Thursday, February 2, 2023

ECB: Grounds Managers share prestigious annual award

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There was an unprecedented five-way tie for the top honour at 2022 Grounds Manager of the Year Awards, which were staged at the County Ground at Northampton recently.

The coveted Bernard Flack Memorial Trophy was shared by Gary Barwell (Edgbaston), Lee Fortis (The Kia Oval), Adrian Llong (The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury); Karl McDermott (Lord’s) and Andy Ward (Uptonsteel County Ground).

The award is decided by collating the pitch ratings from Match Referees for multi-day cricket over the course of the season – underlining the unlikely prospect of a five-way tie – and has only been shared once before in the its 50-year history.

Of the quintet Fortis was the only previous winner of the award, in 2018, while Llong (2021), McDermott (2018) and Ward (2017) are previous winners of the One-Day award.

Last year’s winner, Matt Merchant (Emirates Old Trafford), and Simon Lee (The Ageas Bowl) earned commendations.

Headingley’s Andy Fogarty, himself a four-time Bernard Flack Memorial Trophy winner, claimed the One-Day award for the first time.

Craig Harvey (County Ground, Northampton) and Scott Hawkins (Cooper Associates County Ground) were runners-up while Barwell and Fortis earned commendations.

Josh Marden (Beckenham) won the Outground award ahead of runners-up Joel Cheng (Guildford CC), Nick Johnson (Blackpool CC).

The ECB also acknowledged Tim Packwood who left his role as New Road grounds manager this season after more than 30 years at Worcestershire.

ECB Pitch and Grounds Advisor, Andy Mackay, said: “It’s important to acknowledge the quality and consistency of our pitches and the awards winners fully deserve this recognition for their efforts over the summer.

“The quality of work from all ground staff, not just those who won awards, must also be recognised within the context of the heavy weight of fixtures and relentless training which puts considerable demands on the teams across the county network.

“Behind every pitch is a person and a group of individuals who consistently go above and beyond to deliver what the game needs, and they should feel rightly proud of their efforts.

“Every venue has again risen to the challenge admirably and delivered playing and practice facilities that have enabled the players to showcase the best of the game for the fans this summer.”

Headquarters Grounds – Three and Four-day (Bernard Flack Memorial Trophy)

Joint winners: Gary Barwell, Warwickshire (Edgbaston); Lee Fortis, Surrey (The Kia Oval); Adrian Llong, Kent (The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury); Karl McDermott, MCC (Lord’s); Andy Ward, Leicestershire (Uptonsteel County Ground).

Commendations: Simon Lee, Hampshire (The Ageas Bowl), Matt Merchant, Lancashire (Emirates Old Trafford).

Headquarters – One-day

Winner: Andy Fogarty, Yorkshire (Headingley)

Runners-up: Craig Harvey, Northamptonshire (The County Ground, Northampton), Scott Hawkins, Somerset (Cooper Associates County Ground)

Commendations: Gary Barwell, Warwickshire (Edgbaston), Lee Fortis, Surrey (The Kia Oval).

Outgrounds

Winner: Josh Marden, Beckenham (The County Ground, Beckenham)

Runners-up: Joel Cheng (Guildford CC), Nick Johnson (Blackpool CC)

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