KEN LAWRENCE 1931-2021
Of all the diverse people appointed to the role of England press officer (media manager, head of communications, call it what you will), the least well-suited must have been Ken Lawrence. There is no doubt Ken knew his cricket. He loved the game and was an MCC member as well as a Surrey member. He was also an expert at how the media worked, having been a national newspaper sports editor for 20 years. READ MOREJuly 7th 2021
GORDON BROOKS TRIBUTE
Gordon Brooks, the Barbadian photographer, has died at the age of 81. He will be remembered for his charm, his talent and his dedication to West Indies cricket. READ MOREJuly 7th 2021
CWC PARTNERS WITH LV= INSURANCE
LV= Insurance has signed a partnership agreement with The Cricket Writers’ Club for 2021, including sponsorship of the prestigious CWC LV= Insurance County Championship Player of the Year Award. READ MORE May 27th 2021
DAVID FOOT 1929-2021
David always said that writing was the only thing he was any good at. It wasn’t true – he was the best of friends, warm-hearted and generous, and a most caring family man – but my word, what a special writer he was. He developed a style uniquely his own, a rare gift, and it throbbed with his humane, compassionate values. He was not frightened to look at the darker side of life, but he always did so with sympathy and with wisdom. And, like so few in our fast-moving world, he stayed true to his roots. READ MORE May 26th 2021
TRIBUTES TO MURRAY HEDGCOCK
CWC members and friends have been paying tribute to senior member and former News Corp London bureau chief Murray Hedgcock, who has died at the age of 90. Murray was an active member of the Cricket Writers' Club, serving on the Book Award subcommittee since its inception, and most recently helping to judge the 2020 award. The number of contributions from across the membership is testament to the high regard in which Murray was held. READ MORE May 11th 2021
GEOFF WHEELER TRIBUTE
Geoff Wheeler, one of the oldest members of the Cricket Writers’ Club and a familiar, smiling face at club lunches, dinners and annual meetings for more than 50 years, has died after a long illness. He was 86. Geoff was Cricket Correspondent and Sports Editor of the old Exchange Telegraph, which members of a certain age will remember supplied news by ticker tape to business offices and gentlemens’ clubs as well as newspapers. READ MORE May 5th 2021
DOBELL ANNOUNCED AS NEW CWC CHAIR
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 was unanimously voted in by the CWC Committee to succeed Mitchell. That decision has now been ratified by the membership at the club’s recent AGM. READ MORE April 28th 2021
DOMESTIC COVERAGE CONFIRMED
CWC is delighted to report that further to the ECB committing to fund eye-witness written reports of the Men's LV= Insurance County Championship and Vitality Blast, all matches in the Women's Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and Regional T20 will also be covered by eye-witness reporters through the ECB Reporters' Network. Eye-witness coverage has also been confirmed for all Royal London Cup games, funded by the First Class Counties. READ MORE April 21st 2021
MEMORIES OF HOSTING PRINCE PHILIP
Following the sad news of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Cricket Writers' Club recalls the occasion in 1948, when His Royal Highness was special guest at a CWC Dinner with the touring Australian team. According to a history of the CWC written by Alex Bannister (Chair 1960), "the first speeches given by Lord Birkett, the eminent advocate and Don Bradman were broadcast by the BBC and were so captivating that the 9 O'Clock News was delayed." For footage from the dinner via British Pathe READ MORE April 9th 2021
CWC STATEMENT ON REPORTERS' NETWORK
Following ECB cut-backs to coverage of domestic cricket, and the governing body's confirmation of plans for the 2021 Reporters’ Network so far, CWC has issued the following statement: READ MORE March 30th 2021
CWC URGES ECB & COUNTIES TO CO-FUND
Following CWC’s Open Letter of 11th March, the Cricket Writers’ Club has received detailed testimonies stating that a huge drop off in coverage is to be expected as a result of cuts to the ECB Reporters’ Network – the body of reporters who provide the nation’s media outlets with reliable agency-style reports on men’s and women’s domestic cricket. Feedback has been received from an array of cricket specific and general sports media outlets who use the reports, including leading websites, national radio networks, and more than 40 regional titles who wish to retain the level of coverage provided previously. The cuts will result in reduced wordage, no features, minimum quotes, and many games not having a reporter present at all. The following report has been shared with ECB and County Chief Executives. READ MORE March 18th 2021
MARTIN JOHNSON TRIBUTE
