News and Events


May 8th 2014 will see the return of the Tom Maynard Ball to the Kia Oval in London, home of Surrey County Cricket Club.

The event, now in its second year, is held in support of the Tom Maynard Trust. The Trust, set up in the summer of 2013 following Tom’s tragic death, focuses its work on four areas; grants that support aspiring young sportsmen and women, education and awareness for athletes making their way in sport, the Tom Maynard Academy in which emerging county cricket professionals benefit from specialist technical and conditioning work, and finally the Millfield School Scholarship which supports one, bright, young talent through their education and training at the prestigious sporting school.

Last year’s event raised over £50,000 and the Trust are hoping to better that this year. Not only does the evening treat guests to a champagne and cocktail reception followed by a superb three-course meal, there is also a host of international sports stars on hand to make it even more spectacular.

This year’s dinner will see broadcaster John Inverdale hosting once again, with guests ranging from Olympic Gold-Medallists Peter Wilson and Duncan Goodhew, to England Rugby stars Chris Robshaw and Danny Cipriani, to cricket legends Michael Vaughan and Darren Gough. It really is set to be an unmissable evening.

Robshaw, England Rugby Captain and Old Millfieldian said: “Tom was an exceptional sportsman and his passing was a huge loss to the sports‐world and to his friends and family. Providing under-privileged and talented children with the opportunities he received was very close to his heart, and I fully support this great cause.”

The money raised last year has gone on to support [insert name here] on his journey to becoming a professional cricketer. [Insert a little bit about the scholar here], and he will be starting his journey through Millfield School from September.

Alec Stewart OBE, former Captain of the England Cricket team has said of Tom and the Trust: “The loss of Tom was a huge tragedy to all that had met him, from his family to his friends and to everyone in the cricketing world. Tom was not just a very promising cricketer but a good lad too who always walked around the club with a smile on his face.“

”Tom joined us before the 2011 season and quickly became a very popular member of the squad. His cricket was developing very nicely I strongly believe that he had the chance to develop with Surrey and progress to the England ranks.”

“Raising money for the Tom Maynard scholarship is a fantastic cause and I hope it is supported in the most generous of ways.”

To book your place to the Tom Maynard Dinner, support the Trust and give a promising cricketer the opportunity to reach their potential, please call Darren Clayton on 07785 575455.

For more information on the event and the Tom Maynard scholarship, please visit



There is to be a commemorative/funeral service for PETER LAKER, former cricket correspondent of The Mirror, on Friday, 11th April starting at 11:00 a.m. in Lewes. Please make your way to:-

St Anne's Church
St Anne's Crescent
East Sussex

A cremation has taken place, but the family want this service to be in the form of a funeral, combined with thanksgiving for his life & work.




This is confirm date, place & time for the 2014 Annual General Meeting. The Meeting will be held on Thursday, 24th April in the Writing Room at Lord’s, starting at 3.00.

The preceding Committee Meeting will start at 12.30.

Should you arrive early for the AGM, you may wait in the Long Room Bar, where tea & coffee will be available for you.

Please send any items for the Agenda of either Meeting as soon as possible to Julian Guyer. Proposals for new Members should also be sent to Julian.

Remember that new Members can only be voted in at Committee Meetings and must be proposed & seconded in the correct manner.

It is not permitted to call out names from the floor

Please do try to come along, not least to thank the out-going Chairman and to welcome the in-coming one.


PETER LAKER 1926-2014.

Press boxes are not what they used to be. The thought came forcibly to mind with the news that Peter Laker, the former cricket correspondent of the Daily Mirror, had died suddenly at his Somerset home at the age of 87. They were places of fun and laughter as well as work in the days before mobile phones and laptops, blogs and tweets, and Peter was the leading prankster until the time came to roll himself a fag and settle down to write a colourful back page lead plus a well-informed, well-constructed match report of 1,000 words or more.

He certainly knew his cricket, having played two County Championship matches for Sussex as a right-hand batsman and leg-spin bowler in 1948 and 1949 and hundreds, probably thousands, more for Lewes Priory Cricket Club where he was still turning out, alongside his grandson, in his seventies.

