The Cricket Writers' Club recognises the stand-out performances in the domestic game each year, with five separate category titles up for grabs
CWC Sumaridge Estate Wines Emerging Cricketer of the Year – Alice Capsey
Alice Capsey enjoyed a breakout year as the 17-year-old helped the Oval Invincibles win the women's Hundred and the South East Stars lift the Charlotte Edwards Cup. Across the four competitions in which she appeared, Capsey struck 629 runs and took 30 wickets with her useful off-breaks.
But it was in the Hundred where Capsey came to prominence, scoring 150 runs at a higher strike rate than any of her top-order colleagues while also taking 10 wickets as she became the best-known schoolgirl cricketer in England.
"It's been incredible, a really special summer to be part of and one I'll remember for a very long time," Capsey said. "To end the season with two trophies is great.
"It was really special to be at Lord's and to get a fifty was incredible...I loved being in front of the crowd and I felt like I belonged there. It was uplifting."
CWC LV= Insurance County Championship Player of the Year – Luke Fletcher
Luke Fletcher was the leading wicket-taker in the County Championship this season, spearheading Nottinghamshire's charge for the title with 66 wickets at a miserly average of 14.9 and maintaining an economy rate of a mere 2.33.
No one bettered the 33-year-old's tally of four five-wicket hauls and he also took 10 wickets in a match against Worcestershire in May.
"You don't go into the season thinking you are going to get awards like that," Fletcher said. "Thank you to everyone who voted."
After an injury-hit 2020 where he didn't play a four-day match, Fletcher felt he might be entering his last year of county cricket as his contract was up. "It probably took all the pressure off me and I went into this season just wanting to enjoy it. I couldn't have dreamt this season -- I've never taken 50 wickets in a season before so to take 66 is insane really."
CWC AWARD WINNERS 2021 ANNOUNCED
Lord's Taverners Disability Cricketer of the Year - Alex Jervis
While the pandemic restricted his appearances on the cricket field, Alex Jervis worked tirelessly off it to ensure Yorkshire's D40 side competed in their first championship for several years –- not only coaching and organising the team but also travelling the country recruiting players while fundraising to ensure they could fulfil fixtures.
He is also a coach on the Lord’s Taverners Super 1s Disability Cricket programme and an active volunteer, umpire, coach and groundsman at clubs within his community.
Speaking about his award, Alex said: "It’s something I still haven't got my head around really, it's never been about me, it's always about the team or how I can get people into playing cricket at any level. Just giving back to the game that I've been so fortunate to be a part of for so long is my way of saying thank you.
"It's great to receive this award but it's not about the recognition. It's important for young people to have role models in the game so if you have got a physical disability, learning disability or a visual impairment; you know there is a game of cricket for you.”
CWC JM Finn Women's Cricket Award - Sophia Dunkley
Sophia Dunkley enjoyed immediate success at Test and ODI level with England this season, having made her T20 debut several years earlier.
Against India, the 23 year old scored an unbeaten 74 in the Test match and 73 not out in just her second ODI appearance.
"Dunkley has made crucial contributions to England in all formats this summer," said Amy Lofthouse, convenor of the women's award panel.
"In her first Test match appearance, where she was the first Black woman to play Test cricket for England, she rescued the hosts against India with a sparkling half-century. Her form continued into the one-day series, where a superb 73 in her first innings in the format helped England to a crucial five-wicket win. She continued her good form in the Hundred, finishing as the tournament's third-leading run scorer as Southern Brave reached the final."
Dunkley added: "There have been a lot of highlights for me this summer but making my Test debut was obviously very special, they don't come around that often in the women's game. To go on to make my ODI debut was also something I had dreamt of growing up as well."
As for the wider significance of her feat in becoming the first Black woman to play Test cricket for England, Dunkley said: "It wasn't until after the game that I took in what it meant. It's something I'm very proud of looking back now."
Now Dunkley can look forward to being involved in an Ashes series and a World Cup in what promises to be a busy winter for the England Women's team.
"To be involved in my first Ashes would be amazing. I was in the crowd at the 2017 World Cup final at Lord's watching on, seeing what a magical moment that was, and now to be involved in that squad is a dream come true."
Some of English cricket's most promising talents and resilient players were among the winners of the 2021 Cricket Writers' Club player awards, with Harry Brook taking the NV Play Young Cricketer of the Year award after a breakthrough domestic season and Sophia Dunkley winning the JM Finn Women's Cricket Award after making an immediate impact at Test and white-ball level in her debut England season in those formats.
Luke Fletcher won the LV=Insurance County Championship Player of the Year after leading Nottinghamshire's attack, and teenager Alice Capsey was the winner of the inaugural Sumaridge Estate Wines Emerging Cricketer of the Year after starring in The Hundred.
Meanwhile, Alex Jervis a player/coach with the Yorkshire Disability D40 hardball team and an England Learning Disability player was named the Lord's Taverners Disability Cricketer of the Year.
All awards were presented at the Cricket Writers’ Club Annual Lunch at the Kia Oval, on the occasion of CWC’s 75th Anniversary.
CWC NV Play Young Cricketer of the Year – Harry Brook
Harry Brook (Yorkshire) became the winner of one of cricket's most established honours after he was voted NV Play Young Cricketer of the Year for 2021 by the club's 450-strong membership.
This followed a season of success in all formats with Brook scoring 797 runs at an average of nearly 38 in the County Championship. He was also the fourth-highest run-scorer in the Vitality Blast with 486 runs at an average of 69.40 and finished among the top 10 run-scorers in The Hundred despite only having five innings.
First presented in 1950, the Young Cricketer of the Year award, which by tradition is won just once in a career, is restricted to England-qualified players under the age of 23 at the start of the season.
Previous winners have amassed more than 2,500 Test caps between them.
"I wrote down a few notes at the start of the year about what I wanted to achieve and the runs I wanted to get in different formats and I nailed that," said Brook, a former England Under-19 captain.
"I still think Test cricket is the pinnacle," the 22-year-old added. "To play Test cricket is the best standard you can play but there is a lot of excitement in franchise cricket as well."
Brook is the 13th Yorkshire cricketer to win the award, with previous recipients from the White Rose including England greats Fred Trueman (1952), Geoffrey Boycott (1963) and current Test captain Joe Root (2012).
Published: October 5, 2021