoor team on a Saturday afternoon during the winter. Because of congestion around his home he can often be seen dragging the club kit and carrying the raft of kids' helmets along Nevil Road to the venue.
"On offers of help his response is always “thanks so much but I only live around the corner and you don’t want to fuss with the traffic”
"During the recent Covid-19 crisis Ian has also shown his commitment to delivering for the club and the children, stepping up and being the driving force in getting cricket re-started. He has again given up his time to be there all day to supervise the socially distanced net sessions and put in hours of thought in planning practice sessions for the pods as restrictions were relaxed slightly.
"Ian is simply one of life’s unsung and understated legends and truly deserves recognition for his endless service to Stapleton Cricket Club, the wider cricket community and people in general."
"Cricket clubs wouldn't operate without people in the background helping out and organising. However, for Lullington Park CC in Derbyshire, the club wouldn't operate without one person alone.
"David Fern has been at the cricket club for as long as I can remember, and has been an integral part of the running of the club. To be honest, Dave does everything. Dave's responsibility ranges from groundsman to secretary, and here are a few of his jobs:
- Giving lifts to the overseas (including driving to coaching courses)
- Prepare two grounds for junior and senior games
- Collects subscriptions
- Repairs and maintains club equipment
- League representative
- Organises winter nets
- Organises club meetings
- Stocks the bar
- Organises junior training
- Helps with selection when we are sturggling for Sunday players
- Works behind bar at junior evenings
- Manages our social media and emails
"I could go on and on...
"I'm sure there are many clubs with a guy like Dave, but his love and passion for this cricket club is unmatched. He will spend more time at the cricket club than he does at home, and he never ever complains about it.
"Dave did the unthinkable this year and went on holiday for four days during the week, this highlighted how important he was to the club, as it spread utter fear among the members.
"Lullington Park has four Saturday senior teams, one Sunday team and various junior teams, and it's no exaggeration to say this wouldn't exist without Dave Fern.
"We also host many charity cricket games which Dave Fern helps organise and also prepare the ground for.
"We have an award each year which honours the clubman/clubwoman of the year, but it's never given to Dave as it would make the trophy pointless as he would win with ease each year.
"I would love to see Dave Fern recognised for his hard work and passion for Lullington Park. It's also worth noting he is the secretary for the league as well, which takes even more of his time up.
"You would not find a better winner of this award! The village of Lullington itself has a population less than 50 people, so to keep this cricket club thriving is some effort by one man alone.
"During the pandemic, Dave organised regular club meetings, with no real aim to discuss club matters but to ensure older club members had people to talk to. He's one of the most selfless people I've ever met. I'm sure I would be very much a different person without Dave."
"Tim Burleigh is an extraordinary man and an outstanding ambassador for cricket. He has been the heart of cricket at Wellesley House, a prep school for boys and girls up to the age of 13, for 37 years. Much of that time was spent teaching French and Latin and running the cricket, but since retiring from classroom teaching to spend more time with his wife on their small holding, he has remained involved in the coaching of cricket, giving so generously and freely of his time.
"Over the years at Wellesley, he has coached a huge number of keen and aspiring young cricketers and he has been instrumental in shaping the success of many professional cricketers through their formative experiences - including but not limited to Alex Loudon, Sam Northeast, Ollie Robinson and Jordan Cox.
"Indeed, as a result of his experiences with Mr Burleigh at Wellesley, Loudon called him “the greatest coach I ever had”. However, it is not just at the elite end that Mr Burleigh has made his mark. He is the very definition of inclusivity and is equally committed to inspiring those who are new to the game of cricket.
"He was instrumental in picking girls for boys teams based on merit, long before women’s and girls’ cricket became as high profile as it is now. A blend of his caring nature and his straight talking and honest approach has created the ideal environment of all young cricketers feeling safe yet also being stretched and striving to get better.
"Technically and tactically, he is outstanding and always finds innovative ways to enhance the skills and abilities of those whom he coaches. As cricket has evolved, so too has he as a coach - he epitomises the very definition of growth mindset - and he is never afraid of trying new ways to help the youngsters learn.
"One area that has remained consistent, however, is his extraordinary positivity and his relentless belief in individuals. Through his commitment, interest and care of young people, he has the innate ability to inspire confidence in everyone. His focus has always been on developing people, not just cricketers.
Long after a busy Wellesley House school day is over, Mr Burleigh can always be seen in the nets, on the outfield or on the square with engaged and inspired young cricketers. He doesn’t believe in bowling machines - he feels that it is far more authentic for him to underarm, throw or bowl at the batters - depending on the focus of the session. How he hasn’t needed shoulder surgery is nothing short of a miracle!
It would be almost impossible to find a better ambassador for cricket. Every single coaching session is approached with the same level of enthusiasm and total commitment to the children in his care. A more naturally understated and selfless man you could not meet. I cannot imagine a more worthy nominee for a Pride of Cricket Award."
