The winners of the 2007 Cricket World Groundsman of the Year Awards were announced at a presentation ceremony at Lord's Cricket Ground in London earlier this week.
The awards, hosted by Cricket World Magazine and sponsored by Pitchcare.com, came under four categories: School and College, Local Authority, Cricket Club and European grounds.
The European Groundsman of the Year title went to Karl McDermott of Clontarf CC in Ireland, who made the journey across the Irish Sea to pick up his award. McDermott's success comes after more than 16 years commitment to the club where he spends hundreds of hours tending his beloved ground which has 14 wickets required to host over 100 matches in a season.
McDermott was presented with his well-deserved award by ICC European Development Manager, Richard Holdsworth who has witnessed the top
groundsman's achievements at Clontarf first-hand this season in hosting the Ireland v West Indies ODI.
Holdsworth said, "It is a pleasure for me to present Karl with this award. The dedication and commitment that he gives to Clontarf Cricket Club are second to none.
"The improvements made to the ground during his time at the club have not only brought the pitch up to the ICC's stringent playing standards for hosting One Day Internationals, but have made the ground and its facilities more enjoyable for both players and spectators alike."
The improvements that Karl has brought to the cricket club include a new drainage system around the square, renewal of all the grounds equipment, installation of an artificial pitch and the additional of an electronic scoreboard.
Another fanatical groundsman and the runner up of the European award is Ian Vauntier, who for the past 32 years has looked after the Grainville Playing Fields in Jersey. Like McDermott, Vauntier dedicates his life to maintaining and improving the ground so that visitors will go away impressed.
Richard Holdsworth added "I am pleased that both Karl and Ian's hard work has been recognized with these awards. These two dedicated men stand as shining examples of the challenging work that must be done behind the scenes to enable so many cricketers to enjoy this great game."
The winners were selected by Laurence Gale of PitchCare.com who said that judging the awards was an extremely rewarding experience.
"Whilst judging the awards I had the opportunity to meet many dedicated groundsmen at their inspiring venues and it gave me the opportunity to see a wide range of skills, knowledge and experience being put into practice." Gale also said that selecting the four winners from the twenty finalists
was a far from easy task. "How do you compare a ground that has everything - plenty of resources, machinery and staff, to one that is managed by volunteers with little or no equipment?
"I believe it's about the Groundsman himself and what he brings to the table in terms of commitment, enthusiasm and guile along with the ability to get things done with the resources he has at hand. Above all he must produce a playing surface that is both safe and consistent, while at the same time promotes the game of cricket."
The Groundsman of the Year Awards 2007
School and College
1. George Alexander, Tonbridge School
2. Mike Rutherford Framling College
3. Ian Smith, St Albans School
1. Simon Lawrence, Colchester and East Essex CC
2. Gordon Gill, Westbury and District CC
3. Glyn Dobbs and Ivor Parry, Borough of Blaenow Gwent
1. Paul Tatton, Haydock CC
2. Andrew Clarke, Shenley CC
3. John Lawrence Plymouth CC
1. Karl McDermott, Clontarf CC (Ireland)
2. Ian Vauntier, Grainville Playing Fields, (Jersey)
For further information on the awards and details of the winners and runners-up please visit the Cricket World Groundmanship pages:
ICC Regional Development Manager - Europe
ICC Europe Office
Tel: +44 (0)207 616 8637
Fax: +44 (0)207 616 8634
Mob: +44 (0)7867 904916
Cricket World® and Pitchcare.com would like to thank all our sponsors for supporting these awards. These awards have been designed to raise the profile of the Groundsman and are also in recognition of their hard work and dedication on behalf of their clubs.
ICC European www.ecc-cricket.com Tel: +44 (0)207 616 8637
John Deere www.johndeere.co.uk (01949) 860491
Lloyds of Letchworth www.lloydsandco.com (01462) 683031
Ransomes www.ransomesjacobsen.com (01473) 270000
Sisis Equipment (Macclesfield) www.sisis.com (01625) 503030
Groundsman Industries www.groundsmansindustries.com
Synergy Products www.synergyproducts.ltd.uk (01380) 828337
C.H. Binder www.binderloams.co.uk (01277) 890246
Goundrey's firstname.lastname@example.org 0870 242 1090
Flicx UK www.flicx.com 07900 883630
Tildenet www.tildenet.co.uk 0117 966 9684
JMS Cricket www.jmscricket.com (01535) 604777
Dennis www.dennisuk.com (01332) 824777
Stuart Canvas www.stuartcanvas.co.uk/ 01925 814525
Notts Sport www.nottssport.co.uk/ 0116 272 0222.