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Madsen takes Spirit of Cricket award

Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen has won the inaugural Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket award.

Launched at the start of the summer in memory of Martin-Jenkins, the former MCC president and BBC Test Match Special commentator known as ‘CMJ’, the award has youth and elite categories - the latter won by Madsen.

He demonstrated that it is possible to combine the highest level of sportsmanship with professional cricket, on July 18 in a LV= County Championship game with Yorkshire at Queen's Park in Chesterfield.

Replying to Yorkshire's first-innings 617, Madsen feathered a ball from bowler Steven Patterson to the wicketkeeper. With one lone appeal coming from the Yorkshire fielders, umpire Jeff Evans gave the Derbyshire captain and in-form batsman not-out, only for Madsen to walk back to the pavilion on his own accord.

Stating that it was a matter of principle, Madsen went on to score a defiant 141 in the second innings, although his side still lost by an innings and 113 runs.

The youth award went to the Alton Cricket Club under-13 girls team, who were invited by MCC to attend today's Yorkshire Bank 40 final at Lord's, where they were interviewed by the BBC Test Match Special team before the start of play.

The joint MCC and BBC judging panel were impressed by their story of lending players to field for an opposition side in a league match earlier this summer. During the fixture - which they lost by 20 runs - the girls also allowed several of the opposition batters to bat twice.

Finally, the judging panel selected City Academy in Bristol as the first beneficiary of the school's prize. The £2,000 grant will be used by City Academy, in partnership with the Gloucestershire Cricket Board, to support the enhancement of their cricket performance programme.

In particular, the proposal aims to encourage pupils from underprivileged backgrounds to stay in full-time education by offering promising young players six hours of extra-curricular cricket coaching every week, in addition to giving the students access to other professional skills aligned to sport. MCC will now look to play against City Academy in future seasons.

Mike Griffith, MCC president and lifelong friend of Martin-Jenkins, said: "MCC is passionate about its role as guardian of the laws and spirit of cricket, and it is instances like Wayne Madsen walking when his Derbyshire side was in real trouble against Yorkshire, which set an example for everyone in the game to follow and must be encouraged.

"Deciding on the winner of the youth award and the school beneficiary was simultaneously challenging and heartening. We received so many wonderful examples of how the spirit of cricket is alive and kicking in the junior game at clubs and on school playing fields across the country.

"Congratulations to the Alton CC under-13 girls team, who ultimately won the youth award. Their story really epitomises what the spirit of cricket means, and I hope that they have enjoyed their visit to Lord's today.

“I am also delighted that City Academy in Bristol will be the first school beneficiary from the awards. Their cricket performance programme is a superb project and MCC will look to fully involve itself with the scheme in the years ahead."

BBC cricket correspondent and Test Match Special commentator Jonathan Agnew added: "During a summer in which the spirit of the game was widely debated, Wayne Madsen gave a wonderful example of what many in the game still hold dear. Too often we are treated to negative instances, so how nice it is to celebrate and reward such a genuine act of good sportsmanship."

In judging the awards, the joint MCC and BBC panel defined the spirit of cricket as any instance that demonstrates outstanding sportsmanship, fair play and respect to captains, opponents, umpires and the game's traditional values.

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