Cricketers' Champagne moment

The very best of the summer's Champagne moments were re-lived in a solicitors' boardroom as 15 cricketers received prestigious 2008 Hansells Roll of Honour awards.

The very best of the summer's Champagne moments were re-lived in a solicitors' boardroom as 15 cricketers received prestigious 2008 Hansells Roll of Honour awards.

Winners of the batsman and bowler of the year awards, presented in association with the Times and six other Archant weekly newspapers, were saluted for their exceptional performances on the cricket squares of Norfolk and north Suffolk.

During a Champagne reception in the boardroom of Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers, each champion was presented with a cheque for £75 and a framed certificate as a permanent memento of the day they achieved the score of the season.

Among this season's top performers were Ian Gibb of Bradenham Cricket Club, Jonathan Bidewell of Swanton Morley and Neil Lockwood of Mattishall.

The presentations were made by Hansells' managing partner Roger Holden and Archant Norfolk's head of sport, Richard Willner.

“We have sponsored the Roll of Honour for eight years now and are as thrilled to be part of it today as we were in year one,” said Roger. “Hansells are involved in several sponsorships and this ranks as one of the most enjoyable.

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“We keep the updated Roll of Honour pinned up in our offices throughout the season - it's a wonderful source of inspiration to read some of the amazing scores that our local players have achieved. Colleagues who play the game are highly envious!

“Speaking with previous winners of our awards, I know how inspirational the Roll of Honour is to them, too. When they take to the field, many of those who aspire to the title of batsman or bowler of the year know exactly what the current best is.

“While cricket is first and foremost a team game, it is good to applaud superlative individual achievements, too.”

Every week during the summer, each of seven of Archant Norfolk's weekly newspapers records the best individual scores (number of runs scored or number of wickets taken) obtained in bona fide competitions by local players. The best of the figures of the season are also noted on the leaderboard.

Hansells Roll of Honour awards can be earned by players of any age, at any level of cricket. This year's winners ranged from schoolboys to overseas professionals. Season-best figures were recorded throughout the summer, including both the first and last weekends of the season.

The overall top batting performance was recorded by Saham Toney Cricket Club's Australian professional Glenn Maxwell who scored a memorable 217 runs, including 28 fours and seven sixes in a Norfolk Alliance game.

The pick of the bowling figures was Martin Guy's 9-13, scored for Tacolneston against local Norfolk League Division Seven rivals New Buckenham.

Commenting on the figures, Richard Willner said the wet summer had been reflected in the winning performances.

“The bowling figures were incredible, with several eight-wicket or nine-wicket hauls. Yet the batsmen still came out on top sometimes - most of our winners achieved 170-plus, with one even claiming a double century.”

As well as congratulating winners, Richard also had a word of thanks for the sponsors.

“As head of sport at Archant, I am in a position to see what a huge amount Hansells put into local sport. I think it is very commendable that they associate with leagues, teams and players at grass-roots level, not merely the sporting elite. I think our sportsmen and sportswomen are lucky to have them around.

“These awards show that Hansells and Archant share a belief that there is something particularly satisfying in being able to reward the guy who has been doing his sporting best for his home village for decades without ever contemplating making it in the 'big time.'

“That unsung hero deserves his moment of glory every bit as much as the one whose prowess at his chosen discipline gets far wider recognition. He will quite rightly cherish that recognition for the rest of his life.”

Roger Holden had a special word of encouragement for Lowestoft Journal Bowler of the Year Gary Tuttle, of Kirkley Sports.

“Gary was one of the first winners to accept his invitation to the presentation night.

“Unfortunately he broke his leg while playing football for Suffolk last week and could not attend.

“We wish him well and hope to see him among the wickets again next summer.