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ICC Europe has announced the regional winners of the ICC Development Programme Awards for 2008.
Cricket Scotland was awarded Best Overall Cricket Development Programme for its multi-faceted approach to growing the game at a community and national level. One of the key initiatives staged in 2008 included a national pilot programme to improve the way cricket is introduced to children in the primary school environment. Due to the success of the pilot programme, 18,000 children were introduced to the game by primary school teachers, an increase of 10% on 2007, with a staged roll-out now in the planning for 2009-10. Cricket Scotland’s Coach Education Programme also enabled more than 100 coaches around the country to achieve a formal ECB coaching qualification, whilst the continuing development of activity centres offering weekly coaching sessions for girls, regional academy and scholarship schemes, and the TOPClub junior programme also highlighted Cricket Scotland’s wide breadth of development activities.
“With such a varied programme of activities and proven results, Cricket Scotland is a worthy winner of this coveted award. What is encouraging is that each year Cricket Scotland proposes and actions new and different cricket development initiatives - an achievement which ultimately benefits the sport and its players at all levels,” said Richard Holdsworth, ICC regional development manager - Europe.
Cricket Ireland was awarded Best Women’s Cricket Initiative for their Leinster and Irish Women’s Cricket forum. Organised by Siobhan McBennett and Catherine Goodman, the forum saw Ireland players, coaches and volunteers attend a highly interactive workshop session aimed at identifying a range of critical issues for women’s cricket nationally. Key outcomes from the forum were fed in to the Cricket Ireland Irish High Performance plan 2008-2015 and have already resulted in an increase in funding towards the women’s game this year.
Winner of the Best Junior Cricket Initiative Award was the Finnish Cricket Association (FCA) for their Junior Girls UK Tour and associated cricket training camps and schools programme in Finland. The vision and enthusiasm of FCA Cricket Development Officer, Maija Scamans, in driving this project forward stood out amongst the entries this year.
The Spirit of Cricket Award was awarded to the Jersey Cricket Board for bringing the game and spirit of cricket to a group of young offenders in Jersey’s prison in May 2008. Jersey also won the Best Cricket Promotion and Marketing Award for their efforts in promoting the ICC World Cricket League Division 5 tournament held on the Island.
The Photo of the Year was taken by Barry Chambers of Ireland. A very unique entry, Barry’s photo montage captures Mahaboob Alam of Nepal taking all ten wickets during the ICC World Cricket League Division 5 match against Mozambique in Jersey in June 2008. The montage was presented to Alam at the end of the tournament to commemorate his exceptional achievement; however Barry’s ability to capture each and every wicket was also a remarkable achievement in itself - a key reason why Barry was selected as the worthy winner of this category.
Timothy Belton of Guernsey was awarded Volunteer of the Year for his services to the Guernsey Cricket Development Programme. A chartered surveyor by trade, Tim coaches over 100 hours during the winter programme working with players of all ages and abilities. During the summer he gives over ten hours per week and accompanies the Under-12 and Under-13 squad to over 20 matches both on and off the Island whilst also running cricket sessions for his local school.
The prestigious Lifetime Service Award was awarded to Tom Finlayson MBE of Gibraltar Cricket Association (GCA). Since returning to the country in 1982 after a teaching career in the UK, Tom has been fully involved in the game at all levels. Tom not only introduced the game to and coached a generation of players but he also represented the country internationally. Throughout the years Tom has been responsible for arranging tours and also became the Secretary of the GCA, a post which he held for 18 years before becoming chairman, an appointment he maintains to this day.
“Tom Finlayson has for many years been the ambassador for Gibraltar Cricket and for the game as a whole. His unwavering dedication to the sport can only be described as an inspiration to many. We congratulate Tom on his well deserved honour and can only assume that this award will only inspire him to devote more time and energy to the game he loves,” said Holdsworth.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and AfricaFeeds: Martin Williamson
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Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.