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12 Days of The Cricket Collective honours national volunteers

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) celebrates the stand-out volunteers across the country in the 12 Days of The Cricket Collective.

The winners of the 2023 Cricket Collective Awards will be announced from today and across the first half of December in the 12 Days of The Cricket Collective.

The awards honour and celebrate the hard work and dedication of cricket volunteers across England and Wales, with one winner revealed per day from December 1 to December 11. The list of winners will be shared in full on December 12.

County boards have been awarding their region’s winners across 11 different categories since the end of the summer, and from that group a panel of experts has chosen the national winners.

This year, cricket will recognise the best volunteers in the country across 11 different categories. A Lifetime Achiever Award will be announced on December 11, while there will also be awards for – amongst other areas – Unsung Hero, Rising Star and Tackling Climate Change.

CONNECTING COMMUNITIES

A club or community organisation which has gone above and beyond to #raisethegame and support communities/groups.

12 Days of the Cricket Collective: Connecting Communities

Winners

Somerset - North Petherton CC

Worcestershire - Michael Harris, Bewdley CC

Devon - Simon Hukku and Kate Le Maux, Exwick CC                                                                     

Winners’ story

All three winners have done important work in their regions and at their clubs widening access to cricket, specifically including refugees and people seeking asylum.

At Exwick CC, Simon and Kate have helped to bring individuals into cricket and the community through outreach work. A number of people seeking refuge and asylum have since joined the club and play a vital role both on matchdays and also around the club. The club also supported a celebratory event on World Refugee Day and have played their part in helping those individuals in need settle in Exeter.

North Petherton CC in Somerset have gone above and beyond to include people seeking refuge and asylum. The club has wholeheartedly supported the Together Fund “Maqbul” diverse communities project - it has encouraged social interaction and well-being for members of the communities, and introduced cricketing opportunities to those who have never played the game before.

In Worcestershire, Mike Harris reached out to the Wyre Forest Asylum Seekers Support Group (WFASSG) to offer standalone cricket coaching sessions to people seeking asylum accommodated in hotels in and around Bewdley.

Despite some initial difficulties, Mike was determined and the session has now become a regular occurrence. Mike had since led the campaign to raise donations towards cricket equipment for those participating, which has been very successful.

Highly Commended

Three counties were highly commended. Cheshire, Derbyshire and Middlesex.

In Cheshire, Radha Ramachandran and Tandy Palmes have introduced and incorporated the local Tamil community to Macclesfield CC. In Derbyshire, having tragically lost one of their sons, Joe to a heart attack nearly 12 years ago, the Kellogg family have raised incredible amounts of money for Cardiac Risk in the Young and provided defibrillators to local clubs. This season, one of the defibrillators that they donated to Ockbrook & Borrowash  CC saved a club member’s life after they suffered heart attack.

Graces CC are highly commended in Middlesex for their continuing work to grow LGBTQ+ participation in cricket.

CRICKET INNOVATORS

Someone who has brought new ideas and/or implemented new systems to improve your club or community group.

12 Days of the Cricket Collective: Cricket Innovator

Winner

Wales - Nerys Saunders, Ynystawe Cricket Club

Winner's story

Nerys has led on the issue of safeguarding at Ynystawe Cricket Club in Swansea and she has done an outstanding job.

She has taken the whole club on a journey, navigating a hugely important task with great skill.

She has implemented various new ideas and demonstrated outside-the-box thinking to help contextualise the issue, for example creating an art collage for all junior members setting out how they will behave within the club and what they can expect in return.

Highly Commended

There were three highly commended individuals, from Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire and Surrey.

In Staffordshire, Nigel Parsons has successfully introduced a fully online system at Lichfield Cricket Club, which manages - amongst other things - match fees, coaching sessions and player registrations. It has led to a much higher level of accuracy and reduced lost income.

In Nottinghamshire, James Peck and James Nixon have run Wheatley TV for three years. Their YouTube channel showcases their club North Wheatley & Leverton CC. To date Wheatley TV has produced 82 videos, and has a large following of 3,600 subscribers and over 720,000 views.

In Surrey, at Leatherhead Cricket Club, Lauren Ireland has transformed the club in her first year as Junior Chair. She has introduced new systems and ideas which have improved the junior and senior cricket experience, and has recruited a number of parent volunteers to help in various roles across the whole club. As a result the club is thriving, with the highest membership numbers in memory.

GAME CHANGER

A young volunteer making a difference in the game (for 17-25-year-olds).

