Shropshire honour volunteers with special OSCAs
A special posthumous Shropshire OSCA was made to groundsman Mike Hall recently in recognition of his 45 years service to tending pitches in the county.
Mike, who lost his battle against cancer earlier this year, spent every day working at the grounds since he retired ten years ago and prior to that, was in attendance most nights. He was a wonderful servant to cricket, said judges of the OSCAs which were held to honour the outstanding volunteers serving the game in Shropshire.
Charlie France was given a Lifetime Achievement award after a 60 year association with Hodnet CC, which he helped to found in 1946. Starting out as a player Charlie has undertaken most roles over the years including captain for 25 years, secretary for over 20 and now the Club’s hard working groundsman.
Tom Collins helped Darren Northwood with the Chance to Shine initiative in 2007 to win the Young Volunteer of the Year Award. Tom regularly visited local schools and ran coaching and fun cricket sessions and his contribution to coaching and managing Shropshire’s Under 11B team, a development team introducing boys and girls to cricket, was outstanding. He now spends six hours a week coaching and running the junior team having been in charge of coaching for the past three years. He is currently organising a winter coaching programme which he is organising and delivering himself.
George Franks is a long standing member, supporter and sponsor of Newport Cricket Club and for many years, has supported the Club financially, making donations of trophies for Juniors, benches for visitors and more recently cash for the Club’s overseas Professionals. In addition he has also been the head scorer for many years though last year announced his retirement from scoring duties after 60 years service to the club having travelled long distances to score for the First XI (on a completely voluntary basis) and acting as a mentor for younger scorers. He also served on the Club Committee for many years until 2006, a commitment that earned him his OSCA as winning Official in 2007.
Winner of the Building Partnerships OSCA was James Harrison, a member of Ellesmere CC and tireless supporter of junior cricket in Ellesmere, through his partnerships with local schools. He became the Club’s junior welfare officer, ensuring that the needs of young players are met in a supportive environment and is driving forward the Club’s plan to gain ClubMark accreditation.
Winners of the Another Way OSCA were Jonathan Caldecott and Neil Bradshaw who have taken responsibility for improving performances among the Shropshire squad members. Most recently they decided there was a need to focus on LTAD, fitness and healthy eating and persuaded each player to keep a diary of their weekly exercise and eating habits. They speak to each other several times a week to plan and then analyse sessions, keeping the players stimulated and committed.
Mike Sheehy won the Behind the Scenes Award while Adrian Shelley took the Groundsman award for tending to pitches every evening after work and on Saturdays mornings, a role he has willingly embraced for 20 years, without remuneration.
Shifnal Cricket Club, winners of the NatWest CricketForce Award, started their Cricket Force activities in 2004 and have been running regular pre-season weekend events ever since. building a new scorebox and kitchen, erecting fences and redecorating the inside of the pavilion.
In 2008, the Club is undertaking its biggest scheme ever. They have obtained a lease from Bradford Estates for a ground at Weston Park and will turn a football field with a decrepit old pavilion into a new ground for their third and fourth XI for next season. Work has already started on this initiative and every Saturday morning, helpers can been seen doing all sorts of jobs from clearing out the old pavilion to cutting down long grass to burning rubbish.
They have also gained some small funding help from the local V Festival and parish council, to help put a new roof on the pavilion. Much of this work has been directed by Mr CricketForce himself, chairman Adrian Collins who has spent endless hours over many years, attending clubs and county presentations encouraging clubs to take part.
And finally, the coveted Volunteer of the Year OSCA went to Norman Ross, who is well known throughout Shropshire for his youth work and other outstanding contributions made in the past 40 years. He built the youth section up to a stage where there are now over a dozen qualified coaches and well over 150 youngsters attending coaching sessions every Monday evening. He also helps out on the ground and is instrumental in organising such events as the Christmas dinner and New Years Eve party.