He had moved to Lewes, where he also played football for the local club, in the 1930's when his parents took over the Pelham Arms and was a consummate all-round sportsman, well-versed in all the pub games like darts and dominoes, shove halfpenny and crib, which served him well on those long overseas tours during his 25 years as the Mirror's correspondent.

It was as a practical joker, however, that those of us who were in the Press box in the seventies and eighties remember him with warmth, affection -and the occasional shudder.

Wendy Wimbush, the long-serving Cricket Writers’ Club treasurer, who was there as a scorer and statistician, recalls the pranks he played, often in collusion with Basil Easterbrook, his partner in crime, who once declared a Surrey innings closed by waving a piece of paper out of the Press box window after sharpening his pencil on it.

“No doubt he and Basil are already plotting their next trick,” she said, remembering how Jack Fingleton, the old Australia batsman who wrote for the Sunday Times, and Dick Williamson, the legendary Yorkshire freelance, would look around for Peter, suspecting another hoax whenever the phone rang at the back of the box.

Fingo , who was once summoned downstairs to meet "a lady admirer" only to find it was Laker in disguise, did take revenge by getting Peter out of bed in the early hours of the morning with a call from Australia and the greeting: “Is that you, Laker, you bastard?”

He was not the only victim to use that expression. When Cornhill were sponsoring Test cricket, they used to stimulate the creative juices by serving a glass or two of wine as writing-up time was approaching.

One day Peter , noticing that John Arlott was still enjoying his customary afternoon nap, swapped the vintage claret he always had at his elbow for a glass of the sponsor’s product. John woke up with a start, took a swig, spat out the inferior wine and bellowed: “Where's that bloody Laker.”

Another time, Peter rang Dick Williamson, pretending to be a council official from Bradford handling a complaint from a neighbour that Dick had left a stinking sack of fish heads in his garden. Laker was a picture of innocence as Dick raged at the accusation.

As a rare woman in the box, Wendy was a natural target and assumed that Peter was up to his old tricks when he approached her as she was enjoying an ice cream during the tea interval on a sunny day at the Oval.

“Oh Wimbers,” he said, ”you'd better get upstairs as quick as you can. Somebody has knocked a glass of wine over your scoresheets.”

A likely story, she thought, as she dashed upstairs expecting to see his beaming face as she fell for yet another of his jokes. Only this time it was true. The sloping desks in the old Press box had claimed another victim and she had to borrow a hair drier from the office to rescue the now pale pink papers.

As she says: “Far off times and far off memories of some wonderful people.”

Pat Gibson, Chairman, CWC.



Great news for CWC Members!

Blomsbury Publishing is offering a special discount to CWC Members for this year’s Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack ‐ and for other titles published in the last six months.

The offers for Wisden 2014 are as follows:-

  ISBN No RRP CWC Price plus postage **
Hardback    9781408175682 50.00 27.00
Soft cover 9781408175668 50.00 27.00
Large Format 9781408175675 60.00 35.00

Other titles available:-

Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2014 (paperback) 9781408194737 9.99 5.00
Wisden Cricketers of the Year 9781408140840 40.00 27.00
The Essential Wisden (Anthology of 150 editions) 9781408178966 50.00 32.00
Wisden India Almanack 9789382951810 25.00 19.00
The Little Wonder (History of Wisden) (paperback) 9781408846747 9.99 7.50
The Great Tamasha (paperback) 9781408158777 9.99 7.50

** Postage

To a UK address is 3.00 per book Overseas is 7.50 per book (5.00 to EC country)

Maximum postage per order (regardless of how many copies) UK 6.00, EC 12.00, Overseas 18.00

To take advantage of this offer, proceed as follows:-

Telephone MACMILLAN WISDEN DIRECT on 01256 302685
Quote reference GLR 9YX


Freelance Cricket Writer & Broadcaster

Played for Sindh, South Zone & Hyderabad in First&dashClass cricket as a left‐arm spinner and a right‐handed batsman from 1956‐57 to 1963‐64. First‐Class debut for Sindh v Karachi Whites at Hyderabad (Pak) in 1956‐57. Led Hyderabad (Pak) in First‐Class cricket and Sind University in inter‐varsity matches. Coached in Holland top club teams Hermes DVS and Excelsior (1976 & 1977).