12 Days of the Cricket Collective: Game Changer

Winner

Hampshire - Sara Yasin, Southampton Wicketz Programme

Winner's story

Sara has achieved so much since she started Wicketz at 15 years of age. In under three years, she has taken every opportunity to come her way and now holds an ECB Core Coach qualification (the first Southampton Wicketz participant to do so). She also sit on national programme youth advisory boards and coaches in communities and on talent pathways in Southampton.

Sara has driven girls' cricket participation in Southampton for girls from diverse backgrounds, ensuring Wicketz girls sessions are an inclusive, welcoming and an understanding environment. Subsequently, girls from local faith groups see Sara as a role model as she is playing and coaching cricket in all formats and is a young woman of Islamic faith - breaking down perceived barriers facing young girls.

Highly Commended

There were three highly commended individuals, from Somerset, Surrey and Yorkshire.

In the two years that Scarlett Hale has been volunteering at Super 1’s in Somerset her impact has been immeasurable. Her enthusiasm, kindness and unmatched energy has allowed every player to come out of their shell and express themselves. 

Yusuf Sajjid is a fantastic role model for all the boys he coaches in Surrey. He has stepped up to coach them for the first time this season, through his A-Level year. The boys love coming to his classes, and attendance has increased.

In Yorkshire, Harriet Barber has been inspirational in rebuilding the junior section from scratch and starting a woman and girls’ section at Frecheville Community Cricket Club. She started with a small group of All Stars, progressing them into Dynamos, and now coaches them as an under 11’s squad. Without her hard work over the last five years there would be no junior section at the club and her passionate enthusiasm in supporting the development of women’s and girls’ cricket has made a big difference to the club.

GROWING THE GAME

A league volunteer, committee member, or administrator going above and beyond to support clubs and help increase the number of games played.

The 12 Days of the Cricket Collective - Growing the Game

Winner

Lancashire - Liz Sinker, Northern CC, Liverpool & District Cricket Competition  

Winner's story

Liz has done wonders for the women's game at Northern Cricket Club. She was an early trailblazer for the women's game, and has since gone on to perform a number of roles, many of which have actively helped to increase the number of women and girls engaged at her club.

In 2022 Liz successfully completed her L2 Umpiring course, and this year attended the first National Women’s Umpiring Conference aimed solely at increasing female umpires’ numbers and participation.  

Liz is also in her sixth year as junior Cricket administrator at Northern CC and presided over the organisation and administration of the 10-week Friday night Smash programme, for 150 primary school pupils. 

She also played a pivotal role in setting up the first LDCC girls hardball U11 team ever to play in a boys league, as well as organising U10 festivals for 12 clubs across Merseyside involving over 70 girls, thereby providing a competitive pathway to transition into women's cricket. 

Highly Commended
 
Tom Jenkins from Low Moor CC in Yorkshire and Adnan Haddadi from Llandaff CC in Wales were both highly commended in the Growing The Game category.

In Wales, Adnan took on the huge task in 2020 of becoming secretary for one of the biggest leagues in the recreational game - with 14 divisions and over 140 teams. Without Adnan steering the ship along, with other great volunteers, the league wouldn’t be where it is today - and growing. Adnan also finds time to be secretary for his club Llandaff CC.

In Yorkshire, since switching from playing amateur football to cricket in 2017, Tom has been extremely hands on with helping many cricket clubs and leagues.

He is someone who never refuses to help with cricket enquiries; sometimes fielding calls as late as midnight and as early as 6am throughout the season.

INSPIRED TO PLAY

An individual or group within your club or community organisation going above and beyond to #raisethegame and open the game up to new audiences.

The 12 Days of Cricket Collective - Inspired to Play

Winner

Middlesex Cricket - Natalie Raja

Winner's story

Nat has shown incredible dedication and commitment to grow the women and girls' game. Nat has inspired many volunteers to undertake many roles across the club. The strong foundations she has put in place at Bushy Park Girls CC will support women and girls access and enjoy cricket and is taking up committee roles for the MJCA too to encourage long-term change.

Highly Commended

There were two highly commended individuals, from Gloucestershire and Lancashire.

Olly Breen from Gloucestershire has managed 50+ kids in the U11's, arranged fixtures in multiple leagues for U13's, U11's, U9's and all the coaching for ages U7's-U13's for both girls and boys (200+ kids). He's the first person to offer to umpire, score or coach whenever needed apart from fulltime job in London.

Amjad Hussain Jewel from Lancashire has gone above and beyond to plan and deliver the recreational cricket league – BEAP Cricket Premier League. He has brought together the Bangladeshi community from deprived areas and low social economic backgrounds to use cricket to help improve their mental wellbeing.

TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE

Club/community organisation that is addressing the threat climate change poses to cricket, by making sustainable changes to operations, adapting their facilities and/or engaging and educating their local community.

The 12 Days of Cricket Collective - Tackling Climate Change

Winner

Northumberland - Corbridge Cricket Club Committee

Winner's story

We were impressed by the holistic consideration, planning and action across all aspects of environmental sustainability: from energy efficiency to biodiversity and resource . We commend how this was communicated to the community, including via an exhibition in the local library.

Highly Commended

There were two highly commended clubs from Essex and Kent.

Hadleigh and Thundersley Cricket Club embarked on a project to install solar panels in autumn 2022. After a strenuous fund raising, the club managed to instal 25 solar panels and a battery system in March 2023. The forecast environmental savings were equivalent to planting 84 trees with 1.82t of carbon per year plus £170,000 in utility bill savings over their lifetime.

Sidcup CC’s volunteers have continued to work on a specific area of our club where they are encouraging wildlife and boosting biodiversity. Hanging birdfeeders, planting native wildflowers to encourage pollinators, and not cutting grass as frequently to also encourage insects and wildlife. Volunteers have also planted hedgerow to support our local eco system and have worked collaboratively to change our clubhouse lighting to LED motion sensor lighting and have worked to turn off lights when we don’t need them. These and various energy saving measures have already saved them 35% on collective energy consumption.

RISING STAR

A young volunteer making a difference in the game (for 11-16-year-olds).

The 12 Days of Cricket Collective - Rising Star

Winner

Yorkshire - Alex Jenkins, Kirk Hammerton CC

Winner's story

Alex is a rising star as a groundkeeper and wicket keeper! Alex took on the role of grounds manager after the club lost both its grounds managers following Covid. Learnt form grandad and neighbouring club staff. Also a member of the club committee.

Highly Commended

There were three highly commended individuals, from CheshireNorthumberland and Warwickshire.

Willow spends two hours a week with the All Stars and Dynamos, supporting the lead activator. She has also helped set up the club's new Women and Girls section and spends a further 2 hours a week coaching and playing. Willow has completed the Young Cricket Officials course and now helps with umpiring at the ladies games and festivals each week.

Charlie has spent more hours at Backworth CC than anyone else this year. Over the winter months, during a pavilion renovation project, Charlie gave up 10 consecutive Saturdays, as well as some evenings, to help out with a range of jobs. From stripping walls, painting, clearing nettles, cutting down trees, clearing gutters, Charlie did it all.

Lola has been helping around the club for around the last 2 seasons now.  Last season Lola was one of only 2 girls playing cricket for us. She convinced us to try to get a girls’ team together for her to play in. She worked hard over the winter recruiting lots of her friends from school and inspired a lot of the female siblings of the boys to start cricket. She came up with the name for the team “The Studley Stars” and now we have a fully functioning girls’ section with 2 brand new female coaches.

UNSUNG HERO

Those heroes who impact our game from behind-the-scenes and help us make cricket happen.

Winner

Cheshire - Tirumala Dayama, Westminster Park CC

The 12 Days of Cricket Collective awards - Unsung Hero

Winner story

To volunteer at a club and undertake every role imaginable is one thing. Tirumala set Westminster Park CC up from scratch. He works tirelessly to make the club the best that it can be. But also to ensure that everyone can play and barriers to participation are removed.

Highly Commended

There were three highly commended individuals, from MiddlesexStraffordshire and Yorkshire.

Stephanie Reingold is always the first one on site and the last one home. She deals with all things juniors and facilities from League teams and friendlies to camps. She has undertaken coaching and Safeguarding qualifications so that she understands everything and can support the volunteers. She has spearheaded their net and garage facility projects and now looking at starting a reconfiguration of the club changing rooms as no longer fit for purpose.

Glynn Moore works tirelessly and successfully to improve the Club's sports facilities for our much-deprived local community. During his very successfully playing career at the Club he has coached juniors, promoted health and fitness in Club Partnerships with the local Council, Stoke City, local schools, an FE College and the Princes Trust.

Over the past 6 years Daniel Bamforth has helped our club access over £450,000 of funding which has allowed us as a club to build a new pavilion, new changing rooms, a new garage and a new 3 lane outdoor practice net.

VOLUNTEER GROUNDS MANAGEMENT TEAM OF THE YEAR

An opportunity to reward and recognise those volunteers who are working hard and improving the places where the game is played.

