Skip to main content

On Sunday 3rd September 2023, Surrey Cricket Foundation hosted the annual grassroots volunteer recognition awards at The Kia Oval, recently renamed The Cricket Collective Awards.

Volunteers, who were nominated by their cricket club or community group, along with their guests, were treated to a two course lunch with wine in the England Suite, whilst celebrating the amazing work going on across the County.

As well as the awards themselves, a Q&A session was held with Surrey men’s team cricketer Nathan Barnwell and Surrey women’s team player, and recent Hundred winner with Southern Brave, Rhianna Southby.

Guests were also able to enjoy the backdrop of day one of the Surrey vs Warwickshire County Championship match taking place in the warm September sunshine.

There were 11 awards given out on the day. Please take some time to read through each of the nominations below.

Connecting Communities winners: Hampton Wick Royal CC

Our vision:
“We aspire to be at the heart of the communities and people of Hampton Wick and become the most inclusive sports club in London”


  • Education. Focussing on member experiences, we hosted an ‘open conversation’ and being ‘anti-racist’. We were joined by voices from the Mayor of London, Richmond Council, Surrey CCC, ECB, local schools, sports clubs, and charities. This will be repeated with Juniors alongside club-wide EDI training.
  • Culture. With events and weekly communication, we acknowledge culturally significant milestones placing our club within wider society and celebrating diversity.
  • Playing Experience. We undertake annual reviews of Dressing Room Culture, our Facilities’ accessibility, and Code of Conduct. We have plans for an Elite Pathway package to overcome non-ability barriers.
  • Welcoming. With Heathfield School we have established a girl’s setup, building on our longstanding relationship with Bushy Park Girls. Via our ‘160 Club’ lottery we are making cricket more affordable, especially helping new members from the Caribbean, Afghanistan and those new to the game. We have a regular popular fixture with Graces CC.
  • Governance. We retain Clubmark status. Our committee(s) and Playing XIs are reflective of our club and community. We have committed to embracing the ICC recommendations.


Cricket Innovator winner: Lauren Ireland, Leatherhead CC

“Lauren in her first year as Junior Chair at Leatherhead. She has introduced a huge number of new systems and ideas which have improved the junior and senior cricket experience beyond belief. Changes include the use of Pitchero across the entire club to simplify membership, availability, selection, and match fee processes. This has been warmly embraced by everyone and has vastly improved the smooth running of the club. She has completely overhauled the coaching programme at the club in collaboration with our Head Coach, Alex Waterman. This has included recruiting new coaches to strengthen the team, driving increased participation of young players in coach training to obtain their qualifications and assist senior coaches at training. The coaching programme is now very well structured across all age groups and adults with session plans and staffing shared in advance of delivery. Lauren has also organised team building events for the coaching team to reward them for their efforts and support coach retention. Lauren has recruited many parent volunteers to help in various roles across the whole club and, as a result, the club is thriving with the highest membership numbers in memory. She has transformed Leatherhead Cricket Club in one year!”

Game Changer winner: Yusuf Sajjad, Sinjun Grammarians CC

“Yusuf is a fantastic role model for all the boys and has stepped up to coach them for the first time this season, through his A-Level year, coaching them to huge improvement through the winter nets and weekly sessions. The boys absolutely coming to his classes, and attendance has gone through the roof this year, along with lots more new players joining the club. He is friendly and informative for the boys, and the team, in their first year in Tier 2 is unrecognisable from last year, with a massive improvement, largely due to the increased enjoyment and inspiration he has delivered. We are 2nd in our first year in U12 Tier 2, even with a mixture of U12’s and U11’s as we have no under 11 team. The fact that he has enabled this mixed year team to thrive in U12 Tier 2 is a real testament to him, encouraging everyone and allowing them all to shine and play in the team. He has gone above and beyond to come and score our games and was even involved in a game for our U12’s with his sixth form colleagues, which the boys absolutely loved, and he was so encouraging to them, lining them all up for slip catches and giving them slip catch nicks off the 6th formers. All this fantastic coaching whilst studying for his A-Levels and this is his first year in coaching, doing a fantastic job! He is inspiring all the boys and making them love their cricket, even while taking his A-Levels himself. He will even be playing with his music band at our club family fund raising day next week to raise money for the club. Thank you, Yusuf, Amazing job!”

Growing the Game winner: Joanne Watson, Guildford CC

“I would like to recommend Jo Watson for an award as she goes above and beyond to get Guildford CC playing cricket. Jo is the fixture secretary for both the seniors and juniors. This means she has the task of organizing over 500 fixtures in a summer. Not only has she done this but worked to expand the fixtures such that we now run an additional 2 men’s XI’s playing their first season in the I’Anson League and the 5th XI playing a season of friendlies allowing a large number of students to play and providing a pathway for juniors to play senior cricket. Every week Jo is working to ensure if we have players, they have a game to play. She has worked to help get the junior girls teams fixtures up and running and in the last 4 years we have gone from zero to teams at all junior levels. Not only this but Jo scores and manages play cricket for us. She is also a committee member and a member of the Surrey Championship committee. Such is Jo’s dedication and commitment to cricket and getting cricket on we believe she would be a worthy winner.”

