Club Cricket Conference

Wednesday, 24th April 2024

Aldwick stalwart deserves his national OSCA honour

By Charles Randall

28 October 2019

The energy and drive of Ian Guppy rescued the Sussex village club of Aldwick CC from extinction after the pavilion was gutted by fire in the winter of 2017.

Guppy was recognised for his efforts at the annual ECB NatWest OSCA volunteer awards at Lord’s recently. He won the ‘heartbeat of the club’ section at the presentation lunch attended by the England World Cup winner Chris Woakes and Young England player Freya Davies at the Nursery Pavilion.

Aldwick’s existence at Felpham Recreation Ground, near Bognor Regis, looked in doubt until the Guppy-inspired club decided to fight for their survival. A fund-raising drive was launched to rebuild the clubhouse with support from Arun District Council. The local cricket community alone contributed £10,000, and work was completed in time for the 2019 season. That meant the club could re-introduce youth cricket.

Guppy said at the opening before the start of the season: “The response from the local community was overwhelming, and we are happy to have got to where we are today. The club has been struggling to carry on and, with the stark reality that a club that’s been a part of the community for many years would be forced to fold, this new facility will help secure our future at its current location.”

Along with funding and assistance from Arun District Council, more than £10,000 was donated by the local cricket community and members of the public.
In the summer before the fire Guppy had become the talk of the clubhouse when he scored his maiden after a bizarre reprieval incident.

Batting for the second team in a West Sussex Invitation League Division Six game as captain against Portslade, Guppy accidentally whacked himself in the face with his bat, leaving himself dazed on the ground out of his crease. The wound later needed five stitches.

Guppy was easily stumped with his score on 20, but the appeal was revoked by Matt Mill, the  opposition captain. The batsman had his wound temporarily patched and returned to rush his score up to 115, hitting 10 sixes and six fours. Aldwick scored 247-6, but they had started a man short and lost Guppy to hospital A & E, eventually losing a memorable game in the final over.

Ernie Brabbins, of Appleby Eden CC, won the Lifetime Achiever award at Lord’s for helping his club in Cumbria to survive after the devastating floods of 2015. More than £800,000 was raised to repair the club’s facilities.

Brabbins was praised in the citation for his contribution to the club over many years as player, scorer, club officer, coach and regular umpire. “I think the thing that gives me the greatest satisfaction is coaching,” he said. “It is fantastic to see kids come down to the club who have never had a cricket bat in their hand in their life and to then see them playing the game we love. To emphasise that, we found a photograph this year of the Appleby Eden Under-11s from 2008, and eight of them this season played in our first XI. That is why we do what we do.”

Richard Langdon, of Falkland CC in Newbury, was honoured for the Most Inspiring and Diverse Cricket Offer after helping double participation amongst the Berkshire club’s juniors, women’s and All Stars programmes while also conducting weekly disability cricket sessions.

The NatWest OSCAs were established in 2003 to reward the valued contribution of volunteers to cricket as a part of the ECB’s programme, which gives cricket clubs advice on educating, recruiting and rewarding volunteers.

Woakes said: “Every one of our World Cup squad has benefited from passionate people and coaches that have put in so many hours to make us better cricketers and better people. My only dream when I was a kid was to play cricket with my friends, and for it to lead to what it has done makes me feel very privileged. It is because of volunteers at clubs who put in the true graft, for the love of the game, that give kids like me the chance to begin that journey. I can only thank them for what they do.”

NatWest have earned much credit for sponsoring cricketing communities in England and Wales for 38 years. Is it really that long? Their best-known project has been the NatWest CricketForce programme, which has helped thousands of clubs to upgrade their facilities.

NatWest OSCAs 2019 winners:
Lifetime Achiever: Ernie Brabbins – Appleby Eden CC, Cumbria
Outstanding Contribution to Disability Cricket - Phil Lucas, Derbyshire Disabled Cricket
Heartbeat of the Club: Ian Guppy – Aldwick CC, Sussex
Most Inspiring and Diverse Cricket Offer: Richard Langdon, Falkland CC, Berkshire
Pro-active Leadership in Cricket: Martin Croucher – St Ives Town & Warboys CC, Cricket East (Huntingdonshire).
Young volunteer 14-18: Alicia Smith – Illingworth St Mary`s CC, Yorkshire
Young volunteer 19-25: James Thompson – Berwick CC, Northumberland