NatWest OSCA Winners 2018
Five of Gloucestershire cricket’s unsung heroes were recognised for their hard work by winning 2018 NatWest OSCAs (Outstanding Service to Cricket Awards). For profiles of the winners please see below…
Dipak Basu (Winchcombe) l Lifetime Achievement
Dipak has been a member of Winchcombe CC for 54 years as a player, committee member, chairman and much loved President.
He came to Winchcombe as a young man and quickly became part of the fabric of the community. His warmth and accepting nature has made him many friends of all gender, age and creed.
He was Chairman in 1981-2 when the pavilion burned down and was one of the main forces behind the rebuilding of the Club. One of his, and the Club’s, greatest days was when Imran Khan came to our ground for a match against Sudeley Castle. Hugh Grant, Liz Hurley and Jemima Khan were also present. Dipak was host that day and managed to persuade Hugh Grant to become an Honorary Life Member of the Club!
Dipak organises events with the local community like getting all the staff from the local Doctor’s surgery up for President’s Day. He is a founder member of the Silver Threads, a group of ex-players and their wives who meet up and reminisce over a curry. He also gets advertisers for the handbook and frequently funds things out of his own pocket.
Although over 80 Dipak doesn’t live in the past and never says the words “Back in my day.” He was the driving force in getting the other Old Guard at the club to agree to enter the U19 T20 competition. He recognises that the game has changed and understands the need to engage with younger people and let them do things differently. This open attitude has allowed the Club to flourish rather than standing still.
As President he takes time to come to all adult and junior home matches. Last season the young first team were having a party after the game with music etc when they saw his car coming. They were worried he wouldn’t approve but instead he said: “Where’s the music, turn it up – let’s have a drink together!” – the youngsters were astounded that one of the Old Guard would want to party with them. And he did. Until very late!
He almost magical powers of persuasion which can make you agree to do something without even realising you have agreed.
He helps the Committee by being umpire and counsellor when things get tricky. Dipak is a gentleman and our hero and we are so very sad he is standing down this year. I cannot really put into words how much everyone in the Club loves this man.
Martin Fowke (Dymock) - Heartbeat of the Club
Since moving to the village over 30 years ago Martin has been the heartbeat of the club.
As well as playing for 30 years, Martin has been involved in sustaining and promoting every aspect of the club.
He is as likely to be seen emptying the bins on a Monday morning; collecting and delivering bar supplies on a Tuesday; driving to the club on his own tractor to cut the out-field on Wednesday; coaching and manning the bar on Thursday; Chairing a committee meeting on Friday; marking out wickets on Saturday morning, driving juniors to a game on Saturday afternoon; umpiring on Sunday morning, and organising and running a community fundraising activity on Sunday afternoon!
Martin is the club chairman and has held every post on the committee over the years, frequently two or more at the same time in the event of absences.
Martin instigated the club’s strategic plan (to grow the club and promote cricket) recognising its 150th anniversary, culminating in a beautiful new pavilion (generously funded by more than 20 funding partners including the ECB, Sports Council and others. Martin project managed the entire build including helping the club find a solution when Roman remains were discovered under the ground during the build! Dymock was selected as a NatWest CricketForce showcase club in 2016 – another event Martin played a huge part in.
Martin has also instigated and runs a number of innovative community fundraising activities supporting the club. These include the annual Dymock half marathon and Music Festival which are hosted at the club. He also found an unusual revenue stream for the club by getting a local cider producer (Weston’s) to plant an orchard I spare land at the ground and selling the apples back to them every year.
Elisabeth Skinner (Sheepscombe) - NatWest CricketForce
In it’s stunning, isolated, hill-top location, it’s important to understand that undertaking CricketForce work at Sheepscombe CC is a very different challenge to the majority of other cricket grounds. For seven autumn and winter months, the ground is unvisited.
Brambles, bracken and scrub grow uncontrolled over the pavilion walls and artificial net practice areas, trees fall on sheds and mice enter the pavilion.
