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Hunt scoops multi-sport groundsman gong

Lord’s groundsman Mick Hunt beat Trent Bridge’s Steve Birks to the prestigious Professional Cricket Groundsman of the Year award.

Hunt was named ahead of runner-up Birks at the multi-sport Institute of Groundsmanship annual industry awards, which was held at York Racecourse.

The Oscar-style ceremony recognised leadership, innovation and outstanding achievement across every aspect of groundscare - from grassroots pitches to professional stadia.

The judges said: “Mick Hunt's pragmatism has earned him a reputation as being one of the country's top groundsmen.

Chris Wood & Mick Hunt

Mick Hunt, right, with his award. The judges said his "pragmatism has earned him a reputation as being one of the country's top groundsmen."

“Now enjoying his 43rd year at Lord's, the home of cricket, he consistently produces flawless top-class wickets. This he achieves without formal training in pitch maintenance and management, but rather by applying his natural ability and his knack of knowing what needs to be done to the pitch and when.

“Even though Mick says he ‘has learned as I've gone along’, behind that sentiment is an obvious wealth of knowledge and experience that is revered by cricket groundsmen the world over. Why else would Australian groundsmen choose to spend a six-month 'sabbatical' as part of Mick's team?”

The other successful cricket groundsman was Rod Heyhoe of Lightcliffe CC, Halifax, who was named Volunteer Sports Groundsman of the Year. Runner-up was Gabe Treharne of Miskin Manor CC near Llantrisant in Wales.

The judges said: “In addition to being responsible for the cricket square, net area, outfield and boundary at Lightcliffe's six-acre site, Rod Heyhoe maintains the ground's entrance and car park areas, and is also the club's general handyman for repairs to the pavilion.

“He shows ‘remarkable skill and resource’ in keeping the club's machinery in good shape. He joined the club when he was eight years old and he has since made an immense contribution to the club, to the Bradford League and to Yorkshire Cricket.”