Bill Gordon, in his first year as Surrey's head groundsman, has won the ECB's Groundsman of the Year award for preparing the best pitches for threeand four-day cricket. The Oval has now won this prize for the third consecutive year. Gordon's predecessor, Paul Brind won twice the accolade twice before he retired last November because of ill health.

At the end of the season, marks provided by the umpires after each game are totalled to give the rankings.

Taunton's Philip Frost, who was runner-up in the threeand four-day category, was consoled by collecting the award for the best one-day pitch, in which Andy Fogarty, head groundsman for Yorkshire, finished second.

In the other categories, Beckenham CC, in Kent's borders, was the best "outground", ahead of Whitgift School which hosted Surrey's home games against Lancashire, while the Parks in Oxford was behind Fenner's at Cambridge, which has hosted first-class cricket since 1848, as the top University Centre of Cricketing Excellence ground.