Bishop's Stortford coach Sam Howlett and Sawbridgeworth scorer Richard White win Hertfordshire cricket awards
The extraordinary efforts of two men totally dedicated to helping their clubs on and off the pitch have been recognised with county awards.
Bishop's Stortford coach Sam Howlett claimed the Game Changer prize at the Hertfordshire Cricket Grassroots Awards for his commitment to helping their youngsters achieve great success.
And Sawbridgeworth scorer Richard White bagged a Special Recognition Award from the Hertfordshire Association of Cricket Officials having scored an incredible 1,660 first-team matches.
Howlett has been a key member of Stortford's coaching team for a number of years and has developed an excellent relationship with the older juniors of all abilities.
This year, at his own request, he took on additional responsibilities to run the under-14A, under-14B, under-16, under-17, under-19 and junior development teams, helping players to prepare for the transition to adult cricket.
Howlett was the coach/umpire for 41 junior matches over the summer and clocked up 160 hours of coaching.
And his dedication paid off significantly as the under-14s made the Essex Trophy Final, the under-16s reached the Matchplay semi-finals, the under-17s won the Hertfordshire County Trophy and the under-19s only missed out on a semi-final spot because one game was rained off.
Stortford chairman Graeme Sumner said: "Sam is a credit to Bishop's Stortford Cricket Club and I am delighted he has received this fully merited award."
Iain Fletcher, chief executive of Hertfordshire Cricket Ltd, said: "We are recognising an incredibly talented, dedicated and passionate group of volunteers. All these volunteers have made a huge difference to their cricket clubs, leagues and the people around them.
"It is important we recognise their contribution to the recreational game, making cricket across Hertfordshire stronger as a result of their hard work."
Sawbo stalwart White made his scoring debut for the club in 1984 and only missed five games until being absent for pre-season this summer due to a stay in hospital.
His total of 1,660 games scored includes a run of 1,392 matches in a row from July 16, 1988 to the end of 2020.
White's run of consecutive league games has remained intact and currently stands at 616 – he was unavailable for the first fixture of the 2021 league campaign against Ampthill but it got rained off.
White has also scored regularly for Hertfordshire's senior sides – over-50s, over-60s and over-70s – down the years as well as the likes of Harlow, Sheering, Netteswell and Burnt Mill.
His greatest day in cricket has absolutely no connection with Sawbridgeworth, however; in May 2002 he was appointed by the BBC's Test Match Special to score its Radio 4 long wave coverage of a Benson & Hedges Cup quarter-final between Essex and Yorkshire at Chelmsford.
"I think you need to be a certain type of person to be a scorer," said White. "I've always loved statistics, whether it be football league tables, pop charts, elections etc.
"I don't use a computer for scoring at all. I remember reading Bill Frindall's autobiography and he used computers for stats but doing the scoresheet gave him the real satisfaction.
"I agree entirely. I describe it like being an artist – I've got this blank canvas and I've no idea how it's going to look until the end."
Hertfordshire Association of Cricket Officials committee member Peter Hinstridge praised White's sterling efforts, saying "his dedication and commitment both to Sawbridgeworth and Hertfordshire cricket over many years fully merits this recognition."