He slipped away gently in his sleep on Saturday morning in a beautiful hospice with his family visiting in turns, which is the least he deserved after a year of excruciating, debilitating suffering from inoperable and, because of the delay in proper diagnosis, untreatable cancer of the jaw. His frequent trips (outings to him) to hospitals in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Worcester for tests or to have a stomach tube reinserted, say, earned him loyalty cards. Given his other underlying health issues which included a moderate stroke and emphysema (but not, he noted, obesity given that he hadn’t eaten solid food for a year, had been fed through a stomach tube for much of the time and was skeletal) he thought it a triumph he hadn’t completed his ailment bingo card with covid. By the end, he was, he said, pretty pissed off with it all. He had had enough. READ MORE
CUTS TO DOMESTIC CRICKET COVERAGE
The Cricket Writers' Club has written an open letter to all users and beneficiaries of the ECB Reporters' Network, detailing serious concerns about the cuts the ECB is making to coverage of men's and women's domestic coverage for 2021. The ECB Reporters' Network is the body of journalists engaged by ECB to provide the written-word match reports and features that are read by supporters in their local and regional newspapers, digital/non-digital magazines and websites, including BBC Sport, The Cricketer, Wisden Cricket Monthly and Cricinfo. CWC believes an estimated 70% of coverage will be cut, and reporters will often be expected to write reports on matches they aren’t at. CWC is urging the game to collaborate to find a financial solution, enabling every men’s and women’s professional game to have an eye-witness reporter present throughout the season. READ MORE March 11th 2021
ALAN HILL TRIBUTE
Alan Hill, born in Yorkshire in 1928, had a lifelong love of cricket and cricketers. That lifetime extended into his own nineties until he died on 5 February this year. His much loved wife, Betty, with whom he had enjoyed sixty years of marriage had died a few days earlier on 29 January. Alan and Betty had no children and were totally devoted to each other. It is fitting that they should pass away within a few days of one another. READ MOREFebruary 23rd 2021
COMMITMENT TO TOURING
The Cricket Writers Club remains committed to ensuring members can tour to cover international men's and women's cricket on site whenever possible. However, the impact of the ongoing pandemic means the BCCI are not allowing on-site access to any media, local or international, during the upcoming England men’s tour of India, except for the host TV broadcaster. This is the same policy as was employed for the IPL READ MORE January 26th 2021
NO MEDIA IN SRI LANKA
The Cricket Writers’ Club regrets that it is not possible for travelling media to cover the upcoming England men’s tour to Sri Lanka due to the global pandemic. CWC regards the presence of reporters on the ground to provide eye-witness accounts to be a fundamental tenet of first hand, accurate, journalism. READ MORE January 4th 2021
CWC PLAYER AWARDS
England batsmen past and present, and a world number one spinner were among the winners of the 2020 Cricket Writers' Club player awards, with Zak Crawley taking the CWC NV Play Young Cricketer of the Year Award after a breakthrough international campaign, and Sir Alastair Cook the CWC Championship Player of the Year, in association with William Hill, which in a Covid-19 truncated season reflected performances in the Bob Willis Trophy. Left arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone won the CWC Women's Cricket Award after becoming the number one T20 bowler in the world rankings. Dan Bowser of the England Learning Disability squad was named the Lord's Taverners Disability Cricketer of the Year after starring in a series whitewash of Australia. See video interviews and READ MORE October 20th 2020
HOLDER & WI MEN RECOGNISED
Jason Holder and the West Indies men’s team have been presented with the Cricket Writers’ Club Peter Smith Award, which recognises outstanding contribution to the presentation of cricket to the public. West Indies were the first international team to travel to the UK at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, with Holder at the same time showing great leadership in calling for racial equality and unity following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. On accepting the award, Holder has urged cricket to continue to come together to “see each other as equal human beings.” See video interview and READ MORE October 20th 2020
BOOK SUCCESS FOR HAMILTON
Duncan Hamilton has won the CWC Derek Hodgson Book Award for 2020 in a unique moment for the highly-acclaimed author. His biography of Neville Cardus, The Great Romantic, published by Hodder & Stoughton, was chosen from a shortlist of six by a panel representing the Cricket Writers’ Club. The news was especially touching for Hamilton because he lives in the Yorkshire home once owned by Hodgson, the distinguished northern sports writer after whom the award takes its name. See video interview and READ MORE October 20th 2020
NV PLAY SPONSORSHIP
Global cricket technology platform NV Play (www.nvplay.com) has partnered with the Cricket Writers’ Club as sponsor of the club’s prestigious Young Cricketer of the Year award.