Played in press & media matches for Pakistan, India, England, Australia, New Zealand and West Indies.

From 1974 onwards reported on 399 Tests 732 ODIs and first eight World Cups.

Third and final Test v Sri Lanka from January 16‐2014 at Sharjah will be my 400th Test as a reporter. My 300 was at Cape Town South Africa v Pakistan in 2002.

Only Richie Benaud and John Woodcock of The Times are reported to have seen over 400 Tests.

Reported Tests and One‐Day matches for Dawn (Pak), The Times of India, The Times(London), The Daily Telegraph(London), The Guardian(London) and UK papers, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Mail‐on Sunday, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times. The Observer, Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac. Wisden Australia, Cricket Annual South Africa. The Nation & The Advocate(Barbados), BBC Urdu, Hindi and English services, for news agencies Reuters, AFP, AAP, CANA, The Cricketer (Pak), The Cricketer International, Wisden Cricket Monthly, Australian Cricket, Indian Cricketer. Sportsweek (India) For West Indies Benson & Hedges Cricket annual. For Jonathan Agnews Cricket Annuals. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Cricket Year Book

Contributed in the Sunday Age (Australia), The Hindu (India), Daily News (Sri Lanka), The Star and The Sunday Times (South Africa), New Zealand Herald & The Dominion (New Zealand). The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Commentator for BBC (Urdu, Hindi & English) & BBC Five Live Extra, ABC (Aus), SABC (Radio and TV South Africa), TVNZ (Television New Zealand World Cup 1992), ESPN, Ten Sports, Radio Pakistan, All India Radio, Caribbean Broadcasting Corp. Hum FM 106.2 (Pakistan).

Books: Testing Times (Pak v Ind 1981/ 2 series in Pakistan), Showdown (Pak tour of West Indies (1993), Ghosted ‘Playing for Pakistan’, Autobiography of Hanif Mohammad and ‘For Cricket and Country’ Autobiography of Waqar Hasan. Editor Pakistan Book of Cricket (Annuals‐ 1976 to 1998).

Contributed in the book about cricket grounds of the world, ‘Ground Rules’.(Published London). Wrote brief biographies of Pakistan cricketers in the first ever Oxford Dictionary on cricket ‘World Cricket’ A biographical dictionary of cricket (published in UK).Wrote ‘Golden Greats of Pakistan Cricket’.

Made Honorary Life Member of the Cricket Writers’ Club (England) in 2011.

Test debut as reporter: Eng v Pakistan, Lord’s 1974. There was no fax no email when he started, only Telex.

Important events covered in Tests:

Umpiring controversy: Shakoor Rana, Mike Gatting affair‐Faisalabad 1987.

Covered six triple centuries in Tests, Graham Gooch‐Lord’s v India 333 1990, Mark Taylor‐Peshawar v Pakistan 334, 1998, Inzamam‐ul‐Haq 329 v New Zealand, Lahore 2002, Virendar Sehwag 309 at Multan v Pakistan 2004, Younis Khan 313 at Karachi‐2009, Hashim Amla 311* at The Oval (2012.)

Watched Bobby Simpson 311 at Old Trafford v England, John Edrich’s 310* v New Zealand at Headingley as spectator.

Covered 1000th Test cricket history‐Pak v NZ 1984 at Hyderabad Pakistan.

Covered 2000th Test of cricket history‐Eng v India at Lord’s 1911 (India’s 100th Test v Eng).

Covered first man to reach the landmark of 10,000 runs in Tests, Sunil Gavaskar at Ahmedabad v Pakistan in 1987.

Covered Anil Kumble take 10 wickets in an innings v Pakistan at Delhi.

