MARK NICHOLAS WINS THE CRICKET SOCIETY AND MCC BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2017
Many congratulations to Mark Nicholas, a long-standing CWC member, for winning this year's Cricket Society/MCC book of the year award with 'A Beautiful Game: My Love Affair with Cricket' (Allen & Unwin).
He received his award in the Long Room at Lord's, at a dinner organised by MCC and at which the Cricket Writers' Club was again asked to co-host.
The other books on the short list were: 'Absolutely Foxed' by Graeme Fowler, 'The Good Murungu' by Alan Butcher, 'Stroke of Genius' by Gideon Haigh, 'White on Green' by Richard Heller and Peter Oborne, and 'Following On' by Emma John.
There were quite a number of CWC members in the room, including other authors on the short list, and my thanks are particularly due to those who joined me in co-hosting the event: Simon Wilde, Andrew Miller, Geoffrey Dean, Dan Norcross, Andrew McGlashan and Graham Morris.
Mark Baldwin, CWC Chairman 20th April, 2017
ROY WILKINSON By David Warner
Roy Wilkinson, a full senior member of The Cricket Writers' Club, died on March 1, 2017, aged 86.
For over 40 years, Roy was Yorkshire County Cricket Club's statistician and a long serving member of the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation's Archives Committee.
An MCC member and a vice president of Yorkshire CCC, he became joint editor of the Yorkshire Yearbook with Club secretary, Joe Lister, in 1975, and it was Roy who first introduced editorial content to what had previously been a book solely of records and statistics.
It was generally recognised that he was an authority on Yorkshire cricket and few people knew more about the history of the Club than he did. His own meticulous statistics and files on Yorkshire players past and present were beyond compare and he owned a magnificent collection of cricket books.
In 1996, Roy had published an invaluable book, Yorkshire County Cricket Club First-Class Records. It was a comprehensive account of all player and team statistics going back to the Club's formation in 1863 and it became an essential work of reference for all Yorkshire cricket journalists.
He was followed as Yearbook editor by former CWC President, Derek Hodgson, who, in a warm tribute to his predecessor and close friend, said: "Roy Wilkinson was a man whose dexterity with figures and records left one in awe. He was the first to invite me to contribute to that august journal, tolerating my often whimsical accounts of the Scarborough Festival.
"When he resigned after a tiff over content, he eagerly supported my name as the new editor, thus starting an 18-year partnership that turned the Yearbook from a collection of records to an annual account of Yorkshire's cricketing life and a perpetual search into the lives and the mores of the great men who had made the Club.
"We had the odd disagreement but as we were both traditionalists with a reverence for the county's deep history we were always aiming in the same direction. Such was his command of every team's and every player's times that his expertise was rarely if ever challenged.
"He was a member of MCC for more than 40 years and treasured his annual visits to Lord's almost as much as his vice-president's chair at Headingley. To we Yearbook colleagues he was the Sage of Addingham and we shall miss him."
LORD’S MEDIA CENTRE UPDATE
MCC kindly invited a small delegation from the media and ECB to inspect the on-going second phase of the refurbishment of the JP Morgan Media Centre at Lord’s in February. All the work is on course to be completed for the start of the new season in April, and what will be a busy summer indeed at HQ.
Mark Baldwin and Graham Morris donned hard hats and hi-vis jackets to represent CWC at the site visit, and can report that cricket’s media will certainly notice the extra space – on both levels of the Media Centre – made available by the further works carried out this winter.
On the writers’ level an additional 24 seats are now in place, bringing the total capacity of the writing desks to 144. Two good-sized radio/TV boxes have been created at either end of this level – replacing the bigger corporate boxes – which also enhances the space dedicated to electronic media. There will be no corporate access to the box now, of course. Improved disabled access to this floor includes four wheelchair positions set in the writers’ desks area.
Access to the four rows of writing desks is now via two runs of down steps, which are positioned off to the right and off to the left as you enter from the lounge and bar area, and these replace the three runs of steps (middle and ends) of before. Thus, the banks of writing desks are now split into three sections.
