Yorkshire’s ground staff team have been celebrated at the 2023 Grounds Manager of the Year Awards.
Richard Robinson, Yorkshire’s head of grounds, was recognised for his first Test Match during the Men’s Ashes summer which resulted in a memorable match at Headingley.
The awards also celebrated the career of Andy Fogarty who retired as Head Grounds Manager at Headingley before the 2023 season.
Fogarty was presented with a signed and framed England shirt by the other Grounds Managers, and was given a standing ovation, following a 40-year career that saw him win the Bernard Flack Memorial Trophy on four occasions and was a seven-time One-Day Award winner.
The event also celebrated the success of the all-female ground staff who produced the pitch for the England Women’s Ashes T20 at Edgbaston in July.
Yorkshire’s Jasmine Nicholls was part of the ground-breaking team – led by Gloucestershire Head Grounds Manager Meg Lay – alongside a number of professional female groundstaff from across the country.
Scarborough’s John Dodds won the Outground pitches trophy.
ECB Pitch and Grounds Advisor, Andy Mackay, said: “The standard of pitches in white and red-ball cricket continues to be very high overall and the competition for the top spots is exceedingly tough. The award winners deserve this recognition for the consistently outstanding pitches they have produced during the summer.
“The dedication, sacrifice and commitment of all of the grounds managers is beyond reproach and it is great that we can get everyone together to recognise the contribution they make to the game and to celebrate their successes.
“Yet again, every venue’s grounds teams have given their all to deliver pitches and facilities that allow the players to put on a thrilling spectacle for all of the fans who attended cricket this summer.”
The recognition is of no surprise to Yorkshire coach Ottis Gibson, who has paid his own tribute to Robinson and his team.
“Richard Robinson coming in, the pitches we’ve played on this year have been fantastic,” said the Bajan.
“I got lots and lots of messages, firstly about the Test pitch – what sort of pitch will it be, what will it do? I said, ‘The pitch here at Headingley will be fantastic’.
“He has been producing great pitches for us to play on.
“Then, after the Test Match, I was getting text messages from Paul Collingwood, Stuart Broad and all those guys saying, ‘What a fantastic pitch that was’.
“People I know from Australia were also saying, ‘Wow, that’s a fantastic pitch. Do you guys playing on pitches like that all year?’ I said, ‘Yes, every day’.
“He’s left a lot more grass on which has helped the ball carry through.
“In that Test, I think there were something like 10 catches caught in the slips.
“Some of these pitches are the best in the country.
“When you go away from here, you play at Scarborough and the pitches there are also fantastic.
“We have great practices facilities and the pitches are great. There are no excuses if you are playing your cricket here not to excel.”
Full list of awards winners:
Bernard Flack Memorial Trophy (Multi-Day pitches)
Winner: Lee Fortis (Kia Oval)
Runner-up: Matt Merchant (Emirates Old Trafford)
Commendation: Vic Demain (Seat Unique Riverside)
Winner: Lee Fortis (Kia Oval)
Runner-up: Richard Robinson (Headingley)
Commendations: Karl McDermott (Lord’s), Adrian Llong (The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury)
First Test Match Recognition Awards:
Richard Robinson, Headingley; England Men v Australia, 2023
Simon Tremlett, Wormsley Cricket Ground; England Women vs Australia 2013
Sean Williams, Seat Unique Bristol; England Women vs India 2021
Scott Hawkins, Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton; England Women vs South Africa
Outground Pitches Award:
Winner: John Dodds (Scarborough CC)
Runner-up: Josh Marden (Beckenham)
Commendation: Nick Johnson (Blackpool CC)