NV Play works closely with national cricket bodies, counties, states, clubs and teams to provide an unprecedented level of technology to all tiers of the game. The CWC Young Cricketer of the Year award, which is voted for by CWC’s 450-strong membership, aligns with NV Play’s vision of driving performance and talent identification through data analysis. This year’s award will be announced as The CWC NV Play Young Cricketer of the Year 2020. READ MOREOctober 15th 2020
BOOK AWARD SHORTLIST
The Cricket Writers’ Club has announced its shortlist of six for the annual Derek Hodgson Cricket Book Award. The list reflects the breadth of writing on cricket with familiar names contesting the prize against first-time authors and is believed to be one of the most varied shortlists in the 13 years of the award. The winner of the £400 prize will be announced in October. READ MORE September 20th 2020
NEW STUDENT MEMBERSHIP
The Cricket Writers' Club has launched a student membership for the first time, as the club seeks to support those making their way into the industry and to encourage a more diverse cricket media.
CWC Chair Alison Mitchell said, "I'm proud that the club is introducing this initiative. Our members have an exceptional amount of expertise to share. Along with providing resources to all new student members, we want to actively encourage female and BAME individuals, who have traditionally been under-represented in the UK cricket media. A number of members have already given their time, led by our Student Membership Coordinator John Stern, and I thank him for his hard work up to this point."
The club offers access to and insight from writers, broadcasters and photographers working at all levels of the game and across the spectrum of the cricket media. READ MORE - HOW TO JOIN
BOOK AWARD LONGLIST
The Cricket Writers’ Club is delighted to reveal the longlist for the prestigious CWC Derek Hodgson Cricket Book Award for 2020. This is the 13th year of the award, named after the club’s former President and Secretary. Last year’s winner was Steve Smith’s Men by Geoff Lemon.
CWC Chair of Book Awards Richard Hobson said, “Once again, the judges have been impressed by the quality and range of topics on offer, from the autobiography of Alastair Cook, England's leading Test run-scorer, to the case of Michael Bates, a county player whose skill as a specialist wicketkeeper seems to have gone out of fashion."
The winning book is judged by the CWC Book Awards Sub-Committee and will be announced in October. The winning author receives a prize of £400. READ MORE August 3rd 2020
PARTNERSHIP WITH ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR®
CWC has partnered with Enterprise Rent-A-Car® to help members travel to cricket grounds during the Covid-19 pandemic. Members can benefit from a discount on car and van hire, and also on Enterprise Car Club, an hourly rental service operating in cities across the UK including Manchester, Liverpool, London, Southampton, Bath, Bristol and many others. Both offers are covered by the ‘Complete Clean Pledge’- Enterprise’s promise to go above and beyond their already rigorous cleaning protocols, meaning CWC members can feel safe getting back to work.
CWC Chair Alison Mitchell said, “we are delighted to be able to offer this deal to our membership at a time when there is still some difficulty in using public transport due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our thanks go to the team at Enterprise for helping the cricket media get back to work.” READ MORE July 26th 2020
OBITUARY: STAN MILLER
Stan the Man.. by Colin Evans
Peter Kay's comedy hit ‘Car Share’ reminds me occasionally of driving home with Stan Miller after a game at one of Lancashire’s out grounds, Liverpool, Southport or Blackpool. Hilarious..if you enjoy Barry White at 100mph.
Stan was a big fan of Barry. He also loved gunning his two litres Ford Granada at full blast. Early evening, light traffic on the M57, 56 and 62 (I’m talking here of 40 years ago), a speed limit, sure, but no cameras. Perfect for a session of high octane passion music and a chance to test the Granada’s full potential. READ MORE July 25th 2020
TEST CRICKET RETURNS IN BIO-BUBBLE
CWC writers, broadcasters and photographers have been working in the bio-secure environments of the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford, as men’s Test cricket has returned during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It has been an unbelievable effort by Steve Elworthy and his team at the ECB to get these Test matches on,” said CWC Chair Alison Mitchell. “The attention to detail from a health and safety perspective should not be underestimated.”
