Heather Vernon and Peter Wreford were the big Warwickshire winners at last week’s 2018 NatWest OSCAs.
The annual awards at Lord’s reward the volunteers who put in countless unpaid hours in the service of cricket club across England and Wales.
It’s a fitting way for the ECB to highlight and celebrate the unsung heroes of the game.
Heather who is a member of the Warwickshire ACO and is a renowned scorer who has devoted a lot of her time to training scorers in recent years scooped the Officiating OSCA whilst Peter, who coaches All Stars and youth cricketers at Berkswell CC, has been recognised for taking on the running of the Arden Sunday League and trying to resurrect as much Sunday cricket as possible.
“I’m a bit stunned really,” said Vernon. “I just get on and do what I do but to get acknowledgment like this is just out of this world, it’s just fantastic.
“I started out making cricket teas and then, because my youngest son was playing, I began scoring. As he moved up from the village second XI I moved with him and I wanted to learn how to do this properly.
“I got some training and it snowballed from there. I love it and I’d encourage anybody to have a go. It’s a great way for people, who may not get to get to play at a high level, to be involved in the game.”
For England captain Heather Knight, present to hand out two awards, it was an opportunity to recognise those people whose work otherwise might go under the radar: “It’s great to meet everyone who has been nominated – for some of them it’s their first day at Lord’s.
“I spoke to one lady from Lincolnshire who can’t stop smiling. She only started playing when she was in her forties because she had four kids who wanted to get into cricket. It’s nice to reward the people that put in the hard yards in often unglamorous jobs, to have a day like this is special.”
Vernon added: “We [volunteers] come from all sorts of different backgrounds, for all sorts of different reasons but we’ve all found this love of cricket. For every player, male or female, that walks onto the pitch, behind them are a whole host of people getting the ground ready, making the teas, doing the organising, collecting the money. And they do it because they love the game.”