The 12 Days of Cricket Collective awards - Volunteer Grounds Management Team

Winner

Devon - Cornwood CC Grounds Team     

Winner story

Brad Nicholls, Dave Matthews, Jon Nicholls, Richard Friend, Dave Bailey, Charlie Munford, and Kevin Mills have taken the quality of the ground at Cornwood CC to new levels, delivering for their club, their local community and their environment.
 
Led by Brad, the group has demonstrated great teamwork, including using a grounds staff chat group to share tasks and manage availability, and warmly welcoming new volunteers - including people from the local community who aren't necessarily members at the club - to assist where they can and make the most of the variety of skills available. 
 
Despite sitting on the edge of Dartmoor and facing very adverse weather at key points in the preparation stages of the week, the group will always try to provide the best facilities they can to allow for growth of the player’s games. The team has overseen verti drain spiking to improve drainage which benefits the playing surface and the surrounding area, and has plans for a rainwater harvesting project in the upcoming season. Their tireless work has seen the club rewarded with junior and senior Devon CCC games being played at Cornwood.
 

Highly Commended

There were two highly commended individuals, from Dorset and Sussex.

Large numbers of volunteers and a link with a local school, were a key part in the developing of a large area into a wildlife area next to the Swanage CC grounds. This has been carefully planned and created to maximise different habitats – something already paying dividends with a nationally rare beetle being found recently. Learning new skills such as hedge laying and dry hedging has been part of this work. 

Led by David Rees, the grounds team of Lewes Priory CC has transformed the playing area at the Stanley Turner Ground over recent years, creating two extra wickets, a second pitch and an array of grass training strips. David and Pauline devoted hundreds of hours to the cause, alongside their other role of club treasurer and membership secretary.

LIFETIME ACHIEVER

That one individual who has given many years of service to your club or community group and who you could not do without.

The 12 Days of Cricket Collective awards - Lifetime Achiever

Winner

Essex - Sajid Patel, Leytonstone Cricket Club

Winner’s story

Sajid Patel has contributed to cricket in Essex for 25 years, helping to grow participation in the region and take community cricket to new audiences.

In 1998, he started his journey in Leytonstone, then moved into Waltham Forest, Newham and Redbridge where he reached out to children and young people through outreach and engagement work using cricket as a theme.

In 2002, Sajid started a league in West Ham Park that engaged a number of new players, and fast forward to 2010 he was involved in changing the landscape of the game, alongside childhood friend Nahed Patel. Together they set up the very first white-ball and coloured clothing league in the region, which was very successful.

In 2012, Sajid helped to establish and launch the National Cricket League (NCL). At present the NCL has 76 clubs/teams competing across nine divisions on Sundays with majority of fixtures played in Essex and East London.

Sajid has also carried Leytonstone Cricket Club for many years. He is a complete all-rounder in that he is a qualified umpire, cricket Coach, and an accomplished administrator of league cricket. He is a true legend in the Leytonstone ranks and a servant to the game of cricket in the wider Essex region as a volunteer.

Highly Commended

There was one highly commended individual, from Oxfordshire.

Roger Mitty has spent a lifetime serving Cumnor Cricket Club. He started as a junior, progressed through the ranks, became captain, then a committee member, a junior coach, then became Chair and is now President.

In the 1980s he was part of the group which helped build the current clubhouse at Cumnor, after years of using portacabins for changing rooms, and before that, a tin shack with no running water or toilets.

In the early 2000s he helped a team secure funds for our current outdoor nets. He's given back to the club for a whole lifetime, and everyone at Cumnor is grateful for his unrelenting efforts.

Special Recognition

Lynne and John Newell have played a hugely important role at Old Elizabethans CC in Worcestershire for many years.

Sadly, John - who was also known as ‘the Major’ – passed away in August of this year, aged 80.

At Old Elizabethans, ‘the Major’ was in charge of the grounds team. His knowledge of grounds equipment was phenomenal, and his commitment to the club unmatched. He remained the Pavilion manager until this year.

Lynne, Director of Operations, has been a driving force to help ensure the club is still thriving, most specifically during COVID.

Over the years, Lynne has worn many hats, including getting women’s and girls’ cricket and disability cricket up and running at the club. She remains actively involved every Wednesday evening and on matchdays, and is always looking at opening the doors of the club to the local community.

John and Lynne’s commitment to the club has been unparalleled, and their contributions to and impact on the life of the club have been colossal. A very large part of what they do has been behind the scenes, and not necessarily known to everyone connected to the club.

John Newell sadly passed away in August 2023, aged 80. Our deepest sympathies to Lynne and all his family and friends.