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Lancs groundsman takes top gong

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Matt Merchant

Matt Merchant's Old Trafford pitches were rated highest throughout the LV= County Championship season

The England and Wales Cricket Board today announced the 2009 Groundsman of the Year Awards.

Matt Merchant from Old Trafford is the winner of the four-day category with Mick Hunt of Lord’s awarded the runner-up prize.

In the one-day category, the winner is Neil Godrich from Derby with the runner-up prize shared between Sean Williams of Bristol and Phil Frost of Taunton.

A commendation went to Andy Peirson (Canterbury) in the four-day pitch category, while Bill Gordon (Brit Oval), Paul Marshall (Northampton), Mick Hunt (Lord’s), and Nigel Gray (Rose Bowl) were commended in the one-day category.

John Moden at Fenners is the winner for pitches at MCC Universities with Richard Sula at The Parks runner-up.

Ross Spry at Cheltenham was awarded the Outgrounds prize with Micky Stewart and Christian Dunkerley at Scarborough earning the runner-up award.

Alan Fordham, head of operations (first-class cricket), commented: “The work of all head groundsmen is highly valued and we are delighted to make these annual awards, which recognise the head groundsmen who have prepared the best pitches this season.”

Every pitch is rated at the end of the match by each of the umpires. The winners of each category are the groundsmen whose pitches have achieved the highest average rating across the course of the season.