Covered Richard Hadlee become first man to take 400 wickets in Tests at Christchurch‐1990 when he bowled Sanjay Manjrekar in the 1990 Test v India.

Covered Dennis Lillee, Greg Chappell, Rodney Marsh retirement Test v Pakistan in 1983 in Australia.

First forfeited Test of history at The Oval in 2010 England v Pakistan.

Pakistan’s first victory in a Test series in India and in England in 1987.

First ball wicket on debut in Test ‐Richard Illingworth at Trent‐Bridge v West Indies.

Great Tests: Pak v India‐Bangalore 1987 when Gavaskar scored 94 in the losing cause. One of the best Test innings on a treacherous wicket.

Pakistan’s win at Lord’s v England 1996, close game.

Great bowling: Bob Massie at Lord’s when he took 16 wickets in the Ashes Test.

Michael Holdings 14 wickets at The Oval in 1976 v England.

All major controversies like ball tampering, umpiring controversies, drug scandals, Packer affair and court case in London in 1977.

Test debuts of many cricketers between 1974 to date including greats like Javed Miandad, Waqar Younis, Inzamam, David Gower, Gooch, Kapil Dev, Tendulkar, Lara, Warne.

Covered Test matches from 59 venues out of 107.

Covered eight out of ten World Cups from 1975 to 2003.



Gerald's funeral will take place at Markeaton Crematorium in Derby (post code DE22 4NH) on Tuesday, January 14 at 10.20 am.



The death of Gerald Mortimer on December 30 at the age of 77 has robbed The Cricket Writers’ Club of another of its staunchest and most likable members.

For well over 30 years from 1970, Gerald extensively covered the fortunes of Derbyshire CCC for the Derby Evening Telegraph and was respected for his knowledge of the game ‐ and his acerbic wit ‐ by Press Box colleagues around the country.

But county cricket was not his only forte because he was also the newspaper’s Derby County correspondent over a similar period and few provincial sports journalists could ever claim to write as authoritatively as Gerald on both the summer and winter games.

From the mid‐70s until his retirement at the end of the 2001 season, I shared cricket Press Boxes with Gerald whenever and wherever Yorkshire were playing Derbyshire and I have treasured memories of those days.

The travelling Yorkshire Press contingent could, I would imagine, be a little overpowering in some of those Press Boxes where they outnumbered the home county’s cricket reporters, but this was never the case on our visits to Derbyshire where we got as good as we gave.

Gerald was backed up over the years by the likes of Mike (Henry Bevington) Carey, Neil (Inti) Hallam and Nigel Gardner, all top‐notch sports journalists ‐ and all capable of listening intently to a Press Box story from one of the Yorkies before capping it with one of their own.

Educated at Repton School and Oxford University, Gerald joined the Derby Evening Telegraph after ten years in teaching, and from that moment on he was totally committed to his new job and he warmly welcomed writers to the Derby Press Boxes, provided they were full‐timers, kept proper records and offered bits of information as well as receiving them.

Gerald got on particularly well on his visits to the Broad Acres with Dick Williamson, the legendary doyen of the Yorkshire Boxes, and whenever I was covering a Yorkshire match in Derbyshire I made sure I went armed with the latest Williamson story to inflict upon my colleagues. Neil Hallam always said he had never actually met Williamson but somehow felt he had known him for years!

And whenever I think of Gerald, I always think also of sponsors in suits. Nothing irritated him more than for play to held up because a smartly dressed chap, looking a bit bewildered, had wandered across the sightscreen at the bowler’s end. “Sponsors!” Gerald would splutter while at the same time tapping a Gold Leaf cigarette on the back of the pack and pouring tea from his flask into a china cup.

David Warner, President, Cricket Writers' Club



ECB today announced the winners of the third annual County Cricket Journalism Awards which recognises outstanding contributions towards the coverage of domestic cricket during the County season.

Charlie Talbot‐Smith, who works for the Sportsbeat press agency and is a regular contributor to The Cricket Paper, was named Christopher Martin‐Jenkins Young Journalist of the Year. He receives a 5,000 scholarship supported by The Times to report on an overseas cricket event preferably involving County teams.

