Thursday, February 2, 2023

PCA: Futures Awards finalists revealed

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Seven PCA members in contention for personal development accolades

The PCA’s Futures Awards, in association with Lodders Solicitors, is back for its 10th edition with seven PCA members hoping to be rewarded for their personal development away from cricket.

This year’s awards are split into three new categories: Eve Jones (Central Sparks), Ellie Threlkeld (Thunder) and Dom Goodman (Gloucestershire) have been named as finalists in the Academic Progression category. Meanwhile, Joe Leach (Worcestershire) and Fi Morris (Thunder) in the Business Impact sector and Fran Wilson (Western Storm) and Tom Smith (Gloucestershire) complete the CSR and Community category, following many well thought out and professional applications.

For the second year in a row the PCA’s Futures Awards are in association with Lodders. A long shortlist was whittled down to just seven following a thorough process by the PCA and Lodders, with the finalists travelling to the law firm’s Cheltenham office on Thursday 8 December to present their personal development progress to a panel of PCA and Lodders staff.

There will be four prizes on offer with one Futures Award winner from each category decided by the panel based on the personal development commitments made by each individual and on the quality of their presentations. An overall winner for 2022 will be selected from the three category winners on Thursday 15 December.

Winners will share a £7,000 prize pot that is to be reinvested in their personal development. Every finalist will also receive mentoring and advice on a professional area of their choice from a Lodders professional. Successful candidates will also receive an IT package from PCA partners Lucidica, which includes a business grade laptop and website upgrades.

The seven finalists will be awaiting the results as they look to emulate the success of Abi Sakande last year. The former Sussex and Leicestershire player impressed the panel last year with his passion for fostering inclusivity in cricket.

Below is a brief summary of how each of this year’s Futures Awards candidates has been improving their personal development away from the cricket pitch:

Academic Progression

Dom Goodman (Gloucestershire)

Having just completed an undergraduate International Relations degree at Exeter University, Goodman wants the opportunity to study a Masters in Real Estate with modules focussing on Sustainable Development. This year, the 22-year-old had to juggle early season training with Gloucestershire and writing his Dissertation on Apartheid South Africa. If successful Goodman would reinvest the prize to pay for furthering his higher education, completing the Masters online and part-time to make it more manageable, whilst maintaining cricketing commitments with Gloucestershire.

Eve Jones (Central Sparks)

Alongside being the PCA rep for Central Sparks, Jones is currently working towards the Level 3 Advanced Coaching Qualification. The 30-year-old has also been commentating on LV= Insurance County Championship and Vitality Blast matches on the BBC. Getting up at 3am to take part in Advanced Coaching Modules whilst playing in the WBBL highlights her passion for coaching. Jones would put the money towards accommodation costs on commentary days and to courses and conferences to develop her coaching credentials.

Ellie Threlkeld (Thunder)

In the past 12 months, the Thunder captain has completed a Master’s qualification in Sports Psychology and the Level 3 Advanced Cricket Coaching Award working with the Thunder Academy and Lancashire county age groups. The 24-year-old showed her discipline in completing Master’s work whilst on England Lions tour in Australia. If Threlkeld was successful, the prize money would go towards a stage two psychology qualification with the ultimate goal of setting up a business as a sports psychology consultant.

Business Impact

Joe Leach (Worcestershire)

Having completed a Masters with distinction in Leadership in Sport from the University of Buckingham, Leach has gone on to create a new female specific cricket equipment brand, alongside fellow PCA member Ed Foster, called NEXX. The 32-year-old has also been appointed as a non-executive director to the Shropshire Cricket Board, focussing on Community and Disability cricket. If Leach won money at Futures Awards, he would like to expand his NEXX business, specifically focussing on marketing enabling the business to grow.

Fi Morris (Thunder)

Morris has been working as a Sports Therapist in a Physiotherapy clinic, having recently gone part-time following a professional contract with Western Storm and has since moved to Thunder. The 28-year-old has set up ‘The Throwing Academy’ which is made up of a school aimed at young athletes wanting to improve technique and a clinic aimed at injured athletes returning to the game. As the first of its kind in cricket, Morris would use the money on merchandise, equipment and further marketing and branding of the website.

CSR and Community

Tom Smith (Gloucestershire)

Smith played a vital role in advocating for funding from the PCA’s partnership with Vitality to be directed towards critical life cover for all current players. He wanted to make fellow professionals aware of the benefits of appropriate life cover following the death of his wife in 2018. If successful, the 35-year-old would spend the money on spin tracking technology to aid his coaching as well as enrolling on to an Emotional Intelligence course to continue his personal development as a coach and leader.

Fran Wilson (Western Storm)

Wilson has enjoyed a lucrative time away from the pitch in the last year, enrolling on the Coaching Professional Level 5 apprenticeship, taking on a voluntary role with Bristol Bears Women’s rugby team as Performance Lifestyle Officer as well as coaching in Gloucestershire’s emerging player programme and taking up commentary opportunities during the Women’s World Cup. The 31-year-old wants to spend the money on completing a Talented Athlete Sponsorship scheme Lifestyle course and to further fund her voluntary work.

Find out more about the PCA Futures Awards in association with Lodders Solicitors, as well as the PCA’s wider Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP).

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