Paul Stirling, Gaby Lewis claim top honours at ITW Irish Cricket Awards 2022
DUBLIN – Irish internationals Paul Stirling and Gaby Lewis were announced the men’s and women’s International Player of the Year respectively amongst the 15 categories of awards handed out at the ITW Irish Cricket Awards 2022.
It proved a double-delight night for Lewis as she also claimed the Arachas Super Series Player of the Year, while world-record breaker Amy Hunter took the Emerging Player of the Year award.
Stirling and Lewis also received ICC recognition for their performances in 2021 making various teams of the year, while Hunter has won or been shortlisted for a plethora of national sports awards.
The event was broadcast via Youtube and was hosted by sports journalist and broadcaster Marie Crowe, supported by RTE’s John Kenny and former Ireland Men’s captain Kyle McCallan. Viewers were treated with interviews with each winner, and highlights of the 2021 year in Irish cricket.
Each winner will receive an engraved award designed to the iconic Irish brand, House of Waterford Crystal – an organisation that is proudly extending its generational links with cricket.
ITW International Player of the Year – Men
Winner: Paul Stirling
Runners-up: Andrew Balbirnie, Josh Little, Simi Singh
Process: This was a peer-nominated award, with players all awarding 3-2-1 rankings to their teammates after each game.
Citation: Matthew was named Player of the Tournament at the Under-19s World Cup Qualifier in September, and – as can be seen by his performances last month at the ICC Under-19s World Cup, this wasn’t a one-off.
Clear Currency Emerging Player of the Year - Female
Winner: Amy Hunter
Citation: When Irish women’s cricket makes the front page of The Irish Times, you know it was for a significant achievement. And I think we all agree that Amy’s world-record century on her 16th birthday was indeed a significant moment, not only for her personally, but for women’s cricket as a whole.
Shortlist: DD Barr (Brigade), Aniruddha Chore (North Down), Sunil Gautum (Cork County), John Glass (Ballymena), Theo Lawson (Pembroke), Ruhan Pretorius (Woodvale)
Select citation: Ani is a wicket keeper batsman for North Down CC playing in the NCU Premier League. 2021 was his first season playing club cricket in the NCU after settling in Ireland with his wife. Ani was North Down’s standout player this year and helped North Down get to the NCU Challenge Cup final where he scored a fifty. Ani was the top run scorer in the NCU domestic game with 1157 runs at an average of 77.13. He scored 3 hundreds including a top score of 140* and 7 fifties. Ani was also the top wicket keeper in the NCU with 22 catches, 11 stumpings, and 1 run out. Ani is also a key influence in North Down’s youth section and supports their growing section with quality coaching. Ani is also coaching in the NCU at club development camps and in the NCU talent pathways.
O’Neiil’s Club Female Player of the Year
Winner: Laura Delany (Leinster)
Shortlist: Amy Caulfield (Muckamore), Laura Delany (Leinster), Mollie Devine (Fox Lodge)
Select citation: 2021 was truly a remarkable year women’s cricket in Leinster, and as the overall standard rose however, so too did the performances of Ireland captain Laura Delany, as her exploits for Leinster CC in the 2021 season saw her claim each of the awards for the leading batter and bowler in Division 1, as well as the leading overall all-rounder in all divisions.
Crawford Cup for batting: Delany batted 8 times, amassing 512 runs and getting out on just half of the occasions on which she batted, resulting in an amazing average of 128. The highlight of Delany’s season was undoubtedly her unbeaten century against Merrion in the Senior Cup semi-final at Anglesea Road in mid-July.
Harrison Cup for bowling: Delany’s haul of 14 wickets came at an average of just 13.71 across the course of the season, but again she had one truly stand out performance which has helped propel her to the top of the tree on this occasion. In the Pilkington Plate encounter with Phoenix on July 18th – just days after the Senior Cup semi-final mentioned earlier – Delany produced the best bowling figures on record in Senior cricket. She took 8-12 as her side cut their hosts down from 75/2 when Delany entered the attack to be all out for 166.
Howard Cup for the leading all-rounder across all divisions: Delany won the points race comprehensively.
Winning all three cups for Division 1 performance was an unprecedented performance by Laura.
Cricket Writers of Ireland Hall of Fame
Inductee 1: Barbara McDonald
Citation: Barbara was born in Waterford, but helped form Malahide Cricket Club back in 1988 - quickly proving herself to be the outstanding seam bowler of her generation. She played for Ireland Under-19s before winning her first senior cap in 1993 aged 21 against Netherlands. By 1996 she had become a senior team regular and won sixty caps in the following decade. Our inductee saved some of her best performances for the biggest games, taking 3 for 17 against South Africa, 4 for 8 against Pakistan and 4 for 13 against West Indies. In all she played in three World Cups and took 63 wickets at less than three runs an over. She also spearheaded a strong Malahide attack and was a key performer in 2002 when the club won the treble for the first time, taking 2-23 off 10 overs in the Pilkington Plate final against YMCA.