Nevertheless, 15 brave volunteers made the trek to the ground and cleaned the mouse droppings in the cupboards, washed every part of the pavilion, cleaned the toilets and organised the playing kit. They also cleared the scrub from the nets, the boundary wall and the rear of the pavilion. The fallen tree was lifted off the shed and suitable repairs were made.
Elisabeth was the driving force behind this – and many of the other good things that go on at Sheepscombe – galvanising the volunteers and organising the operation.
In June, I organised for Gloucestershire U10s to play London Under 10s at Sheepscombe. The London manager described the ground as “breath-taking”. Clearly, Elisabeth and the rest of the volunteer’s hard work was a great success!
Jeff Chandra (GACUS) - Officiating - Umpires and Scorers
Jeff took over as chair of the Gloucestershire Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (GACUS) at a time when the various Officials organisations were in a state of turmoil. His calm leadership played a key role in resolving the situation and created a situation where GACUS is a thriving organisation greatly respected by all its partners.
The partnership with the Gloucestershire County Cricket League has been hugely successful and as a result of Jeff’s hard work:
- Qualified umpire numbers available for appointment for Saturday League matches have grown year on year to the point that most matches in Division 2 are now covered. This is considerably better than any other West of England Premier League feeder league.
- The superb Introductory Umpiring and Scoring courses, and from 2018 the Club Umpire course, have improved; 1) The quality of player/club umpiring and thus led to a reduction in the number and seriousness of disciplinary incidents and 2) The quality of scoring, with an increasing number of matches having non-playing scorers.
- Advice is freely given on the Laws, DLS, etc. and presentations provided for pre-season meetings.
- GACUS has stimulated and led a League/Club/Officials Umpiring Focus Group that seeks and delivers initiatives to improve player/club umpiring.
Since stepping down from the chair, Jeff has delivered the superb new GACUS website.
Samuel Huntley (GCCL) - Young Volunteer
Sam comes from South Wales and is an undergraduate at the University of Gloucestershire. He joined the Gloucestershire County Cricket League (GCCL) committee as webmaster in autumn 2016.
He picks up requirements very quickly and without fuss, and implements speedily. When necessary he engages with the Help Desk to overcome play-cricket constraints. A measure of his commitment is that he travelled up during the summer vacation from his home in Cardiff for the July committee meeting.
The League website was redeveloped to greatly improve the presentation but Sam’s superb achievement, which he started in the 2017 season was the League-only Honours Board. The ECB was contacted about producing this but said that it was not possible. Sam doggedly pursued the Committee’s request and, using his technical skills, delivered a superb outcome that produced excellent feedback and a PR gain for the League. Sam also rebranded the website to accommodate the 2017 mid-season change of sponsor.
In 2018 Sam has continued his fine contribution with the highlight being the monthly collation and presentation of Fair Play scores, an innovation that was greatly welcomed by his fellow committee members and he was congratulated on by GCB CEO Steve Silk.
Roger Neck (BDCA) - Leagues and Boards
Roger is a man who likes to be involved at the start of cricket projects and then devotes his life to their development.
In 1960 he was a founder member of Taveners CC which he represented for many years as a player and administrator through both successful and more difficult times. He has never lost touch with grassroots club cricket and has championed its causes for many decades.
In 1973, when the Bristol & District Cricket League was established, it was in character that Roger served on the original committee and has subsequently been a valued and increasingly important member as an active Vice Chairman and the ‘rules guru’.
After retiring from playing, Roger has become a highly competent and respected umpire who has officiated for nearly 30 years from Premier 1 WEPL level to the lower reaches of the Bristol & District League.
He is highly regarded and universally popular with a sense of humour and perspective learned from a lifetime in industry and sport as well as years spent as a magistrate.
Roger is modest to a fault, generous of spirit and a genuinely deserving and yet unsung hero of Bristol area cricket.
Bristol & District Association and League
- Vice Chairman 1988 –present
- Chairman Rules Committee 1995 –present
- Member of BDCL Committee 1973 –present
- Chairman of Division 1 1977-87
Taveners CC – founder member 1960
- 2nd X1 captain 1962-70
- Chairman 1970-6