"Pat has been our scorer for over 20 years and prior to that for J & E Halls CC which subsequently merged with Dartford, taking her to a full half-century of dedicated scoring.
"Not only that she has been our community support liaison officer, secretary of both senior and junior sections of the club. Also she keeps us all in order by ensuring our subscriptions are collected in a timely fashion as our membership secretary. Pat is also our welfare officer.
"Last year during the Covid pandemic’s first summer when our nets had to be booked and tracked Pat took on this onerous task and ensured everything ran smoothly.
"This included her sitting in her car having opened the net facility and waiting until everyone had finished (a wait of up to four hours) so she could sanitise the nets between each booking. All this entirely voluntarily.
"She has also been the district secretary for Dartford and Gravesham and is well known and respected throughout Kent."
"Jackie has simply re-written the law book for cricketing wives and mothers.
"The official post-Ken Jeffery era was inevitably difficult for Torquay CC having their greatest off field allrounder retire but Jackie has turned herself into the ultimate allrounder.
"In normal times, Jackie oversees all the club catering while acting as chief chef at the Friday barbecues which brings the entire club together as well as much needed income. Add to that her barmaid duties, in Jackie’s own words “it’s just like turning back the clock to my 20s.”
"Jackie has persuaded many families to do the teas which have greatly improved due to the friendly rivalry to provide the best. Her flapjacks and lemon drizzle cake are now legendary! Even out of season, the Wednesday afternoon pavilion renovators are always supplied with cake.
"Jackie helps with the colts section, collecting subs and providing “normally” a legendary feast during the intervals at matches. It’s often though prepared between operating the scoreboard and / or unfortunately mopping up blood!
"Although catering and bar service has been somewhat curtailed, Jackie has adapted to provide and organise what she can within the restrictions – much resourcefulness has been shown.
"For clubs to flourish going forward, diversification is the key. Jackie this year has been at the forefront when it came to this with organising the out sourcing of catering for two nights of a successful open air cinema. Jackie has plans for the return of pig racing nights (not real before you ask).
"Jackie acts as taxi service for her two sons who play. Even at a very young age, the children put many older members to shame when it came to helping – I wonder where they get that from!
"Had the situation with Covid-19 deteriorated further, Jackie had put in place a team of volunteers to help any club members in difficulty, because of self-isolating. Going forward this team could still be mobilised at a moment’s notice for differing situations that may occur.
"If there has been a positive for both the club and Jackie herself, with no Friday night barbecue, Jackie has been able to immerse herself in the Wine and Wickets initiative – both actively participating (Jackie’s competitive nature certainly come to the fore) while encouraging other mums, sisters and wives to join a growing band of female cricketers.
She is an excellent example of actively encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion at the club.
Most importantly though, Jackie is a magnificent listener if a member is having a tough time – a welfare officer in all but name!
"Charlie has been a member for 67 years, he is now 81 years old. Throughout that time he has had various roles including 1st XI captain and more recently president (a position he has held for more than a decade).
"This season Charlie has painted the clubhouse and sheds, put up new fencing around the ground and continued his work as part of the grounds team preparing pitches for every game (multiple times a week). He spends almost seven days a week at the club working and doing odd jobs.
"On top of his volunteering, Charlie watches and supports the senior teams on Saturdays, showing great support to our young teams.
"Despite all this he doesn't like a fuss being made of him so most of this work has been uncelebrated until now. Overall, a priceless member of the club whose enthusiasm has not dwindled in 67 years. He deserves real recognition."
"Tom has been with North Perrott for the best part of 70 years (no one truly knows the exact number), 60 of which have been working as groundsman. He and his nickname 'Old Dog' are legendary around South Somerset cricketing circles, with long-term friends at all visiting clubs.
"It's rare for someone to come to Willis Lane without remarking on the spectacular ground or the extremely flat pitches, which are entirely down to his hard work. Tom's dilligent nature helps generate the club's welcoming character as soon as you drive through the gates.
"Tom's day usually starts at 6.30am with a roll of the outfield to ensure any unevenness is flattened out with the morning dew, before moving on to the meticulous ritual of the wicket and outfield preparation. By lunchtime he is usually ready to go with pitch markings before propping up the bar just in time for the first ball to be bowled, ensuring that he lets the outgoing batsman (from both teams) what he thinks of their ability.
"In recent years Tom's hard work has brought Minor Counties cricket to North Perrott, and a T20 friendly between Dorset and Somerset. Small reward for countless hours of grind. The pitch typically sees 70 matchdays on it per season, with everything from colts and local schools all the way up to Dorset CCC fixtures.
"What makes it even more remarkable, Tom works for free. A few bottles of whiskey a season is all you need to keep him happy and ticking over on the roller; he is utterly relentless.
"To put it in his own words "I'll be put in the ground before I stop working on the ground". Adored by all that he meets, Tom truly is the definition of a club legend."
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