Photo Credit: Cricket Leinster
The ITW Irish Cricket Awards 2022 will be digitally broadcast on Friday 25 February 2022 via Youtube, celebrating the year that international cricket returned to Ireland. Several shortlists have been revealed ahead of the event as part of the build-up.
The broadcast of the event will start at 7.30pm (Irish time) and will be hosted by sports journalist and broadcaster Marie Crowe, supported by RTE’s John Kenny and former Ireland Men’s captain Kyle McCallan. Bonus interviews and content will be available on Cricket Ireland’s social media channels on the night.
The event will see 15 award categories presented:
• ITW International Men’s Player of the Year
• Hanley Energy International Women’s Player of the Year
• Cricket Writers of Ireland Hall of Fame (three inductees)
• Gibney’s Outstanding Contribution and Service to Irish Cricket, in honour of John Wright
• HBV Studios Inter-Provincial Player of the Year
• Arachas Super Series Player of the Year
• Clear Currency Emerging Talent Award – Male
• Clear Currency Emerging Talent Award – Female
• Techfynder Cricket Official of the Year
• Shapoorji Pallonji Outstanding Contribution to Coaching
• Tildenet Club of the Year
• O’Neill’s Club Male Player of the Year
• O’Neiil’s Club Female Player of the Year
• Turkish Airlines Groundskeeper of the Year
• House of Waterford Crystal Volunteering Excellence Award
Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, said:
“We’re delighted to once more to celebrate a memorable year in Irish cricket. It was a year we returned to a sense of normality, a year international cricket returned to Ireland, and a year that was punctuated by reminders of what a great sport we have.
“From elite to grassroots levels, every cricketer and fan alike enjoyed the sights, sounds and celebration of cricket – and while there were too many favourite moments to mention, there was one day in May that stands out in my mind. The 24th of May at Stormont saw Ireland Women run out on the field of play for the first time in over 550 days – and it also coincided with the very first day spectators were allowed back to games. The feeling around the ground was one of joy and relief that the long wait had finally come to an end.
“The Women went on to win that series convincingly – and then finished the year by qualifying for the ICC Women’s Championship. Indeed, 2021 was an epochal year for women’s cricket in Ireland – it featured the release of our first-ever Women’s & Girls Cricket Action Plan, saw numerous on-field team and individual successes, and has seen major investment by Cricket Ireland into the women’s programme.
“Before you enjoy the Awards event this Friday, we would like to acknowledge the many people who played a part in Irish cricket during 2021 – we thank the many thousands of players, coaches, umpires, groundstaff, match officials and volunteers who year-in, year-out ensure our sport continues to grow. Thanks also to our sponsors, business partners, Provincial Unions and venue partners for another successful year, and finally thanks to the many, many fans of Irish cricket in Ireland and around the world. Keep Backing Green.”
Iconic Irish brand House of Waterford Crystal has once again supported the ITW Irish Cricket Awards supplying the awards for winners.
HBV Studios will once more produce the event.
While most winners and nominees will be revealed on the night, several shortlists are provided below ahead of the event:
Shortlist for the ITW International Men’s Player of the Year
• Andrew Balbirnie
• Josh Little
• Simi Singh
• Paul Stirling
Previous winners: Paul Stirling (2021, 2020, 2017), Tim Murtagh (2018), Ed Joyce (2016)
Shortlist for the Hanley Energy International Women’s Player of the Year
• Laura Delany
• Gaby Lewis
• Leah Paul
• Orla Prendergast
Previous winners: Laura Delany (2021, 2018), Eimear Richardson (2020), Gaby Lewis (2017), Ciara Metcalfe (2016)
Shortlist for the Tildenet Club of the Year
• Balbriggan Cricket Club
• Bready Cricket Club
• Cork Harlequins
• Drumaness Superkings
Previous winners: Limerick CC (2021), Pembroke CC (2020), Waringstown CC (2018), Waringstown CC (2017), Cork County CC (2016)
Learn more about Club of the Year nominees:
Balbriggan Cricket Club (Leinster Cricket Union):
In the 2021 season Balbriggan CC won the BUAKIT Championship and obtained promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history. In 2021 the club fielded 5 men’s adult teams, including a development league team; they fielded 11 youths teams across 11 age groups, they made extensive improvements to their home ground and they significantly developed girls cricket within the club leading to introducing Women’s Cricket for the first time. They said: “We wouldn’t continue to have a club without players to play for the club, but the strength of any club is the drive, resilience and determination of the Volunteers who give their time and effort every day of the year, to ensure that players have a great club to play for. Our Club is very lucky to have some incredible people who give up their time for nothing more than the love they have for our sport, our community and our club”.