Upstairs, the infill of the previous temporary staircases at each end of the box has created a significant amount of extra floor space, which is important for the photographers who have their 30 ‘hot desks’ situated along the inner wall and overlooking the lounge (up from 17 last year). All the photographers’ lockers are also now accessible – a good number last year were above the temporary stairwells and therefore not useable. All the radio and TV boxes on this level (enlarged as part of ‘Phase One’ last winter) are fully soundproofed.
New stairwells have now been built at both ends of the box, leading upwards from alongside the two additional radio/TV boxes on the writers’ level.
More tables and chairs are to be provided in the lounge area this year, thus creating more seating capacity for those eating or drinking, and the bar area remains in its new place in the far corner (former photographers’ room).
As an additional piece of news, MCC have confirmed to CWC that no guided tours for the public will be allowed to enter the Media Centre during hours of play in ALL county matches held at Lord’s this summer. This follows representation by CWC on this matter, and we are grateful to MCC for listening to our concerns.
Overall, MCC are confident that the completion of Phase Two of the refurbishment (and, indeed, of the whole refurbishment operation) will significantly enhance the world-class nature of the media facilities at Lord’s. As ever, MCC staff will be happy to receive any feedback from CWC members in the early weeks of the season. Please speak to Neil Priscott in the first instance – even if only to comment on the completed works in general!
CWC ANNOUNCES NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH THE LORD’S TAVERNERS
I am delighted to announce the start of a new Cricket Writers’ Club partnership with The Lord’s Taverners, who will need no introduction to you all. This is excellent news with which to help to kick off 2017, and I am confident that this formal relationship - initially on a three-year deal - will not just be beneficial to our Club but will also prove to be of great value to the Taverners’ ongoing work with disabled and disadvantaged children.
Included in the sponsorship amount is a fund which will be made available to provide payment for those CWC Members who help with editorial support for the Taverners in their respective regions. More detail on this initiative will follow in due course, when I will be approaching various Members for the chance to get involved.
Lord’s Taverners President Sir Michael Parkinson, and CWC Member, said: “I am delighted that The Lord’s Taverners has partnered with The Cricket Writers’ Club for the next three years. The partnership will focus on bringing cricket writers closer to the Lord’s Taverners, better understanding its charitable programmes regionally and nationally. As a long-standing member of both organisations, I am excited they will be working closer together with the single-minded aim to give disadvantaged and disabled youngsters a sporting chance.”
Taverners’ events that will form the focus of the editorial support CWC will offer in 2017 are:
(i) Table Cricket National Finals (June) (ii) Wicketz Inner-City Cricket programme (July-August) (iii) Sporting Chance Awards (March/April and October/November)
In addition, the Taverners will be co-hosting special events during the summer, to which certain CWC Members will be invited, and they will also be taking a table at our own CWC Annual Lunch, which will be held on Tuesday October 3 this year.
In conclusion I would like, officially, to welcome The Lord’s Taverners as new CWC partners, and thank Mike Hartwell, their head of marketing and communications, for his help in getting this new relationship off the ground. Obviously, I hope the partnership endures for many years to come, and for mutual benefit.
Mark Baldwin, CWC Chairman 20th January, 2017
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - EDGBASTON Tuesday, 25th April 2017
Will all Members please note that the 2017 AGM will be held in the Media Centre, at Edgbaston, on Tuesday April 25, from 2pm. The meeting will be preceded by tea and coffee availability from 1pm, and by a light lunch buffet from 1.30pm. There will also be a short drinks reception after the meeting has concluded.
The CWC committee took the decision last year that the AGM would be held on an experimental three-year rota from 2017 - also taking in Trent Bridge in 2018 and back to Lord's in 2019 - on the basis that more regionally-based Members would be able to attend over this three-year period than has traditionally been the case when it has always been held in London.
I am therefore hoping for a good turn out and, as indicated above, I am also looking for the AGM day to become something of an early-season social gathering, which CWC will help to fund in terms of refreshments and some drinks.
