SIX cricket volunteers from Devon will be guests of honour at Lord’s on Monday when the ECB/NatWest Oscas are handed out.
The Oscas – outstanding service to cricket awards – are the game’s way of saying thanks to the thousands of club volunteers who run teams, do the backrooom work at clubs, officiate in matches and organise competitions.
Devon had seven winners in the annual awards, including the late David Gidney from Chulmleigh & Mid-Devon CC.
The other six nominees are Tom Field, Bruce Coleman, John Goodwin, Mick Rusling, Elizabeth Webb and Dennis White.
Coleman, now 77, has had at least four careers and probably more since arriving in Exeter to lecture history at the university in the early 1970s.
He was a player for club and county, a had two stints as 1st XI captain, served as club treasurer from 1991-2015, secretary in 2013 and 2014 and has represented Exeter on the Devon League general committee for more than 20 years.
Coleman has also been a scorer and an umpire and was pressed into service last season to stand in 2nd XI games from time to time.
That’s just Coleman’s contribution to Exeter CC. Since joining the staff at the University of Exeter he has been an administrator and scorer for their teams too.
In 2014 he wrote a comprehensive history of cricket at the university – a labour of love by a man for whom cricket is his life.
Coleman was nominated cricket writer and website editor Conrad Sutcliffe, who said: “Clubs don’t work without ex-players like Bruce taking on roles after they put the gear in the loft permanently.”
Coleman has been put forward by Devon in the lifetime achiever category.
Goodwin, 64, has been nominated in the Cricketforce section of the awards, which recognise the work done by volunteers to keep their clubs spic-n-span.
Cricketforce is an annual initiative sponsored by NatWest that supports maintenance and improvement work at clubs.
Goodwin joined Sidmouth in 1981 when his work as a journalist brought him to Devon from Nottinghamshire. He moved away again from 1989-92, but the lure of the Fortfield proved too strong and he returned for good in 1993.
Past roles have included club secretary (1994-1999) and vice-chairman (2001-2002 and then chairman of the Devon League (2003-04).
Goodwin is now house and ground chairman having done numerous care and maintenance jobs over the past 15 years.
White, a former serviceman, joined Plymouth in 1990 as 2nd XI scorer, little realising he would become club chairman within five years.
Plymouth were in turmoil at the time, the 1st XI was dropping down the divisions and a long-running ground dispute was rumbling on, so there wasn’t a queue of people round corner for the job.
White helped out with groundwork when he wasn’t scoring for the 1st XI, a job he performed from 1991-2008.
He looked after the grounds between 1999 and 2008 and then 2014 to date. In between he helped Plympton CC with their ground as well.
The Devon League got White on board as a results secretary in 1996 – and 22 seasons later he is still in post.
White, now aged 70, is still as busy as ever collating results and statistics for the Devon League’s Play-Cricket scores website, in partnership with Sheila Harding of Topsham St James CC.
White’s nomination paper says: “Cricket is indebted to Dennis for the volunteer hours he has put in.
“His selfless work for the Devon Cricket League in the numerous roles he has undertaken deserves real thanks.”
Long distance commuter-coach Field is Devon’s nominee in the young volunteer category.
Field, 25, started his cricket journey at Stoke Gabriel and Paignton, followed by spells with Torquay and Paignton. He now plays for Twickenham.
The bowling all-rounder jointly holds the DCL Premier Division’s tenth-wicket partnership record of 106 unbroken with Stephen George for Paignton against North Devon and the Overton twins in 2010.
For the past five years Field has either been studying in Cardiff or working in London. Yet his commitment to youth coaching in Devon has not wavered.
He has recently started work at as an intensive care nurse at St George’s Hospital in London, the location for Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E programme.
Mick Rusling, the chairman of Dartington & Totnes CC, has been Osca nominated in the Heartbeat of the Club category.
At an age when most people start slowing down, he was 65 in April, Rusling is busier than ever at the club’s helm.
“Mick is the life and soul of the club,” said nominator Glenn Colegate.
“As the chairman he oversees every decision made within the committee and he never fails to get things done.
“There hasn't been a role that Mick hasn't done, captain, fixture secretary, umpire scorer, tea person and often all at the same time.
“Mick is the glue that holds everything together. If Mick gave up, Dartington & Totnes would grind to a halt.”
Liz Webb, who lives near Kingsbridge, has been nominated in the officiating category for her work as county youth scorer.
Sandy Allen, Devon’s new player-pathway manager, nominated Webb for her unstinting support of youth teams.
“Liz has been an integral part of the county age-group programme in Devon for the past 26 years,” said Allen.
“She has gone above and beyond in her role as scorer and has had an essential role in the management team and help develop the county cricketers in Devon and current First Class players.”
The late David Gidney died in March this year. He was only 54.
Gidney was a former captain of Chulmleigh & Mid-Devon CC, but was best known for his work as a coach, coach trainer and youth league administrator.
Clubs in Devon raised around £2,000 in 2015 to send Gidney to Cameroon as a member of a Cricket without Boundaries project.
Cricket without Boundaries takes a health message into communities in the developing world and links it to playing cricket.
Gidney has been nominated as Devon’s representative in the Get the Game On category of the awards.
Devon has had a number of successes at the Oscas over the years. Previous winners have included county coach Jon Mears (2005), umpire David Moseby and Axminster official Phil Spong (both 2007), Exmouth chairman Richard Butler (2009) and Thorverton’s Jock Spry (2015).