Inductee 2: Angus Dunlop
Citation: Angus began his career with YMCA at 15 in 1982 and only finished at senior level in 2016 with 12,532 runs and 314 wickets. He was one of the brightest stars of a great YMCA side that won almost everything in the 1980s and 1990s. He was first picked for Ireland in 1990, making 69 on debut v MCC and another 50 against Scotland that summer. But he struggled with the bat for several seasons and was in and out of the Irish side, but after a sixth recall to the colours, he finally showed what the selectors saw in him. His career went to another level in 1996. Against Wales he was unlucky to miss his maiden century, scoring 99 and 94, but got there in the next game, against MCC, with a brisk 148. That was the first of his four centuries for Ireland, the most memorable coming against a South African attack that included Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock. Our inductee was an all-rounder in the early part of his career, taking 5 for 26 on debut, but never bowled after 1995. His most memorable moment with the ball came at Castle Avenue when Australia captain Allan Border hit him for 32 in an over. He was appointed captain in 1998 and led his country on 40 occasions. He retired in 2000 and signed off with his fourth century, a chanceless 150 and the highest score for Ireland against Scotland at the time.
Inductee 3 (posthumous): Dermott Monteith
Citation: Born in 1943, our inductee had just turned 22 when first picked, as a batsman, for Ireland. He made 54, becoming the first Irish debutant to make a first-innings fifty at Lord’s. While all the batting and appearance records have fallen in the last 15 years, our inductees 326 wickets is still the most taken by an Ireland bowler – and looks unlikely to be overtaken for many years to come. His best of 8-44 also came at Lord’s, against MCC, but he had a phenomenal 27 five-wicket hauls, including 5-31 against a near-Test quality Pakistan International Airlines XI, 5-96 against the 1976 West Indians, and eight wickets in the famous win over Sussex in 1977. His bowling was good enough to be called upon by Middlesex in two seasons when they were hit by international calls to their spinners John Emburey and Phil Edmonds. He fitted in perfectly and helped the county to the championship title. In so doing he showed Irish club players that they were capable of playing in England and a new wave of youngsters won trials and contracts in the years following. A letter addressed simply to “the second best left-arm spinner in the world” was duly delivered by the Royal Mail. Sure, who else would they deliver it to. Later on he became an Ireland selector and was President of the Irish Cricket Union in 1999. After several years of illness he died in 2009.
Gibney’s Outstanding Contribution and Service to Irish Cricket
Winner: Michael Sharp
Citation: Sadly, Michael passed away in December having devoted a lifetime of service to cricket. A past President of his beloved Pembroke Cricket Club - Michael's name is synonymous with the oversight & administration of cricket in Leinster and his incredible voluntary contribution extended far beyond his 37 years on Cricket Leinster Committees. Michael’s role in laying the foundations of competition cricket at club level was immense and all those involved in cricket in Leinster owe him a significant debt of gratitude. This award is named in honour of John Wright and he and Michael worked together frequently on cricket matters. There is no doubt of the contribution of John Wright at national and international levels, likewise there should be no doubt of the contribution of Michael Sharp to the game of cricket at club level.
House of Waterford Crystal Volunteering Excellence Award
Winner: Bryan Milford
Quote from judging panel: While Bryan has been involved in cricket his whole life, he has served as General Secretary of the Northern Cricket Union for the last 14 years – and to quote his colleagues he “manages every aspect of cricket in the NCU - from fixtures to finance, and his attention to detail and collaborative approach has helped improve cricket in the Provincial Union and beyond.”. Now the judging panel also wanted to acknowledge a number of other very worthy nominees that were put forward: “Stephen McCartney, Joe Mahoney and Siobhan McBennett. Each of you should be very proud of your contributions and that you were put forward by your peers.”
Techfynder Cricket Official of the Year
Winner: Mary McElwee (scorer)
Citation: Over a number of years Mary has been the leading scorer in the NW region. Scoring for clubs such as Limavady and Ballyspallen Mary has been at the forefront of embracing new ways to score as they become available. She regularly scores for IACUS at International and Interpro level, as well as continuing to take appointments locally for the NW to score youth matches as well as her club scoring. Mary has embraced the various scoring methods, book, Frindall as well as digital scoring via MyCricket, CricClubs and NV Play. Mary is always helpful with developing up and coming scorers as they come through club cricket and is a help to young scorers who are often appointed locally to representative youth games.
Shapoorji Pallonji Outstanding Contribution to Coaching
Winner: Ted Williamson
Citation: Ted's contribution to Munster & Cork Harlequins has no equal within the province. As Reds & Heat coach he has brought together on the pitch a disparate group of players in difficult logistical circumstances. In the 2021 season the Reds & Heat made significant performances to support his efforts against unified and resource rich opponents. As the Harlequins coach he has overseen the development of youth players who are now driving the club forward to AIT finals and punching way above their weight and resources. His personal vision & development of the nets facility at Douglas Community School has been phenomenal. We now have a truly state of the art triple indoor venue that is not only supporting a step change of player development for his club but also shaping the future Reds players and building the skills and ability of other Munster clubs. This vision, insight & determination driving this project, combined with his unmatched coaching skills has given Clubs & Province the opportunity to make a significant step change in on-field performances.
Turkish Airlines Groundskeeper of the Year Award
Winner: Dean Simpson (Lisburn Cricket Club)
Citation: The past decade has seen a significant increase in the standard of the wickets and outfield at Wallace Park. This would not have happened if it wasn’t for Dean’s dedication to improving the cricket playing facilities at the park. In fact, Dean not only overseen improvements at Lisburn, he regularly advises and guides other clubs over matters related to the upkeep or preparation of wickets. Dean also played a prominent role in finding a solution to the issues last March relating to the loam soil crisis caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol.”
General Award Judging Panel:
Aideen Rice, Isobel Joyce, Ger Siggins, Ian Callender, Peter McCartney, Paddy Grimes, Philip Smith, Joe Moynihan