An AGM agenda will be sent out, as ever, in advance of the meeting and nearer the time but - for now - please put this date in your diaries and, especially if you are based in the Midlands and West, please do everything you can to attend and support the Club.
Regards, Mark Baldwin
JOHN COLLIS 1944-2016
John Collis first came to prominence as one of Britain’s most respected music writers. He was instrumental in setting up the influential Let It Rock magazine and was Time Out’s music editor throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s.
He wrote biographies of Chuck Berry, John Denver and Van Morrison, amongst others, and his book ‘The Musicians’ Bible: The Complete Guide to the Music Business’ was required reading for several degree courses. But the work of which John was most proud was ‘The Story of Chess Records’, which was published in 1998 following six years of research.
Let It Rock was a monthly magazine featuring lengthy critical articles and record reviews covering a wide spectrum of popular music, including rock, soul, reggae, folk and blues. It ran from October 1972 to December 1975. In all, just 35 issues were published, but a number of writers, most notably David Hepworth - the driving force behind Smash Hits - regarded it as the precursor to music magazines such as Q.
John is credited as being the music journalist who coined the term ‘Pub Rock’ - small clubs and pubs being where bands did not require the backing of a major record label to establish a following during the early to mid-1970s - acts such as Dr Feelgood, Ian Dury and The Stranglers.
However, when, in 1977, the genre evolved into the punk explosion, Collis was disheartened by what it had become. In one review, he wrote: “The Clash make the requisite noises for pogo dancing down the Roxy on their first single for CBS ‘White Riot’. Judging by the advance proferred, the record company feels strongly that this mercifully-brief platter will lead to more remunerative things. Question: is it amusing or depressing to see a succession of record companies so comprehensively taken to the cleaners over punk rock?”
Following a stint as features editor for The Radio Times, John worked for The Guardian as Blues writer before doubling up as one of its cadre of roving freelance cricket correspondents, between 2001 and 2006 (in the days when the four main ‘quality’ nationals still invested effort in covering the county game).
Such was his modesty, the only inkling some of his new colleagues had that there was another string to John’s bow was when he would make such asides as: “There's a piece on Jimi Hendrix in The Guardian today - you would have thought they would get someone who actually saw him to write it.”
For many years he was a big part of Millfields Cricket Club, which is now run by his son Tom. As a reporter, John was happiest when covering his beloved Somerset. When not, he would be constantly checking out the live scores Ceefax or calling across the press box to enquire as to state of play at Taunton, or wherever the Cidermen were in action.
Collis’s reports contained vivid turns of phrase, like this description of the former Yorkshire and Somerset fast bowler, Steve Kirby: “He is red-haired, but when he feels cruelly cheated of a wicket his whole head appears to catch fire. He runs down the pitch to congratulate the batsman on his luck, and on his way back has a cheery word with the non-striker as well before returning to his mark with the gait of a squaddie in dire need of a pint on a Saturday night.”
The date of the Cricket Writers’ annual dinner was inked into John’s diary as soon as it was announced. One year, when it coincided with the last day of a Championship match at Edgbaston, he set off just before tea, calling back to the press box regularly for sufficient morsels of information to complete and file his match report when he reached London.
In later life John returned to his native Somerset, where he was a regular at the county ground. He would pop into the press box from time to time, both to see how everyone was doing and to remind them that he was available for employment if needed. During one of Ivo Tennant's postings to Taunton last summer, for The Times, John enquired half seriously and half in jest: "Are you here stealing a local man's work?"
His companionship, wit and affection for the game will be greatly missed by those who worked with him on the circuit.
David Hopps, who was responsible for The Guardian’s county cricket rota when John worked for the paper as a freelance reporter, adds:
To provide a flavour of John Collis's phase as a cricket writer, the fact must be met head on that, by then, he was a prodigious drinker. To remark on it is to reflect that his drinking was a dominant part of the man we knew. He made no secret of it and nor should we.
