The heroes of the grassroots game were this week recognised for their efforts at the 15th NatWest OSCAs, held at Lord’s.
Volunteers travelled from far and wide to Lord’s for a day recognising the hard work and dedication of all of those who help make sure that club cricket continues to thrive.
England stars Stuart Broad, Beth Langston and Eoin Morgan joined host Alison Mitchell in paying tribute and awarding the OSCAs at a packed nursery pavilion.
Megan Jones received the Young Volunteer of the Award OSCA for her work at Audley Cricket Club in Staffordshire passing on her love of the game to a new generation of female players.
Jones said: “I’m really chuffed to be here. I’ve never been to Lord’s before and I’m a bit star struck meeting the England players but I’m really happy.
“(Winning this award) makes you understand that people are recognising what I’m doing. At my club, we are all volunteers and without those people, kids and young adults would not get the opportunity to play.”
Dave Cherry won the NatWest CricketForce OSCA on behalf of Denby Cricket Club in Derbyshire, one of the showcase clubs this year. He led a number of projects including turning the club’s scorebox into female changing rooms.
After picking up the award Cherry said: “It's something that we’ve done for a number of years. We all come together and get things ready for the start of the new season.
“We had a lot of big jobs but were confident we could do them after the response we had from the members. Around 240 people turned up over the weekend and £20,000 worth of work was done at the cost of £2,500. It was a great community and club effort.
“It was brilliant to see the kids there, playing a game at the club and it was a fantastic weekend. It brought everybody together. You can’t put a figure to it.”
The Coach of the Year OSCA was awarded to Khushali Patel from the Harrow Alliance thanks to her work enabling girls and women’s cricket to go from strength to strength.
Patel said: “A couple of years ago we started up a girls’ cricket team in Harrow and in the region of 30-40 play now. Aside from the girls’ side, I do the All Stars project at the club. I make loads of new friends, learn lots and it’s just a lot of fun. You get a chance to do loads of different skills playing cricket, there’s so much variety.”
Talking about the awards, England ODI and T20 captain Eoin Morgan said: “Days like these are absolutely priceless. It’s a hugely special day for people being recognised for the work they’ve put in not only this year but their whole lives at their local club ground, it is absolutely phenomenal. Everyone here has a huge smile on their face.”
Talking directly to volunteers he added: “You are a hugely significant part of the development of the game in this country. Pat yourself on the back for the work you are doing but please continue to do it.
“It’s sometimes unrecognised but you play a huge role in people’s lives. We play a fantastic game that develops characteristics that will help them later on in life.”
NatWest OSCAs 2017 winners
All Stars Cricket Centre of the Year – Kings Heath Cricket Club, Warwickshire
Leagues and Boards – Andy Hunt, Nottingham Cricket Board Premier League
Get The Game On – Martin Cassidy, Hucknall Cricket Club, Nottinghamshire
Coach of the Year – Khushali Patel, Harrow Alliance, Middlesex
NatWest CricketForce – Dave Cherry, Denby Cricket Club, Derbyshire
NatWest U19 Club T20 – Ilminster Bears, Somerset
Young Coach of the Year – Abigail Bates, Leyland Cricket Club, Lancashire
Heartbeat of the Club Award in partnership with Hardys – Cate Hayes, West Bridgfordians Cricket Club, Nottinghamshire
Young Volunteer of the Year – Megan Jones, Audley Cricket Club, Staffordshire
Officiating, Umpires and Scorers – Albert Pagan, North Yorkshire and South Durham Cricket League
Outstanding Contribution to Coaching – Bruce Storey, Benwall Hill Cricket Club, Northumberland
Outstanding Contribution of Disability Cricket – Richard Hill, Hertfordshire
Lifetime Achiever – Graham Radford, Felbridge & Sunnyside Cricket Club, Sussex