Inspired to Play winner: Sarah Millan, Spencer CC

“Since qualifying as a level 2 (2015) Sarah has been the driving force behind young female cricket at SCC. From 190 girls in 3 league teams in 2015 today she’s head of a girl’s section 550 strong across 18 teams. Sarah’s now inspiring the mums too: 2023 has seen 6 AGMs (0 in 2015), >20 sitting a new female-only scoring course, and several Surrey coaching course applicants. Sarah’s relentless enthusiasm /passion sets the tone for Friday night’s girls’ SCC takeover where mums are now as frequent volunteer coaches as the dads. Dreaming big lies behind Sarah’s frequently arranged trips to the Oval. A supporter of all abilities she’s always worked to find the right winter opportunities for those she’s inspired to love cricket and / or with real talent. The Spencer girl’s section’s success with county and MCC selection is a direct result of Sarah’s work. Lastly to ensure sustained success at Spencer Sarah established the SCC junior committee (50:50 gender) something she identified as missing during her role as Exec Jnr Chair for girls. Her ‘that’s just not good enough’ approach has helped drive the committee to create change furthering inclusivity and equality (especially for the girls she clearly champions).”

Lifetime Achievement winner: Graham Ekins, Farncombe CC

“Graham is in his early Sixties and as his Mum would say has been at Club since he was in his pram. He became actively involved when in 1969 his father started the colts. His teenage years were all about playing the game, through the Juniors, debut for the 2ndXI at 11, through to 1stXI cricket by the time he was 15. He was selected for Surrey Young Cricketers as the wicket keeper, also playing once for Surrey 2ndXI. It was in 1989 that he qualified as a Coach and has run the Juniors since. He has also now taken on a major role of looking after our square. Three years ago, he became Chairman, he has progressed the club with successful ladies teams, successful grants obtained and built a strong volunteer committee. Christmas 2021 Graham retired and has since this time delivered coaching as a volunteer, Chance to Shine delivery 2023, to three local schools. Through this engagement he has hooked so many children our Juniors stand at 190 of which 60 are girls. We think that 52 years of Service to cricket in Surrey is worthy of this award.”

Rising Star winner: Charlotte Martin, Farncombe CC

“We would like to introduce one of the most gregarious young sports volunteers you could ever meet, a young lady – Charlotte Martin, 15 years of age. Whilst in recent years a player for the Boys Teams and now an established member of our Ladies team, it is her enthusiasm and leadership qualities that set her apart. In 2022 she was on the Cricket Young Leaders programme that she led amongst the boys at the club running and organising a fund-raising tournament, that made in excess of £600. In 2023 she runs, with a senior coach, our Girls U11 team, organising the practice, umpiring the games. This is a true commitment, she attends every Friday Practice for the girls, planning the sessions well in advance, juggling her GCSE commitments alongside. Above all she has inspired the Girls to bring along their friends, she has played a major part in growing our girls’ section from about 6 players 2 years ago to now over 60. She now wants to qualify as a coach. She has also taken a role on the club committee as the Junior representative. Charlotte isn’t a rising star; in our eyes she is already a star.”

Safehands winner: Jess Watson, Epsom CC

“Jess has put in a phenomenal amount of work to make cricket at Epsom a safe and inclusive place for all. She has ensured that all our safeguarding policies have been updated, are in line with current practice and available to all club members. She drove the club reconfirming Safehands status. Most importantly she has fought tenaciously for some junior members who have experienced some discrimination from opposing teams during matches. Her work with the families, Surrey cricket, the ECB and the juniors themselves has been phenomenal and champions that cricket is a game for all that all should be safe to enjoy.”

Tackling Climate Change winners: Steve Umpelby & Ken Murphy, Cobham Avorians CC

“Cobham Avorians initiated a sustainability drive last year designed to reduce their carbon footprint. The calculations for the existing carbon footprint are under way – but there is both a practical as well as an altruistic reason for this initiative. Altruistically it is the right thing to do; practically saving electricity saves cost, a factor that was useful last year, and this year is critical to survival for many clubs. The club invested to upgrade its lighting to low wattage LED lights and from an investment of around £100, smart plugs were obtained to help manage the cooling equipment behind the bar. This has resulted in a greater than 50% saving on electricity consumption year on year to date. The biggest project has been the installation of the solar panels and storage battery – which necessitated the construction of a new roof as well. This project cost around £60,000, half funded by grants and will enable the club to generate approximately 80% of its electricity needs. Other initiatives ongoing this year include the installation of specific recycling bin suites and possibly the installation of an electric car charging point. The club intends to estimate its carbon footprint reduction at the end of the year and report it to the AGM in 2024.”

Volunteer Grounds Management Team winners: Bob Ford, Neil Robinson & Scott Gardner, Old Rutlishians CC

“Neil and Bob have been instrumental in the grassroots enhancement of Old Ruts cricket grounds. A grand plan to move cricket back to the original home of Rutlish School, took a whole year of negotiation, with the support of Surrey and expertise of GMA convinced the school of the great wicket they had. 3rd and 4th seniors’ cricket has successfully returned and with new investment secured from the ECB, has set out a significant cricket opportunity for Old Ruts and the London schools cricket development going forward. At their home ground, volunteering has been at the heart of driving improvements, learning from contracted grounds staff the wider team have taken on significant projects to better set up the club for high quality surfaces – A extensive pre-season reset from winter sports saw for example over 30 volunteers lay over 40 rolls of seed blanket, watering where required to ensure excellent early growth. Not stopping at this the team throughout the season with their lead groundsman signed off sick Bob and Neil took it upon themselves to pick up the duties ensuring the cricket continued weekly, learning from continuous advice. Success can be acknowledged from the significant improvement in match preparation scores prior to previous years. Not satisfied, sustainable water sourcing for better watering with a warmer climate is significantly advanced for introduction in 2024.”

Our thanks go to all those who nominated, and of course to all nominees and their guests for joining us for what was a fun-filled afternoon.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu