Club Cricket Conference

Sunday, 16th December 2018

Lowe family enjoys experience of CCC hospitality and spin

By Charles Randall

3 December 2018


The father of a spin scholarship winner enjoyed his Club Cricket Conference lunch at Lord's last week, accepting the award on behalf of his son and winning a 43-inch television into the bargain.

The two winners of the spin scholarship, selected for a week's coaching  in Mumbai, were Joe Lowe, a leg-spinner from Formby CC, and Gurbaj Singh, a Hinckley Town CC left-armer. Lowe was absent in Australia on his university gap year, but his father David stood in with greater than expected success by taking first prize in the raffle.

The two spinners should gain extra confidence in India from their trip to the Global Cricket School in March or April through the generous sponsorship of Sachin Bajaj, owner of the school, and Southall Travel, with further support from Cricket Deal Direct, Leicestershire CCC,  The Cricket Paper  and Notts Sport.

The annual CCC lunch, one of the great events of the close-season calendar, was attended by more than 400 people at the Nursery Pavilion, featuring the wit of Phil Tufnell in a question session with host Roger Dakin.

The keynote speech was delivered by Simon Prodger, managing director of the National Cricket Conference, drawing attention to two successful projects by the CCC and NCC. These were the Home Office-funded citizenship scheme, known as Character Through Cricket, and  the defibrillators campaign.

Prodger disclosed that Character Through Cricket would now be launched in February for a trial period of 18 months  after delays since the original announcement in 2016. He said this was a significant initiative, using cricket to harmonise a "fractured" society.

He said: "Through these two pilot projects, we will work with 1,200 young people in secondary schools, delivering through the coaching and playing of cricket, character traits essential to active citizenship, social integration, self fulfilment, achievement of goals and creating young leaders."

Prodger said he was "deeply proud" of the NCC and CCC involvement with the scheme  in partnership with Aureus Social Ventures, Sporting Equals and Sport Legacy Foundation. Communities in   Newham and Birmingham were targeted as part of the wider Building a Stronger Britain Together programme.

As for mobile defibrillators, fund-raising through the Club Cricket Charity  began in 2016 to provide  them to cricket clubs and park teams, as the result of a survey with All Out Cricket  magazine.  "Late last year the ECB joined us in the project and provided £100,000 to the general fund," Prodger said. "By May of this year the charity and its service partner, the Community Heartbeat Trust, had distributed over 100 units to the cricket community and as of now, that figure has risen to 140 units, delivered, insured and training provided. It has been an incredible project thus far."

Prodger outlined the strides made towards the improved governance of recreational cricket. The partnership between the NCC and ECB was formalised at the CCC lunch in 2014, with the idea of helping the ECB engage with the non-professional sector on a nation-wide basis. This followed initiatives by the Club Cricket Conference and the work by the CCC official Gulfraz Riaz to engage with the Asian and Caribbean cricket communities, so that the formation of the National Asian Cricket Council was soon welcomed as a major step in the right direction.

Prodger disclosed that the NCC were in the process of negotiating another  contractual term with the ECB from 2020. He said: "We are deeply committed to supporting all stake-holders within the governance of the game, in doing what’s best for cricket and representing the fundamental interests of cricket clubs and leagues of all denominations, up and down the country."

He added: "The  National Asian Cricket Council is actively engaged with the ECB on multiple strands of its delivery; it has succeeded in bringing together varying cultural cricketing communities to be represented by one body and provides an essential voice for the rich heritage of its cricket, whose players now make up well over 30 per cent of the total playing population of this country."

He added that the National Asian Cricket Council was now acknowledged as a principle adviser to the ECB's south asian cricket strategy. The council became the fourth management partner in the National Cricket Conference, alongside the founding three of the CCC, Midlands Club Cricket Conference and the League Cricket Conference, from the north.

Prodger praised the meteoric playing career of Sophia Dunkley, who made her debut for the CCC in 2013 at the age of only 14 and scored back-to-back centuries in a triangular tournament against Combined Services and MCC. One of CCC's "own" was selected by  England for every match during the recent World T20 in the West Indies, including the final.

"Sophia is a huge talent and remains very much in contact with us," Prodger said. "We are thrilled and proud to consider her as one of our own and look forward to seeing her international career blossom in the coming years. Congratulations, Sophia, on your wonderful achievement."

Prodger concluded by wishing the CCC's key administrator Stan Nicholson the very best in his battle with cancer. "We have missed Stan as he has undergone therapy and now recuperation over the past three months. He is very much in our thoughts and we are all hoping for a strong recovery and looking forward to having Stan back in the office and on the boundary at our matches next year."

As usual, the diners at Lord's raised a large amount of money for club cricket, with the auction alone producing £12,400. The magnificent Lord’s nursery pavilion venue was provided courtesy of the MCC and their chief executive Guy Lavender.