Respected correspondent George Dobell has been welcomed as the new Chair of the Cricket Writers’ Club, succeeding Alison Mitchell, who has stepped down after a highly productive two years in the role.

Dobell is Senior Correspondent at ESPN Cricinfo and had been unanimously voted in by the CWC Committee to succeed Mitchell. That decision was ratified by the membership at the club’s AGM on 27th April. CWC congratulates Dobell on his appointment and looks forward to the club continuing its strong work in the best interests of the game and the cricket media.

Mitchell was CWC’s first female Chair. During her time in charge she grew the club’s membership, streamlined the application process, introduced welcome packs, brought in a Student Membership, established CWC social media channels, refreshed the CWC logo and website and oversaw the club’s first virtual Awards, which gained widespread media coverage for the club and its sponsors. She also led the club through the challenging period of the Covid-19 pandemic, taking a leading role in the Sports Freelancer Collective signposting support to those who lost work yet received no government support. The latter part of her term was dominated by striving to retain agency-style eye-witness coverage of all professional domestic cricket through the ECB Reporters’ Network. This was ultimately achieved, and the club reiterates the importance of accurate eye-witness reportage both for the profile of the game and its sponsors, for the players themselves, and for the journalistic integrity of the game’s coverage.

"Alison's influence as Chair spread far beyond the Cricket Writers' Club." George Dobell said. "Everyone in the game owes her for her work on the Reporters' Network, in particular, but also around inclusion. She leaves huge - if wonderfully fashionable - shoes to fill.

"Hopefully, over the next few months, we'll see a return to something approaching normality in the UK. I look forward to seeing all our members at cricket grounds and, with a bit of luck, celebrating our 75th anniversary together.”

Mitchell said: “My huge congratulations go to George on his appointment. George has been a tremendous asset to the club on Committee and in particular working closely with me on specific projects of late, where he has both taken a lead and offered measured and balanced perspective on a number of issues.”

“George is well known and widely respected in the game, and I know that the club is in safe hands going forwards – comfortably safer than when he’s fielding at 2nd slip. I am staying involved on Committee and am looking forward to serving the club under George’s stewardship.”

More than 75 members attended the AGM via Zoom and heard reports from the club’s activities over the last 12 months, as well as planning for the year ahead, as the club celebrates its 75th Anniversary.

Key items and decisions taken at the AGM included:

Plans will be followed up for a CWC Annual Lunch and Awards in early October, where the club’s 75th Anniversary will be celebrated

A new CWC Emerging Cricketer of the Year Award for the women’s game was confirmed

The CWC Constitution was updated to include the new Student membership and to bolster the club’s commitment to anti-discrimination and inclusivity

 ECB were congratulated on their staging of international cricket in a bio-bubble last season, and the staging of men’s and women’s domestic competitions amid the pandemic

Mike Hartwell of Lord's Taverners presented to the club the importance of their sponsorship of CWC and how members can continue to support Taverners after a difficult year.

Global Cricket Technology Platform NV Play was thanked for their sponsorship of the CWC Young Cricketer of the Year Award

The meeting heard:

- how CWC was on the verge of announcing new sponsors in addition to Lord’s Taverners, and thanked William Hill for their support since 2012, which has now come to an end

- how CWC Student Membership has already benefitted aspiring members of the media, with paid work opportunities coming their way

- how the ECB’s new Anti-Discrimination Code would apply to members working under ECB Accreditation

- how ECB and CWC liaised successfully to ensure fair representation of written journalists covering England cricket amid press box restrictions last summer. Thanks were placed on record to ECB’s Danny Reuben and Henry Cowen

- detail of the club’s efforts surrounding the ECB Reporters’ Network

Dates were announced for a number of CWC Cricket fixtures, and members were encouraged to donate items of historical cricket media and CWC interest, including photographs, for a special archival project in the club’s 75th Anniversary year.

 Along with confirming the appointment of Dobell as Chair, Mike Selvey was re-elected to serve as CWC President for a 4th year. Committee members Ali Martin, William Powell and Pat Gibson have stepped down, with places to be filled in due course. Tribute was paid in particular to former Chair Pat Gibson, whose service to the club on Committee alone stretched to well over a decade. The remainder of the Committee was re-elected en bloc:

Mark Baldwin, Lawrence Booth, Vithushan Ehantharajah, Alan Gardner, Richard Gibson, Julian Guyer, Andrew Miller, Alison Mitchell, Graham Morris, Bruce Talbot, Dean Wilson. 

The club expressed enormous gratitude to Gemma Wright, the Handbook Editor, for her sterling work and attention to detail on this annual project, along with Don Jenkins and all at Jenwood Printers. The club also expressed thanks to the ECB for their financial support of the handbook.

Full details of the meeting are circulated to members in the form of the Minutes.

28th April 2021