But John was more than that to those of us fortunate to know him on the county circuit, a role he fulfilled at times for The Independent too. He had a great affinity for the game and had a general knowledge - not just on his other great love, music - that spoke of a creative man much taken by life. As someone working for the same newspaper, I ran into him only rarely, but it was always a pleasure because there was fun to be had on all but the toughest days. He once invited a few of us to a quiz night in a Taunton pub during a Somerset Championship match. He supped more, answered more and entertained more. We won by miles and it was as if his interests beyond the cricket Press box had opened up before me.
As a county cricket writer, John did not much care for a quote. He wanted to turn a phrase. In that, he was true to Guardian traditions at a time when they were being questioned. Not exactly faultless in that regard myself, I nevertheless remember becoming briefly irritated by him during a Championship match at Lord's when he did not just skip an important lunch time press conference in his haste to get to the pub, he walked straight past it. "Next time get the quotes on the way, John," I implored him protectively in my somewhat vague role as Unofficial County Cricket Organiser. But we both knew he probably never would.
There was personal sadness in his life by the time John turned to cricket and moved back to the West Country. He could be waspish at times in a county press box - and grumpy with the desk, too, when he was invariably given fewer words, or indeed less respect, than he deserved - but when on song he could be vastly entertaining. In that he followed a great press box tradition. Music was his greatest love, as he modestly divulged, and his deep knowledge of R&B, blues, jazz and 20th Century rock could help find passage through the dreary, rained-off days. His impression of Pathe newsreaders was another well-appreciated turn.
I'm glad he got his chance to write about cricket for the Guardian, and I'm still disgusted about the carelessly casual way that relationship was ended. Newspapers do not always deserve the loyalty their freelance writers bestow upon them.
PROMISES AND LIES - THE STORY OF UB40
I am sure many will be interested to hear that long-standing CWC member and Fleet St Wanderer, Charlie Thomas, is bringing out another music history documentary as a follow-up to his successful effort of last year which charted the life of the band 10cc.
This next documentary from Charlie, 'Promises and Lies - the Story of UB40', airs on 2nd December, at 9pm on BBC4. Charlie has it on good authority that UB40 were Tony Greig's favourite band - in which case, he says, "it's probably just as well he didn't witness their acrimonious decline, which makes up the latter part of the film".
Regards, Mark Baldwin
ECB’s 2016 COUNTY JOURNALISM AWARDS ANNOUNCED
Will Macpherson named Young County Journalist of the Year BBC Radio Derby’s Dave Fletcher wins the County Broadcaster award
ECB has announced the winners of the sixth annual County Cricket Journalism Awards which celebrate national and regional media coverage of the county game.
Will Macpherson, a freelance journalist who has covered cricket for the Guardian and Cricinfo, was named the Christopher Martin-Jenkins Young County Journalist of the Year. He will receive a £3,000 prize to fund a week-long trip to the UAE next March to report on the new North v South 50-over series. Freelance journalist Tim Wigmore and Henry Cowen (All Out Cricket) were named as runners-up in this category and each receive a £1,000 award to fund reporting on next summer’s county programme and the Kia Super League.
Dave Fletcher, who recently completed his first season as a county commentator with BBC Radio Derby, was named the Christopher Martin-Jenkins County Broadcaster of the Year and receives a £5,000 prize.
The Sunday Independent was named Regional Newspaper of the Year for its comprehensive coverage of First Class, Minor County and club cricket in the South West region. It wins the top award from a £2,500 prize fund, supported by the Cricket Writers’ Club in association with Benenden Health, Smile Group Travel and William Hill. The Manchester Evening News and the Nottingham Post are also commended in this category and each receives a cash prize.
The Cricket Paper was named County Cricket Newspaper of the Year for the second time in three years with last year’s winner, The Times, receiving a commendation. ESPN Cricinfo was recognised as the outstanding Online Publication for the fourth consecutive year.
Mark Baldwin, chairman of the Cricket Writers’ Club, said: “The judging panel was impressed particularly by the strength in depth of the entries in the Young County Journalist of the Year category.