2021 was certainly a memorable year for the Youth section in Balbriggan Cricket Club. The club fielded a record 11 youth teams which included 2 Cats teams, Cubs, Minor C, Minor B, Minor A, Junior A and B, Colts and our newly formed girls Minor and Junior teams. The reintroduction of our girls’ section was massive for the club and ensured there was a great buzz around the ground every Friday night with one of the highlights being an end of season mothers and daughter cricket match. “Little Blues” cricket on Sunday mornings and “Super Blues” on Monday evenings proved a big hit with the kids. Our Junior A team, captained by Fionn Bannister, had an amazing season going unbeaten and winning both league and cup finals.
Bready Cricket Club (North West Cricket Union):
Bready CC excelled in 2021 at domestic, community and international level. In the NWCU they won the Men’s NW Premier League with their regular starting XI consisting of 9 homegrown players who were developed in their youth section. The 2nd XI won League 1 with the 3rd XI and 4th Xi also winning their respective cup competitions. The Women’s team completed the ‘double’ winning the NW Premier League and NW Senior Cup. Their Development team were runners up in the NW Women’s Development League. The club hosted the first ever All-Ireland T20 Women’s Cup to great success and their own team finished runners-up in the final.
The Club ran Smash It and It’s Wicket programmes to encourage participation for boys and girls, and within the community they have proved invaluable during Covid times with Cricket Cooks, pharmacy runs and shopping support. Since the season finished they have been running a ‘Build Back Better’ programme to help the community return to physical activity following Covid with bootcamps, couch to 5k, circuit classes and Pliates all being organised in the club.
Cork Harlequins (Munster Cricket Union):
Harlequins are a diverse, family-orientated, medium-sized, Irish cricket club. What set them apart in 2021 is a story that was 8 years in the making. The club is located at altitude, in one of the windiest, damp and foggy locations in Munster. As attested by their associated neighbours, the EHIL Hockey Club, “To be successful here you need artificial surfaces and a decent coat.” However year upon year, the cricket section soldiers on. Good grass wickets are produced, nets blow down, nets get rebuilt and the parents in decent coats keep driving through the Farmers Cross gate. In 2014 a group of those parents, sheltering in the lee of the clubhouse had a discussion. They were observing a handy group of a dozen or so 13-15 year olds who got very little challenging peer to peer cricket. A decision was reached to enter the kids, as a youth team, into the new adult mid-week T20 league. “What do we call them?” was asked. “That’s easy… The Hurricanes” a parent responded as she leant into the gale.
Five seasons of Wednesday night pain followed, thrills and spills against opponents twice as old, twice as big and a lifetime more experienced. But as the boys grew into men, the hammerings changed direction and they thrashed their way to become Cork T20 champions in 2019. An attitude, a culture of musketeer’s on the pitch. These are the players that were the backbone of Munster’s first All-Ireland Finalists. On that damp final day at Rathmines in August last, the red players & supporters never lost heart and came so close. A commentator remarked on the average playing age of 21. The club in 2021, 8 teams with players aged 7 to 61 from 13 nations. Irish, New Irish, Refugees, #QuinsFamily, all owners of decent coats. Age 21 & the coats are the only thing ‘average’ about Cork Harlequins CC.
Drumaness Superkings (Northern Cricket Union):
Drumaness Superkings was a newly formed club prior to the start of the 2020 season. Two clubs with their own unique challenges facing the prospect of extinction came together to form a club which has evolved to play a very important role in the local community. Whilst the inaugural season in 2020 was badly affected by the challenges which Covid-19 brought, the 2021 season saw the club thrive on and off the pitch. On the pitch the clubs three senior men’s teams all won their leagues and will play at the higher levels in the 2022 season. The first and second teams went unbeaten in their Senior 3 and Junior 6 league campaigns, and the third team only lost one match. The first team also won the T20 bowl. The club started a junior section which continues to thrive, and it is hoped that they will be able to field teams in the NCU competitions in the 2023 season.
2021 also saw a major breakthrough with the first player from the club’s junior section be invited to join the NCU Andrew White Academy and U17 programme. Off the pitch, the work which the club has done over the last two seasons to integrate a wide range of ethnic minority groups is admired across the NCU and provides a roadmap which many other clubs are looking to follow. The club has also formed close links with other local community groups and the sharing of knowledge and resources has meant the club has been able to grow organically. One of the marquee programmes ran by the club in conjunction with the local snooker club was ‘whites and waistcoats’ which was funded by Sport NI and The National Lottery. The programme saw a large number of children offered opportunities in both sports over the summer months. The club has worked hard to develop and improve their facilities with new synthetic practice wickets and cages installed during the 2021 season.