Scott Read who reports on county cricket for BBC Radio Manchester and BBC Radio Lancashire was named as the inaugural winner of the Christopher Martin‐Jenkins Young Broadcaster of the Year award.

Both individual awards have been named in honour of the former BBC Radio Test Match Special commentator and ex‐Times and Daily Telegraph cricket correspondent who died earlier this year.

The Cricket Paper won the National Newspaper of the Year award for the first time with The Derby Telegraph taking the Regional Newspaper of the Year Award and ESPN Cricinfo receiving the Online Publication award for the second year in a row.

The Yorkshire Post received the Special Award in recognition of its supplements to mark Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s 150th anniversary and its ongoing support for the county game.

The full list of winners:

Christopher Martin‐Jenkins Young Journalist of the Year: Charlie Talbot Smith. Commended: David Jordan, Vithushan Ehantharajah
Christopher Martin‐Jenkins Young Broadcaster of the Year: Scott Read. Commended: Will Atkins
National Newspaper of the Year: The Cricket Paper
Online Publication of the Year: ESPN Cricinfo
Regional Newspaper of the Year: The Derby Telegraph. Commended: The Sunday Independent
Special Award for Outstanding Innovation and Support of County Cricket: The Yorkshire Post

The judging of the awards was conducted by a four‐strong panel comprising the Chairman of the Cricket Writers” Club, Pat Gibson, BBC Radio reporter Kevin Howells, Paul Bolton who covers county cricket regularly for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, and ECB Chief Executive David Collier.

The awards were presented to the winners today by ECB Chief Executive David Collier as part of an official reception hosted by the Lord’s Taverners for this year’s LV=County Championship title winners, Durham.

The winners accompanied the Women’s County Champions, Sussex, to Buckingham Palace for the annual presentation of the trophies by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who is Patron and ‘Twelfth Man’ of the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity.

ECB Chief Executive David Collier said: “In a year which has seen the sad loss of one of the game’s greatest ever broadcasters and writers, Christopher Martin‐Jenkins, we would like to thank his widow Judy for allowing both individual awards to be re‐named in ‘CMJ’s’ honour. We also thank The Times for their support for this initiative and our distinguished panel of judges for undertaking the difficult task of nominating winners from another strong field of entries for these awards.”

Chairman of the Cricket Writers’ Club Pat Gibson added: “The awards are designed to recognise outstanding coverage of county cricket and there was no doubt that The Cricket Paper produced the most comprehensive, consistent coverage at every level of the domestic game in 2013.

“The Cricket Paper also provided two of the three outstanding entries for the Christopher Martin‐Jenkins Young Journalist of the Year award in Charlie Talbot‐Smith and David Jordan, last year's winner, in a strong field which bodes well for the future of cricket writing”.

“The Derby Telegraph was rewarded for finding a way to present exemplary coverage of county cricket at home and away in a harsh economic climate for provincial papers while The Yorkshire Post, winner of the first two regional awards, deserved a special trophy for its continued excellence and, in particular, its supplements to mark Yorkshire's 150th anniversary.”

For further information contact ECB Marcomms Department ‐ ‐ 02074321200 For images of today’s presentations, please contact: James Gillson at the Lord’s D/L: 020 7821 2803



Mark Baldwin is helping to distribute David Green's autobiographical book, 'A Handful of Confetti', which was published privately earlier this year and is only available by mail order and at a number of selected sale points (eg Gloucestershire CCC shop and through Malcolm Lorimer at Lancashire CCC). Greeny would like to offer any CWC members who have not yet begged, bought or half‐inched a copy the chance to purchase one at a discounted rate by emailing their order to and/or sending either Mark or David Green a cheque (made payable to D M Green) for 11.50 (which also covers P&P). The book is full of reminiscence and an often irreverent humour about a long sporting life in cricket and rugby, initially as a player with Oxford University, Lancashire and Gloucestershire in cricket and Sale and Bristol in senior rugby, and latterly as a cricket and rugby writer with the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph.