“I would like to congratulate Will Macpherson for the quality and range of his portfolio, which won him the main award, but the writing of our two runners-up Tim Wigmore and Henry Cowen was also exceptional and had to be given the quality of many other entries.
“The Cricket Writers’ Club’s continued support for ECB’s initiative in running these awards now includes offering prize monies in the Regional Newspaper of the Year category, precisely because the club wants to do what it can to support hard-pressed cricket writers in the regional press and also to underline its belief in the value to the game of coverage of county cricket in this area.
“Many congratulations to the Sunday Independent for its superb, in-depth coverage of Somerset, Gloucestershire, Minor County and club cricket in its South-West region. The Manchester Evening News and the Nottingham Post also fully deserve their commendations in this category and the monetary awards they will all receive are designed to supplement coverage of the county game by their staff writers or regular freelance contributors. I look forward to seeing an even larger and stronger entry for this category in 2017, when CWC will again be offering the same monetary prizes.
“It is in the interests of everyone who follows and cherishes county cricket that standards in media coverage across all platforms should be as high as possible, as a reflection of the strong and passionate following for our domestic game, and I would like to congratulate too the winners of the other three categories in this year’s awards.”
ECB Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison said: “These awards recognise and reward the vital role cricket writers and broadcasters play in driving interest in all our domestic competitions. My congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to all the individuals and media organisations who provided such comprehensive and insightful coverage across a truly memorable county season.”
The full list of winners: Christopher Martin-Jenkins Young Journalist of the Year: Will Macpherson Christopher Martin-Jenkins County Broadcaster of the Year: Dave Fletcher County Cricket Newspaper of the Year: The Cricket Paper Commended: The Times Online Publication of the Year: ESPN Cricinfo Regional Newspaper of the Year: The Sunday Independent Commended: The Manchester Evening News, The Nottingham Post.
CRICKET WRITERS' CLUB - AWARD WINNERS 2016
Young Cricketer of the Year - Ben Duckett County Championship Player of the Year - Keaton Jennings Women's Cricket Award - Charlotte Edwards The Peter Smith Memorial Award - Mike Selvey Cricket Book of the Year - Cricket: The Game of Life by Scyld Berry
Keaton Jennings, Ben Duckett and Charlotte Edwards have spoken of their pride at winning the end-of-season Cricket Writers' Club awards.
Durham batsman Jennings has won the County Championship player of the year award, presented in association with William Hill, after finishing the season as the competition's leading run scorer, while Northamptonshire left-hander Duckett, 21, is the club's Young Player of the Year and Edwards the first winner of the women's award.
"It's been a special season in a lot of ways and to end up with this award is another big moment," said Jennings, who made 1,548 Championship runs at an average of 64.50.
"At the start of the year I hadn't set myself any goals in terms of runs scored but am very pleased with the way the season's gone, from a personal and a team point of view , after ending up fourth with five wins."
Jennings' seven hundreds included a double century against a strong Yorkshire attack, as well as two in the first match of the season at home to Somerset. But the 24-year-old England-qualified batsman rates his match-winning 113 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in May as his best century of 2016.
He explained: "That's No 1 because it was under pressure in a run chase against a serious attack that has everything covered; an awesome spinner in the King Jeets (Jeetan Patel) as we call him and a great left-armer in Barks (Keith Barker) who's always there or thereabouts in the MVP. The double hundred against Yorkshire was a very close second."
Jennings - the son of former Transvaal wicketkeeper and South Africa U19 coach Ray Jennings - added: "My dad and uncle [Ken] have been two really big influences over the last 12 months - hopefully I can kick on and emulate this next year."
Northamptonshire's Duckett capped a season that saw him gain selection for both England's Test and One-Day squads by being named the CWC Young Player of the Year. The 21-year-old left-handed batsman topped a ballot of the CWC membership after a brilliant season in all formats.
