Club Cricket Conference

Sunday, 31st May 2020

Below Cook knighthood there was nobody from volunteers

By Charles Randall

1 January 2019 

The knighthood for Alastair Cook was richly deserved in the New Year's Honours list. He was the 11th and youngest cricket knight - yes, another record - and he headed a very small group in the sport to receive recognition.

Apart from Cook, there were  honours for other former international players Enid Bakewell (MBE),  Matthew Maynard (MBE) and Alvin Kallicharran (British Empire Medal). The only non former internationals proved to be Peter Wynne-Thomas, 84, a cricket writer, historian and statistician, and Richard Hill, the ECB operations manager for disability cricket.

Wynne-Thomas was recognised with a BEM for a life-time's work in developing the collection of cricket books and memorabilia in the Trent Bridge library to one of the most extensive in the world. Hill, a former Hertfordshire player of disability, was awarded an MBE for his tireless work for the ECB in creating a world class disability programme.

A striking aspect of the Honours list was the complete absence of volunteers in club or schools cricket. Not one grassroots volunteer. The reason for this is hard to fathom; other sports such as football and boxing, for example,  produced a veritable glut of honours. Cricket has always played a role in community relations, especially in breaking down racial and ethnic divisions. One could speculate that cricket projects the wrong elitist image or that the ECB remain somehow at fault.  Admirably, the ECB have continued to recognise deserving volunteers with their own annual awards at Lord's, known as OSCAs, but it seems that not enough names have been forwarded nationally or locally for a cherished 'gong'.

Bakewell, 78, was a fine left-arm spin all-rounder and one of the first dominant England players, along with Rachael Heyhoe Flint, to launch women's cricket into the public consciousness. Maynard, hit by the death of his son Tom, and Kallicharran, with son Rohan suffering bi-polar mental illness, have been honoured for their tireless work in raising money for charity.

Perhaps the winners of the ECB's 2018 OSCA awards at Lord's in October did not contribute enough to society as a whole to warrant Honours consideration, but they all made a difference to cricket in their own spheres.

Anna Tunnicliff, of Town Malling CC in Kent, won the Coach of the Year award for her work in girls cricket, which included her success in setting up the first primary schools festival in the Tonbridge area at Kings Hill CC last June.

Cllr Jill Anderson, Deputy Mayor for Tonbridge & Malling, presented the prizes at the festival and said:  "It's absolutely brilliant seeing the girls taking up sport and enjoying it." Helen Fagg, a Kent Cricket community officer, said: "We're really grateful to Anna and all the other volunteers throughout the county for arranging these tournaments, which give opportunities to plenty of girls."

Astonishingly Anna, without any previous connection with cricket in 2017, became a highly respected  Level Two coach within two years.

The Lifetime Achiever OSCA award went to Tony Banks for his work at Springhill CC. In 50 years at the Wolverhampton club he fulfilled most roles, from groundsman and  player to chairman, and he oversaw the recent rebuild of the pavilion, helping to raise most of the funding. Erica Turner, the Northamptonshire women's wicketkeeper, won her Young Coach award for her live-wire coaching and inspiration to others.

ECB OSCA awards 2018

All Stars Cricket Centre of the Year:  Downend CC,  Gloucestershire
Leagues and Board: Peter Wreford, Arden Sunday Cricket League, Warwickshire
Women’s Soft Ball Festival of the Year: Asian Sports Association, Leicestershire
Coach of the Year : Anna Tunnicliff, Kent
NatWest CricketForce: Stiffkey CC, Norfolk
Vitality U19 20, Club of the Year: Oakley CC, Hampshire
Young Coach of the Year: Erica Turner, Northamptonshire
Heartbeat of the Club Award in partnership with Hardy’s:  Alison
Slack, Fishlake CC,  Yorkshire
Young Volunteer of the Year:  Amy Carnwell, Oakamoor CC, Staffordshire
Officiating - Umpires and Scorers:  Heather Vernon, Warwickshire County ACO
Outstanding Contribution to Coaching: Jonathan Caldecott, Shropshire
Outstanding Contribution to Disability Cricket: British Association
for Cricketers with Disabilities (BACD)
Lifetime Achievement Award:  Tony Banks, Springhill CC,  Staffordshire