Northamptonshire OSCAs Winners Announced

The NatWest Outstanding Service to Cricket Awards aim to reward the contribution that volunteers make to the game. Nominations were received for volunteers from the traditional cricketing environments (clubs, leagues, boards), and in addition from emerging environments such as Higher and Further Education, Community Programmes, Workplaces and Recreational Park Leagues.

Well done to all of those individuals who were nominated by their clubs for one of the 6 categories in this year’s Natwest OSCAs. Even if you were not successful this year, all your hard work and dedication is greatly appreciated by your club as well as Northants Recreational Cricket.

Northants OSCAs Winners for 2018:

Callum Jones of Evenley Cricket Club is the winner of the “Young Volunteer” award for 2018. This award recognises an individual aged between 16-25 years old who has made a positive effect/impact on their club, group or within an organisation. Callum is not yet 20 years old but he already seems like an integral member of the club, both at junior and adult level. This season he has stepped up to become our Lead Activator for our All Stars programme and he has helped to attract over 40 kids for the second year running. He is currently organising an end of season awards ceremony and barbeque which is a new idea for this year. He is also captain of our senior midweek league and cup teams, which have both enjoyed successful seasons. He has been instrumental in recruiting new players to these teams and to our two Saturday teams. Finally this season he has also started to help in preparing the pitches at both of our grounds, which is invaluable.

The “Officials” award looks for someone who has visibly increased the quantity of officials in their county and therefore help the sustainability of cricket in England and Wales. Mick Pollard was the deserved winner of this award for 2018; has been a valuable member of Rushden Town Cricket club for over 20 years. The time and effort he puts in is amazing, this includes many years scoring for the 1st XI and also working behind the scenes ensuring the club is run smoothly on match days. He makes sure the club is tidy and the bar is open for people to buy drinks, bringing money into the club. In 2017 he decided to stop doing the scoring for the XI but it would be great to be able to reward him for his dedication, that is why we have nominated him towards this award.

Chris Francis from The Higham and District Youth Cricket League is the deserved winners of the “Leagues” award for 2018. This award is aimed at recognising the outstanding contribution made by leagues which support and help to increase the incidence and frequency of participation. Officially, Chris holds the title of Secretary of the Higham and District Youth Cricket League. In practice, everybody who has any connection with the league would acknowledge that his contribution to its continued success and growth defies formal nomenclature. Chris’s symbiotic relationship with the league began way back in the early 1960s, as a player for Rushden in the under 17s division – the only division at that time. By 1982, when Chris took on his responsibilities as secretary, the league was already in good health, having expanded to include an U15 division. This growth was continued and accelerated under Chris’s stewardship to include U11 & U13 divisions. From 17 teams when he started, the league now boasts an impressive 55 clubs. It is undoubtedly a mark of Chris’s commitment and passion to the league that he has been able to retain his small group of volunteers over a number of years. It has also managed to buck the current nationwide trend by managing to grow its numbers at Under 17s. The leagues willingness to experiment with Social Media and online initiatives owes much to Chris. As he prepares for a well-earned retirement, there can be no more fitting recipient of this award.

The winner of “Heartbeat of the Club” 2018 is Middleton Cheney’s Nicky Trower. This award is for that special volunteer that a club simply couldn’t do without, often the roles carried out behind the scenes. They often undertake a number of different roles, and are always there to lend a hand. Nicky is instrumental at the cricket club, promoting cricket and a key driver in starting All Stars this year. Her aim is to bring the village community together by organising both competitive and friendly cricket events. The club hosted a Women’s Softball Cricket festival which was organised and hosted by Nicky, it was a great afternoon and was enjoyed by all participants.

Finally to the last category being awarded at this year’s Northants OSCAs. This award received the most nominations from cricket clubs within Northamptonshire, with some very worthy candidates. There can only be one winner however; is Nick Woolley of Finedon Dolben Cricket Club. This award is aimed at rewarding an individual who has made an outstanding difference to their cricket club, league, board or local cricket community over a significant number of years. Mick’s has taken on many roles at the club over the years, he Scored from 1978 – 2017. Evolved scoring from the standard method, through his own adaption of the Bill Frindall system which allows ball by ball reconstruction of games in future years, to finally scoring electronically on a laptop. This evolution was in line with scorebox facilities at the club changing and developing. He was a committee member from 1987 to 2005 incorporating the following roles Honorary Secretary – 1990 to 2005, Honorary Fixture Secretary – 1990 to 2007. He oversaw the club move through the various incarnations of the NCL as well as Sunday cricket when there was far more emphasis to organise, and supplement existing league fixtures, of the clubs own accord. He has worked tirelessly and almost singlehanded on the ground, behind the bar and almost any other voluntary position going during the clubs darker days to consolidate and ensure there was a stable platform on which the success of the mid 1990’s and onwards was based and expanded upon. He is one of the very few (7 currently) to be awarded life membership at FDCC. Now, after 40 years, Mick has retired from scoring at the club it feels appropriate, and thoroughly warranted, that a wider audience should honour his outstanding service.

Congratulations to all of the winners; they were presented with their awards at lastnights Vitality Blast game between The Northants Steelbacks and the Yorkshire Vikings. They have been nominated towards the National OSCAs which will see them invited to the awards at Lords on the 9th October 2018. We wish all of our winners the best of luck at the National awards.