In July, Duckett struck a blistering 220 not out off 131 balls, including 29 fours and six sixes for the England Lions in a one-day game against Sri Lanka A, yet that was not even his highest score of the season, with Duckett making 282 not out for Northamptonshire against Sussex in the County Championship in April. His tally of 1,338 runs in the County Championship included four hundreds, while he also helped Northamptonshire win the Twenty20 Blast. Duckett's form saw him recently selected for both the Test and one-day squads for England's tour of Bangladesh.
First presented in 1950, and one of the oldest such honours in cricket, the award, which by tradition is won just once in a career, is restricted to England-qualified players under the age of 23 on May 1. Previous winners of the Cricket Writers' Club Young Cricketer of the Year award have amassed more than 2,500 Test caps between them, with Duckett the first Northamptonshire player to receive the award since former England batsman Rob Bailey, now an international umpire, in 1984.
Duckett said: "I am delighted to have been chosen by the Cricket Writers' Club for this award. Looking through the list of previous winners shows our special an award it is. It’s been a wonderful season, I've shocked myself at times and was particularly proud to play a part in Northants' success in the T20 competition. I have to thank my team mates for their support and am excited by what lies ahead for me."
Edwards has spent much of her career breaking new ground so it was, perhaps, appropriate that she should be the first winner of the CWC women's award - the first time the Club has specifically honoured a female cricketer in its 70-year history.
Edwards began the year as England captain - a post she’d held for a decade. She led her country to the final of the World T20 in India and finished as England's leading run scorer, and the tournament’s 2nd highest scorer overall, only to be removed from the England captaincy in a controversial move as team management sought a fresh start. That decision prompted Edwards, 36 to retire from international cricket after more than 300 senior games for her country. Yet far from calling time on her career, Edwards captained three sides to a unique domestic treble in leading Kent to the 50 over County Championship title, the Twenty20 title, and the Southern Vipers to victory in the inaugural T20 Kia Super League.
She said: "It didn't start off in the best fashion but it's been a brilliant season, culminating in the KSL. I really enjoyed captaining the Southern Vipers and am looking forward to playing in Australia this winter."
All the winners were revealed at the Club's 70th anniversary lunch at London's Merchant Taylors' Hall on 27th September.
CWC CRICKET BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016 SHORTLIST
Absolutely Foxed by Graeme Fowler with John Woodhouse (Simon & Schuster) Compelling account in a multitude of ways - of depression and its far-reaching effects but also in its analysis of coaching by a singular character.
Chasing Shadows -The Life and Death of Peter Roebuck by Tim Lane and Elliot Cartledge (Hardie Grant) Thorough, disturbing, objective examination of what drove one of the game's most incisive chroniclers.
Cricket: The Game of Life by Scyld Berry (Hodder) Bravura paean to the game from its early days to now, from one of its most enduring, distinctive and concerned voices.
Fire In Babylon by Simon Lister (Yellow Press) The captivating tale rivetingly told of the rise of the great West Indies team which seems the more astonishing as the years pass.
Phillip Hughes, The Official Biography by Malcolm Knox and Peter Lalor (Macmillan) Warm, heartrending story of a too brief, well-lived life seen through the eyes of those who knew him, beautifully capturing the spirit of a boy from the bush.
The War Of The White Roses by Stuart Rayner (Pitch) The intrigue, the passions in Yorkshire's civil war still enthral after 30 years, recounted in sustained high calibre, authoritative reportage.
The winner will be announced at the CWC's 70th Anniversary Lunch on 27th September, at which it is hoped the winning author(s) will be present.
CWC YOUNG CRICKETER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Who will be the 68th winner of the CWC Young Cricketer Award and eighteenth recipient of the silver Trophy, at present in the care of Jack Leaning of Yorkshire? In the immortal words of a well-known game show, "You decide!" The Award was instituted in 1950, making this the 67th year (there were joint winners in 1986).
The players to be considered must be qualified to play for England and they must have been under 23 on 1st May, 2016. Please check the birthday in Playfair before deciding. Then post the voting form to Wendy Wimbush before Saturday, 17th September or e-mail your suggestion to her by midnight on the same date. (This time-scale is necessary to allow time for the Trophy to be taken from Lord's to and from the engraver.).