Members and guests much enjoyed the 67th annual gathering of the club on Monday September 30, which was again held at the Plaisterers’ Hall in London Wall. More than 200 diners attended an initial drinks reception, followed by a superb three‐course lunch enhanced by wines to accompany each course supplied by Laithwaite’s Wines. Two firkins of London Pride beer was also donated by Fuller’s Brewery, and the Cricket Writers’ Club would like to thank both Fuller’s and Laithwaite’s for their generous support of the event.

David Fulton, of Sky Sports, was an expert master of ceremonies and four CWC awards were made during the lunch. Jim Cumbes won the Peter Smith Award for services to the presentation of cricket to the public and received his award from Joan Smith. Wayne Madsen, the Derbyshire captain, was voted William Hill County Championship Player of the Year and received his award from John Lever, the former Essex and England fast bowler. Ben Stokes, of Durham, won the Young Cricketer of the Year Award and, as he was sadly not able to attend on the day, it was received on his behalf by Chris Old, the former Yorkshire and England fast‐bowling all‐rounder who was the 1970 winner of the award. Stephen Brenkley, chairman of the book award committee, presented a cheque to Charlotte Atyeo from Bloomsbury, publishers of The Great Tamasha by James Astill. And Mike Griffith, on his last day as president of MCC, presented Wayne Madsen with a magnum of champagne for winning the inaugural Christopher Martin‐Jenkins Spirit of Cricket Award..

Pat Gibson, the chairman of the Cricket Writers’ Club, made a well‐received ’keynote’ speech which has been reported in full in The Cricket Paper.




The season is over, sadly, but here is something to exercise the minds of Members who are not too busy with overseas tours etc in the coming months.

MCC has invited The Cricket Writers’ Club to participate in one of the initiatives they are planning as part of the celebrations for the Bicentenary of Lord’s next year.

They want to engage cricket enthusiasts by encouraging an online vote to discover what is considered to be the best match ever played at Lord’s and the best individual performances at the ground. These can be any game or performance in any format, be they in men’s or women’s cricket, amateur or professional.

MCC would be very grateful for nominations to come from CWC because they believe that, collectively, our Members will have the greatest range and depth of knowledge about the cricket played at Lord’s over 200 years. They will also be asking for suggestions elsewhere (eg MCC Members), but envisage that most of the nominations will come from us.

To enable the voters to come to considered decisions, they are asking for nominations in any category, of between 300 and 500 words. These should be submitted to MCC via a special address ‐ ‐ between 1st October and 31st December, 2013. The MCC judging panel will collate the results and publish one nomination a week on the Lord’s website throughout the first half of 2014.

They will then invite online votes in the run up to the men’s MCC v Rest of the World limited‐overs international to be played at Lord’s in July. The winners of the online poll will be announced at a pre‐match Dinner.

It promises to be a great occasion and all CWC Members who submit a nomination will be entered into a draw for three pairs of tickets.

Pat Gibson
Chairman, CWC
10th September, 2013



I doubled up to attend the unveiling of the plaque for Eric Hill, who worked for seventy years as a journalist and broadcaster, played for the county and was a WW11 hero (being awarded the DFC and DFM), and also saw the latest plans for Somerset CCC media centre. There were a dozen members who went to the function, followed by lunch and there were two outstanding speeches from Richard Latham and Chairman Pat Gibson. Eric was 87 and one of his finest achievements was to locate Tirpitz in a fjord in Norway to photograph it while his Mosquito was under constant attack from German aircraft.

Guy Lavender, Somerset’s CEO, is one of the new breed of CEOs in cricket ‐ young, fit looking and full of energy and ideas. A former Army officer, he has a similar background to Richard Gould, his predecessor. Guy showed me the new plans and they look very impressive. The idea of having a hotel or corporate rooms which could house a temporary press box has been dropped. For the first time since I have been doing this job the print media press box is going to be at the top, above the Sky floor. Sky reckoned it would be too high for their camera angles. It won’t be too high for us ‐ ideal in fact.

