Club Cricket Conference

Monday, 29th November 2021

Banbury player honoured with Spirit of Cricket award

By Charles Randall

1 October 2014

The Banbury CC Under-15 girls' bowler Amy Freeman has been honoured with a national sportsmanship award by the MCC and BBC for dedicated commitment to her team this summer.

Amy was one of four winners - a list that included the England and Sussex all-rounder Luke Wright - at the second annual CMJ Spirit of Cricket awards, a heart-warming event set up by the MCC and BBC in memory of former MCC president and BBC Test Match Special commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins.

At the start of this season Amy was recovering from a dislocated knee, but she continued to play for her club because they were struggling to field a team. The MCC citation added: “During one match she dislocated her other knee, but continued to play on, fielding at slip, bowling from a one-step run up and apologising to her opposition as she did so. She continues to show great commitment to Banbury Cricket Club and has made a significant contribution to the club’s girls’ cricket programme.”

The winner of the boys’ award was Yapham CC Under-13 for their conduct in a York & District Junior Cricket Association Cup quarter-final against Sheriff Hutton Bridge in June. The MCC said: “When captain Sam Noble took what looked a fair diving catch, the umpire gave the batsman out, only for Noble to tell him the ball had touched the ground, allowing the batsman to resume his innings. Another Sheriff Hutton Bridge batsman was then given run out as the game went down to the wire, but Yapham wicketkeeper Adam Swaine told the umpire he hadn’t broken the wickets cleanly. The batsman returned to the wicket and helped his team win off the penultimate ball.”

For their prize, both winners were awarded tickets to the Royal London Cup final at Lord’s and featured in a live interview on BBC Test Match Special during the lunch break.

The winner of the schools’ award was St Peter's Primary School in South Croydon. The judges were particularly impressed with the school's commitment to teaching the values of sportsmanship and the spirit of cricket, and they were keen to award prize money after reading where the school pledged to spend it – on developing their coaching programme, providing more equipment for after-school cricket sessions and employing more coaches. St Peter’s was the only state school in the whole of Croydon that regularly takes part in cricket at every level of competition in boys, girls and mixed matches. They were awarded a joint donation of £2,000 from MCC and the BBC to spend on cricket.

Wright won the elite award for his honesty in an LV County Championship match against Lancashire at Hove. He seemed to have taken a fair catch in the deep to dismiss Steven Croft, only to immediately signal a six after feeling his heel touch the boundary rope. Croft went on to make 87, though Sussex eventually finished as winners. The incident was a fine example of the Spirit of Cricket.

The judges mentioned the work of the BBC Yorkshire commentator Dave Callaghan, who had endured a traumatic year but continued his dedication to Yorkshire cricket throughout.

Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special commentator, said: “As cricket becomes increasingly competitive, it is really important to maintain the critical element of the spirit of the game. Therefore it was very pleasing to receive all the nominations for this year - and to pay tribute to the sportsmanship displayed by Luke Wright, in particular.”

Some great names from West Indian cricket gathered at Lord's this week to support the Lord's Taverners and the Antigua-based St John's Anglican Cathedral Restoration Project. The trip focused on the illustrious career of Sir Vivian Richards, culminating with a major dinner at Lord's sponsored by Jordan Media. Sir Vivian was joined by former team-mates such as Clive Lloyd, Gordon Greenidge, Colin Croft, Andy Roberts and Joel Garner at an event that raised almost £100,000 for the two charities.

Before the dinner the West Indian group went to the Kia Oval to meet some of the charity beneficiaries at the finals of the Lord's Taverners Disability Cricket Championships – a community sports initiative that provided regular year-round competition and coaching for young people with disabilities across London.
Supported by the Berkeley Foundation, the Taverners' programme expects to engage more than 1,000 young people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, visual impairment and hearing impairment across 16 London boroughs in an innovative partnership with Essex, Kent, Middlesex and Surrey County Cricket Boards. Three learning and physical disability cricket teams from Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Southwark took part in the eight-a-side competition at the Ken Barrington Centre, where the West Indies legends helped assess the players' development ahead of the inaugural the disability annual awards evening on 9 October.
In the evening the Viv Richards tributes flowed at the dinner attended by a host of former international cricketers and celebrities, including the eminent broadcasters Tony Cozier and Sir Trevor McDonald. Much credit for this went to the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, a co-sponsor of the event.

Sir Vivian said: “It's not often I'm moved, but this has been a truly special evening and something I won't forget for a very, very long time.”