YOUNG HERO: THE NOMINEES

The Cricketer's Young Hero was open to anyone under the age of 16 who has made an outstanding contribution during lockdown, either for a cricket-related cause or via a cricket-related activity. 

Those nominated are listed below...

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JACKSON BENTLEY

Nine-year-old Jackson Bentley spent his lockdown period building an Instagram page full of coaching tips, challenges, vlogs and guest appearances from top players.

With the help of his father, he built his own training centre, complete with a net and a bright blue Flicx pitch, which Jackson used as his studio to host tutorials and present tips to his viewers.

He hopes his regular stream of content has kept people entertained and might attract more youngsters like him to the game.

BEN LONG

Ben Long, a 13-year-old from Gloucestershire, has been nominated by several proposers.

The Rockhampton CC player took to fundraising through lockdown, launching his own Cricket Against Corona challenge, which saw him take 100 catches off a rebound net and face 100 throwdowns each day – a combined activity that took him close to 90 minutes each time.

He did this every day for 21 days, raising over £1,000 for NHS Charities Together in the process.

LUCIE AXCELL & KATIE STURGESS

Lucy Axcell and Katie Sturgess, two 12-year-old friends, helped to keep their club afloat through the difficult lockdown period.

Without being able to recoup any income, Penkridge Cricket Club were struggling. And so, Lucy and Katie – both of whom play for Penkridge’s girls’ team and Staffordshire at county age-group level – decided to do their bit.

They opted to cycle the equivalent distance of Lord’s to Penkridge CC during the month of May – 223km each, completing the challenge with days to spare. They set up a JustGiving page, raising £1,800 in the process for the club.

In the words of their proposer: “This has enabled the club to keep going. They have basically saved the club with their actions. The future looked grim until the girls stepped in.”

Penkridge are due to celebrate their 70th birthday this year.

GEORGE JONES

With the coronavirus pandemic taking away George Jones’ cricket, the eight-year-old, who plays for Stony Stratford CC, decided to set himself a target of 50,000 catches!

Having raced easily to 20,000, he hit a wall. But after a fundraising effort and a social media appeal, which garnered messages from a batch of new celebrity fans – including badminton player Gail Emms, boxer Tony Bellew, author Sarah Pinborough and Trainspotting writer Irvine Welsh, George rediscovered the motivation.

He took his final catches on a Facebook Live video, before his parents rewarded his success by buying him his own cricket ball.

FRANKIE BANCROFT

Eight-year-old Frankie Bancroft was understandably gutted when it was announced that the ECB’s All Stars programme would be postponed at the start of the summer due to Covid-19.

Instead of sulking, however, she arranged her own programme.

With the help of her father, she recorded videos of her own garden cricket activities, before posting them on Leicester Ivanhoe CC’s Facebook page to be shared – her four videos of 12 games have been viewed more than 2,000 times.

Her father does the voiceover for them, explaining how each drill can be adjusted.

SADIE HODGSON

In a normal year, Sadie Hodgson would spend her cricket season playing for Nottinghamshire girls Under-17, Plumtree Ladies and Wollaton CC.

This year, in the game’s absence, she took on a 250km seven-day cycle challenge to raise money for MS Society.

Not only did she complete the ride in the final week of May, climbing 4,500 feet in her 14 hours of cycling, she also raised over £1,500 for the charity.

CHARLIE MOYSER

Wiltshire-based Charlie Moyser has kept himself engrossed with cricket even in its absence.

The 11-year-old, who plays for Winsley CC and West Wiltshire, has followed the news through The Cricketer and even sent the website a match report from one Quarantine Cup fixture.

GEORGE CHARLES-PRICE

Last year, George Charles-Price underwent epilepsy surgery, working through it and coming out stronger afterwards.

He then made it into Wales’ regional performance squad and spent the winter looking forward to a huge summer of cricket for West Glamorgan and Mumbles CC.

However, with lockdown came a delay in his plans. Instead, he has trained every day, creating a social media profile on Twitter (@GeorgecharlesP1) to demonstrate his batting and bowling practice.

He has done all he can to keep himself fit and motivated, while using his videos to help his teammates. He has also raised £700 for Young Epilepsy through a challenge that saw him hit 260 cricket balls.

EDWARD LOZE

Five-year-old Edward Loze raised £1,630 for the NHS through lockdown, despite having set an initial target of £200.

A first-year member at Somerset, he decided to emulate Captain Tom Moore.

Edward opted to run 10 laps of his 201m garden for 10 days – 12.49 miles in total – some effort for one so young!

This year was initially set to be his first going to matches at Taunton.

ZACH COPELAND

Seven-year-old Zach Copeland, who plays for Wedgwood CC in Stoke, raised more than £50 for the club’s junior section during lockdown out of a grand club-wide total of £400.

Zach sold his old toys and books at a yard sale.

The remainder of the money raised by the club came through an online festival, with Zach’s £50 coming on the back of his own idea.

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