There will be a 35 seat press box on one side, a permanent structure, and when an ODI or a big event is planned, three biggish rooms will be opened up for the print media. Between the floors, they intend to have an open air area which their members can use for drinks etc, similar to the new one at the pavilion of Lord’s.

The Media Centre is behind the arm on the same side of the old press box and sun may pose problems but at that height, there should be no problems about people moving around in the box. David Lloyd ‐ ours, not Sky’s ‐ raised the point about Wi‐Fi not being perfect in the old press box but Sally Donoghue, the Operations Manager, thought there were no problems when thirty Australian journalists covered their match. That’s a point to take up when we meet Guy next season.

Incidentally, Somerset now has one of the best cricket museums, housed in one of Taunton’s oldest buildings. A member left them a lot of money and they have refurbished it and are building up an interesting stock of memorabilia.

At the time of writing Somerset face being relegated but they will press on their redevelopment regardless.

By Brian Scovell, Chairman of CWC Facilities Committee



After Bristol City Council approved the redevelopment in 2010, the club announced that the work would be competed in May 2013. But changes concerning the building of the 147 flats delayed the work on Part One and Tom Richardson, the club’s secretary, invited me to see the new pavilion costing 4m which houses the media centre.

It looks good. It is behind the arm and the press box which is above the players’ accommodation is at an optimum height, not too high and not too low. They are using the same method at the Ageas Bowl. The high ceilinged room is going to be used normally for functions but with international matches five rows of twenty seats will be put up, ensuring that everyone has a proper view of the whole of the ground. In front, there are 175 seats outside, presumably to be used for corporates outside of big matches.

With the sun coming from the rear there will be no problem about glare. Unlike Sophia Gardens, there won’t be any struts to block anyone’s viewing because they are using thin ones. Asked about the risk of broken windows, Peter Hall, the Ground Operations Manager, said "There are hundreds of windows from the flats as well as those in the media centre and the pavilion and the builders say they used toughened glass to withstand being hit by a ball but cannot guarantee a window or two might be broken."

Wi‐Fi and cable is being installed and two TV screens have been placed on either side. I pointed out that the screens need to be higher, not ground level, and also several could be put along the top of the windows (viz Lord’s except the locals will be able to see what is going on unlike Lord’s). The adequately sized media room is at the rear and it will be used for meals and refreshments ‐ served from a kitchen alongside and from a bar ‐ and it will double up with for interviewing purposes later in the day. The players come up from the stairs on the right straight into the room. Two lifts are in close proximity and the day before I came one broke down, was repaired and then broke down again. "Teething problems" said Peter. Three toilets are close by.

There are three reasonably sized studios for radio purposes and for normal county matches one will be used for the written press. I reminded Peter that lockers are needed, also hangers, and he said he would make a note of it. As for parking they will have around 400 spaces, much of it coming from the former orphans’ building, now a College, on the right. The ECB usually reserve 60‐70 for the press for international matches. Gloucestershire are aiming to stage a match in the 2019 World Cup and compete to stage other ODIs earlier. Next Tuesday (August 20) England Lions take on Bangladesh in an ODI and they don’t to be deluged with applications for press passes. So far the club have yet to install floodlights but they probably will in a year or two.

The capacity will eventually be 17,000, with slightly more than half of it being temporary accommodation. Incidentally, Tom Richardson is about to retire. Will Brown of Bet Fair is taking over as CEO.



Mike Atherton used to complain about the glare of the sun and about movement in the old Red Rose press box and he was one of the many who raved about the new press facilities at revamped Old Trafford. Most critics wrote laudatory pieces about them and except for one, none of them found a fault.

The exception was our good friend Jim Maxwell. “Everything is fine,” he said, “but I can’t see the scoreboard!” There is a truncated scoreboard/cum advertising construction down at deep mid wicket from the press box and you had to agree, he had a point. Geoff Durbin, Lancashire’s Operations Manager, said “The ECB wanted to use that place to advertise Investic, the sponsors. When more development takes place, there should be another one.” The existing scoreboard, on the far right, just peeps out above the stand but most of the main information is hidden from the well designed press box which has 114 spacious working spaces.