“CWC’s England Sub-Committee has been liaising with ECB throughout as regards the number of written media and photographers able to attend. These conversations have been important and productive as we look to ensure cricket maintains a prominent position across the media landscape.” READ MORE July 17th 2020
CWC CHAIR CONGRATULATES CONNOR
CWC Chair Alison Mitchell has extended her congratulations to former England captain Clare Connor, who has been announced as the next President of the MCC, taking over from current President Kumar Sangakkara. Connor will become the first female President in the Club’s 233 year history.
Mitchell said, “The MCC’s reputation stretches worldwide. Women have been playing leading roles in boardrooms, media centres and on the field for some time now, but this appointment strengthens the message that cricket is an inclusive sport. Having known Clare since her playing days, I know she will see this as a great honour, but also a further opportunity to impact the game in a hugely positive way.”
Connor takes up her role in October 2021. June 25th 2020
CWC AND ANTI-RACISM - Statement
The Cricket Writers’ Club remains committed to anti-racism and equality both now and into the future. We are always looking to do things better and we maintain a dialogue with all our members as to the role CWC can play in encouraging diversity in the cricket media.
It was outlined at the April AGM that the club has been working over the last year on a more prominent Respect in the Workplace agenda with the ECB, and when a new CWC student membership is launched, the club will actively be engaging with students from BAME backgrounds to ensure the opportunity is as visible and accessible as possible.
A diverse media is a strong media.
Alison Mitchell, CWC Chair
June 22nd 2020
OBITUARY: STEPHEN FAY
by Stephen Brenkley
Being at the cricket with Stephen Fay was a constant delight. We sat alongside one another for 15 or so years reporting for the Independent On Sunday and whatever was on display before us no day was ever dull.
It was perhaps an odd partnership. We were thrown together (thoughtfully, it should be said) by the paper’s exceptional sports editor, Neil Morton. Thanks to Stephen’s generosity of spirit we hit if off immediately. Only one of us could be called Stephen, of course, and it could only be him.
READ MORE May 16th 2020
These are strange times for all of us because of lockdown in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The restrictions introduced on March 23rd have severely curtailed the work of freelancers, threatened livelihoods, mental wellbeing and even the prospects of any cricket at all between now and the Autumn.
But CWC’s first ever online AGM, attended by nearly 100 people did offer a few rays of sunshine, thanks to the highs of 2019, the prospects of an expanded membership and the work of the Sports Freelancer Collective in representing the interests of the self-employed. READ MORE
NEW SPORTS FREELANCER PROJECTS
TriNorth Communications, the sports media agency which produces The Blizzard, the Nightwatchman, Wisden Cricket Monthly and Gridiron magazines, has set up two digital magazines to provide cricket and football freelance writers with regular vehicles for their work.
TriNorth employees have taken pay cuts while those Blizzard writers who could afford to do so generously waived fees in order to get the two magazines off the ground. READ MORE April 11th 2020
CWC COMMITTEE MEETING
The CWC committee met this week via Zoom for a wide-ranging and productive biannual meeting. The success of the online committee meeting confirmed the view that we should hold an AGM via Zoom on the afternoon of April 29.
Committee discussed ECB accreditation in the light of the Covid pandemic and the delayed start to the season, and has been able to update members accordingly. Committee also discussed the implications for media requests when players have been put on furlough. The Club has been liaising with the ECB and PCA on this, and has advised members of the best way of approaching with media requests. READ MORE
FROM THE SPORTS FREELANCER COLLECTIVE
Yesterday (Friday, March 20), the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the government will pay 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 per month. The measures for self-employed freelancers, however, still don’t go far enough.
Today the government has recognised our letter and assured us that they know freelancers have been hit. We will continue to liaise with the government and push for the measures we need, and keep you all updated. The Sports Freelancer Collective will consult over the weekend and discuss where we would like to see changes and how today’s measures will help or impact freelancers. READ MORE March 27th 2020