Do, please, use your vote this year and the Committee hopes you have booked your ticket to see the presentation of this and our other prestigious Awards at the Annual Lunch, to be held on Tuesday, 27th September, 2016 at The Merchant Taylors' Hall in Threadneedle Street.
CWC COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD
This will be the fifth presentation of the Award, sponsored by William Hill, won last year by Jonny Bairstow of Yorkshire. Nominations must be submitted to Wendy Wimbush, by the same deadline as for the Young Cricketer Award.
All players of any age taking part in championship matches are eligible for selection and you should vote for someone whom you consider to have made significant contributions in championship matches (only) for his county. The Committee acknowledges you may feel unable to vote for this category, on account of mot seeing enough championship cricket.
COUNTY JOURNALISM AWARDS 2016 & 2017
I am delighted to announce that the Cricket Writers' Club is to sponsor the Regional Newspapers category in this year's ECB County Journalism Awards, and will do so again in 2017.
Following discussions with ECB, and full consultation between members of the CWC committee, I have decided to offer a sum of £2,500 for both 2016 and 2017. This prize fund will be used to reward those regional newspapers who win the category, or are commended.
Monetary prizes will only go to those regional newspapers who agree to use the prize to enhance their staff coverage of county cricket. In most cases, CWC members on the winning - or commended - papers will be able to monitor this, but CWC will also ask for evidence that staff coverage of domestic cricket has been increased as a result of the prize awarded.
Our main CWC sponsors - William Hill, Benenden Health and Smile Group Travel - will be name-checked along with CWC in all ECB media releases regarding the 2016 and 2017 County Journalism Awards.
Obviously, I hope the prizes awarded do lead to more opportunity for staff writers on the winning, or commended, regional newspapers to cover county cricket - but CWC's committee also feels it is very important, in the current climate, to underline our concern about the decline in regional coverage and to do something tangible (albeit in a small way) to try to arrest this decline.
If this commitment to attach £5,000 of prize money to the Regional Newspapers category, over two years, turns out to be mainly a gesture, then so be it. It is, I contend, a gesture well worth making for its own sake but my hope, indeed expectation, is that ECB will decide to attach prize money of its own to all the County Journalism Awards in the near future; in this way, our initiative will do some good in the short term but also pave the way for more permanent financial reward to be put in place for excellence of coverage across all categories in the ECB Awards.
ECB, for the moment, needs time to work into its overall budgets any such additional financial commitment, and CWC, for our part, feels it is important to make a statement of support for our members in the regions, and their publications, besides showing further support for the ECB County Journalism Awards.
As a result of our discussions with ECB on this topic, and in a more general sense, I am also pleased to confirm that the county awards have undergone a few more tweaks this year and, for example, the £5,000 available in the Young Cricket Writer Award category will be split into a number of specific awards which will reward more than just one writer and, hopefully, will encourage every young journalist currently involved in cricket writing to send in an entry.
More details of the make-up of this year's ECB County Journalism Awards will be made by ECB in due course - probably early next week.
My thanks to all CWC committee members for their thoughtful and considered input over the past weeks, and I hope this initiative - a first of its kind for the Club, despite it being our 70th year - is widely supported throughout our membership.
Mark Baldwin, CWC chairman 8th August, 2016
THE CRICKET WRITERS' CLUB 70TH ANNIVERSARY LUNCH Tuesday, 27th September 2016
Merchant Taylors' Hall, 30 Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8JB
Tickets are available (all are inclusive of wine with the lunch):
Media table of 10 = £895.00 Individual member = £55.00 First guest (i.e. non-member) = £55.00 Subsequent guests = £65.00 Teetotal ticket = £40.00
Come and see the presentation of our five awards:
- The CWC Young Cricketer of the Year - Women's Cricket Award - The Peter Smith Memorial Award - The County Championship Player of the Year - The CWC Cricket Book of the Year