5 February 2007

The ICC yesterday announced the regional winners of the ICC Development Program Awards 2006 with Guernsey, Jersey and Ireland coming out on top for the European Region.

Guernsey Cricket Board picked up the Best Overall Cricket Development Program Award for their development program governed by the Guernsey Young Cricketers Development Committee and spearheaded byJason Shambrook, full-time Cricket Development Officer, and Jon Orme, full-time Cricket Development Coach. The program begins in schools, giving children as young as 7 years of age the opportunity to take part in cricket, and providing a player pathway to develop and feed these youngsters into senior club cricket.

Guernsey also had success in the Best Women’s Initiative category, where a series of after school ‘clubs’ resulted in the first ever match between two all-girls colleges and from this stemmed the first girls-only cricket league.

The Jersey Cricket Board picked up two awards - the first in the Marketing and Promotional Program category, for its newsletter “Around the Boundary” and the second the Spirit of Cricket Initiative in association with UNAIDS, awarded for a joint venture between theJersey Cricket Board Development Team and St James School, a school for children with emotional and behavioural disorders. Children from the school formed a combined cricket team with two other primary schools enabling them to compete in a hardball match for the first time.

The Irish Cricket Union produced two successes in the Volunteer of the Year and Lifetime Service categories. Richard Johnson won the Volunteer award for his tireless contributions to Irish and European cricket, which included helping to stage Ireland’s first official ODI against England and organising the Under 19 European Championships in 2006.

The Lifetime Service award went to Clarissa Pilkington who, amongst her many contributions to women’s cricket in Ireland, led the steering committee for the formation of the Irish Women’s Cricket Union in 1982 and guided the Irish team to their first World Cup in Australia in 1987.

Elsewhere Belgium won the award for Best Junior Initiative following a year of hard work by Full Time Youth Development officer Fazil Mahmoud, which has delivered cricket to many Belgian schools and has brought a new crop of youngsters to the game. And finally, The Photo of the Year award went to a pair of action shots from Peter Power of Denmark.

ICC Regional Development Manager-Europe Richard Holdsworth commented on the awards;

“Each year Europe’s member countries continue to produce great initiatives to develop the game, particularly at youth level.  This area is so crucial if the game it to grow and further develop and all the very many volunteers and professionals should be congratulated on their efforts.”

“It is particularly encouraging to see the women’s game grow so quickly and participation increase by 37% in the last 12 months”.

ICC Global Development Manager Matthew Kennedy congratulated all of the award winners on their achievements.

“Winning these awards is a fantastic tribute to the successful Members,” said Mr Kennedy.

“They will rightly take the plaudits but the whole process of deciding the winners has left the regional judges feeling immensely positive about the health of the game around the world.

“Since the ICC’s Development Program began in 1997 the number of ICC Members has more than doubled and the sheer volume and quality of nominations for these awards is a positive indicator that cricket is a strong sport growing stronger.

“This year’s awards illustrate the way many established development programs are flourishing.  At the same time it is really pleasing to see awards going to Members for the first time and also that women have received significant recognition for contributions to the game,” added Mr Kennedy.

The Development Program Annual Awards, which began in 2002, promote excellence in cricket development and recognise exceptional performance and service to the game in the ICC’s 87 Associate and Affiliate Members.

Nominees in 2006 came from a range of levels - country, club, association, team, school and individual - highlighting the positive impact cricket is making on the lives of people from culturally diverse communities.

The Regional Award Winners listed below will each receive an ICC plaque and be put forward for the ICC Global Awards.

The Global winners will receive either $100 or $2000 of cricket equipment, generously provided by Kookaburra.

These winners were selected by the relevant regional head office from the many entries received and will now be nominated for the global award in the relevant category.

The judges for the global awards are Percy Sonn (ICC President), Ehsan Mani (Past ICC President), Malcolm Gray (Past ICC President), and Keith Bradshaw (MCC Chief Executive and Secretary). The global awards will be announced on 15 March 2007.

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