Brighter Times Ahead for Cricket in the White Rose County

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Richard Graves

Presenter, Writer and Broadcaster

Brighter Times Ahead for Cricket in the White Rose County

Yorkshire Cricket Board Honours Grassroots Cricket Stars


It’s been a winter of discontent for cricket in Yorkshire. An off season of change, prompted by allegations and accusations surrounding conduct, inclusivity, and attitudes. Prompting uncomfortable conversations and cricket lovers across the county to question the workings of the club they love – Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

However, while Yorkshire’s laundry has been washed in a very public fashion, the game beneath the top level gives cause to rejoice. Far from being disheartened, cricket at grassroots level is full of tales of ambition, generosity and individuals overcoming the odds. It’s these stories which are the foundation for a flourishing game.

Last week the Yorkshire Cricket Board hosted its Grassroots Cricket Awards night at Headingley – an event which had been postponed due to the pandemic but shines a light on inspirational stories within the game.

Tayaba Parveen was recognized for driving the growth of women’s cricket in Bradford. Establishing the Bradford Jaguars during the pandemic – a team for female students.

16 year old Mollie Ovenden is a talented young cricketer, who not only captains the ladies team at Alne in North Yorkshire but is also the vice-captain of the men’s 2nd XI at Raskelf CC.

There were examples of dedication throughout the county. Individuals without whom, clubs would struggle to operate. Adam Hutchinson at Wykeham CC near Scarborough is one such individual. He’s the 2nd team captain but when he’s not playing, he’s overseeing the running of the clubs’ junior section and when he’s not doing that, he is devising new ways to raise funds and maintain the day to day running of the club. His work was recognized with the Outstanding Contribution to Coaching Award.

The message throughout the night was overwhelming. Cricket is a game which bridges divides, creates friendships, and provides enjoyment. Clubs which act as focal points for local communities and prove that the game is alive and well across all age groups and genders. A game which gives cause for hope and enjoyment across the county. Fueled by the dedication of individuals like Luke Brooksby, who embraced technology at Illingworth CC and won the Cricket Innovator award after footage of games he streamed was seen by over 14 million people, worldwide!

Then there were examples of the impact coaches can have on young people just discovering the game. Some, such as Rehan Mir, working in cities where football dominates. Rehan’s work at Sheffield United CC where he coaches school children, women’s and girl’s groups and raises funds for an orphanage for disadvantaged youngsters was recognized with the Numan Shabbir Syed award for services to diverse communities.

It was a heartening evening ahead of a summer which appears to be full of promise. An opportunity to recognize unsung heroes and highlight the great work which often goes unheralded at a grassroots level. A reminder, as summer approaches, that beneath the surface, the game in White Rose county, is about to head into full bloom.

2021 YCB Awards List:


Brian & Shirley Hobson Award for connecting Communities:

Jacob Kalapurakal – Leeds Premier League


Maurice Young Coach of the Year:

Ghulan Rafique – New Rover CC

Tom Shaw – Alwoodley CC


Barbara Hare Award for Developing Women’s Cricket:

Tayaba Parveen – Bradford Jaguars


Cricket Innovator Award:

Luke Brooksby – Illingworth CC


Lawrence Walker Award for Growing the Game:

Adrianna Darlow – Sessay CC


Numan Shabbir Syed Award for Services to Diverse Communities:

Rehan Mir


Services to Coach Development Award:

John Lazenby – Wickersley CC


George Weah Unsung Hero Award:

Don Winspear – Knaresborough CC


Game Changer Award:

Ithikash Arun – Sheffield Super kings


Young Coach of the Year:

Nathan Law – Redcar CC


Disability Cricket Award:

Ji Muckerjee – Skipton CC


Francesca Anoble Memorial Rising Star:

Mollie Ovenden – Alne Ladies & Raskelf CC


Groundsmanship Award:

Andy Fortis – Moorlands CC


Brian Stone Inspired to Play Award:

David Willey – East Harlsey


Ralph Pritchard Scoring Award:

Kevan Goldsby-West – Wombwell CC


Outstanding Contribution to Coaching:

Adam Hutchinson – Wykeham CC


Umpiring Award:

Lee Peters – Birstall CC


YCB Lifetime Achievement Award:

Keith Blagg – Sutton CC

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