Cherry the pick of the bunch

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NatWest OSCAs 2007 - Charlotte Edwards, David Cherry & Mark Ramprakash

David Cherry collects his lifetime achievement OSCA at the ceremony © Getty Images

When David Cherry first picked up a cricket bat, Len Hutton was opening the batting for England and the village of Cropredy in Oxfordshire was having its coal delivered by narrow boat and bread by horseback.

The village cricket club boasted just one team with no fixed playing venue while pig killings were still a bigger draw among youngsters than any local cricket match.

Sixty years later, as David Cherry - winner of the lifetime achievement award in the 2007 NatWest OSCAs - approaches his 70th birthday, Cropredy and the game of cricket have changed almost beyond recognition.

Today Cropredy CC boasts two senior XIs, a midweek team and a Saturday league side. In addition, there are three youth teams for under-11s, under-13s and under-15s.

As of 1995, when the parish council purchased the Long Meadow field on the banks of the River Cherwell, the club has its own square and a purpose built pavilion with excellent facilities.

Enough cash has also been raised - about £25,000 - to add a purpose built scorebox, two non-turf practice wickets and nets, full pitch covers and sightscreens.

This remarkable change has been the result of a lifetime's work by David Cherry, who has spent most of his years at the historic site on Williamscote Road in north Oxfordshire.

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During the season the pitch is lovingly tended to, on at least five days every week by the groundsman David Cherry. Matches are umpired by a veteran of more than 600 matches, David Cherry, and new members are asked to make contact with the club secretary, David Cherry.

Not surprisingly, he is known as Mr Cropredy Cricket Club, although his playing days ended almost 20 years ago, having been a devoted - but by his reckoning not very good - player for the best part of 40 years.

"I was never a great cricketer and in fact I enjoy my work with the club much more now that I have stopped playing," said Cherry, who retired from his family building company 10 years ago to focus more on his Cropredy CC activities.

"We are a small village with 700 residents but many of our younger players are local boys who are taught by local coaches and it is great to see the junior section of the club do well and see the youngsters improve and play for representative sides," he told ecb.co.uk.

Cherry, who has only ever lived in two houses in the village, started playing cricket at the age of 13 and captained the club in the 1970s and 1980s.

His wife Sue organises the teas and patiently waits for September when her husband will agree to take time out for a holiday and attend to their own garden.

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As well as Cropredy, who play in the Cherwell League, Cherry also runs the Brackley and District Midweek League and the Banbury and District Indoor League.

He is also a parish councillor and the chairman of the Cropredy Sports and Social Club which owns the club's ground and buildings.

It is an exhausting list of activities and one that he has only recently thought about handing over.

"I have never been very good at delegating but some people are beginning to take on some of these responsibilities because it wouldn't do the club any good to have me pop off and leave a void," he added.

"Cricket has changed a lot during my time. The game received a massive boost after the Ashes in 2005 and it was great to see the kids around the village playing cricket rather than football.

"There is a lot more to running a club these days, what with the CRB checks and healthy and safety requirements.

“But seeing the development of the youth sections has made it worthwhile. I have made some great friendships and have really enjoyed my work with the club.

"I still get a huge amount of satisfaction from it."

Click here to watch coverage of the 2007 NatWest OSCAs at Lord's on ECBtv.