The press box is at a good, optimum height, not too high (Lord’s and Edgbaston suffer from that) and not too low (the Oval).

Geoff did several national TV and radio interviews and his beaming face reflected the joy of everyone involved in rescuing Old Trafford from the threat of losing Test matches. He was particularly pleased to hear Gary Neville say to TMS’s Jonathan Agnew “where I’m sitting here is better than the commentating seats I have in football matches.”

Doors on either side open to let in fresh air, which is a rarity in English Test match grounds. Another good point is that you step out of the glass doors across to the media room where lunch and tea is served before it is turned into the interview room. In the toilets, they’ve used quotes from famous cricket writers on a wall to while away a few minutes. Martin Johnson, of “can’t bat, can’t bowl, can’t field” fame, was somewhat taken aback to be one of the names used.

The large lifts are fast and efficient and we were greeted by smiling attendants to show us to our seats. The contrast with the moneybags big clubs of the Premier League was stark. The food was better as well and after the tea interval ice cream, made by a company in Buckinghamshire, was served at your position. Arsenal were the pioneers of serving ice cream but hardly any club followed their lead.

Lockers have yet to be installed but they will be.

Lancashire went through a number of crises when they embarked on their 45m refurburbishment and they teetered on the brink several times but everyone deserves the highest praise, particularly Jim Cumbes who never lost his sense of humour.

Chairman of the Cricket Writers’ Club Facilities Committee


David Warner is the new President

Following his installation by the Chairman, Pat Gibson, at the Annual General Meeting on Monday, 15th April, 2013, the new President of the Cricket Writers’ Club, David Warner, addressed the Meeting thus:-

Mr Chairman, fellow Members of the Cricket Writers’ Club

This is a tremendous honour which you have bestowed upon me. To follow directly in the footsteps of our much‐loved Christopher Martin‐Jenkins is the greatest privilege imaginable.

I think our Chairman will confirm that, when he range me with the invitation to become President, I was left totally stunned for a while. In all seriousness, it was a reaction which I feel would not have been experienced by any of the previous Presidents when they were first asked if they were prepared to stand.

Alan Gibson, Tony Lewis, Michael Melford, John Woodcock, Derek Hodgson, Robin Marlar and CM‐J were all men with international reputations already secured, men known wherever first‐class cricket is played in the world. They would have been immensely proud to become President, but I doubt whether they would have been rendered speechless, because they were obvious front‐line candidates for the role. As for myself, I think I can be likened to the winner of this year’s Grand National ‐ Aurora’s Encore ‐ an outsider choice but, nevertheless, trained in Yorkshire!

Apart from attending several of the Headingley Test Matches, the county scene has been my patch since I first started out as Yorkshire cricket correspondent for the Bradford Telegraph & Argus in 1975, along with the York Evening Press and the Northern Echo at Darlington. I would very much like to think ‐ in fact, I know ‐ that asking me to become your President recognizes the importance The Cricket Writers’ Club attaches to county cricket.

I just hope that newspapers around the land come to understand again that half‐empty grounds do not equate to a diminishing interest in the game. Indeed, the opposite is true. People who do not have the time to spend many days at county cricket want to be kept full‐informed as to what is going on.

It has been my good fortune to be acquainted to some degree or other with all your previous Presidents and with a good deal of your worthy Chairmen..... Gibbo, for instance, being a top writer on the game even when I first started out! I have shared laughter and Press Box anecdotes with so very many of you here today and I hope this will continue and that you will still regard me as “Plum”.

In closing, I was going to say that your Committee had no idea in nominating me for the Presidency jut how much the office would mean to me, but then I realized that this would be untrue and an unworthy suggestion. They know full well what it means to me and I thank you all. I will try not to let any of you down and I will try not to let CM‐J down. I will bring 100 per cent enthusiasm to this job‐ not 110 per cent, please note, or even 120 per cent. Just 100 per cent, no more and no less.
Thank you very much.

David Warner
President, CWC