Andy Fogarty retained his title as Groundsman of the Year on another good night for Yorkshire at the Brightside Ground in Bristol.
Fogarty was recognised for producing the best four-day pitches in the county game at the annual awards night for the first-class groundsmen, the third time in six years he has won the main prize.
But he was not the only Yorkshire winner. John Dodds, the long-serving head groundsman at North Marine Road in Scarborough, won the award for the best outgrounds pitches; and Richard Robinson, who prepares pitches for the Leeds/Bradford MCCU team at Weetwood, shared the award in that category with John Moden and Lee De Grammont, who shared the responsibilities for Cambridge MCCU at Fenner’s in 2016.
Alan Fordham, the ECB's head of operations, paid tribute to Moden, who stepped down midway through the season.
Nottinghamshire’s Steve Birks won the one-day pitches award for the second time in six years, with Surrey’s Lee Fortis runner-up, and commendations for Durham’s Vic Demain, Hampshire’s Karl McDermott, and Stuart Kerrison of Essex.
There was further recognition for Kerrison in the four-day category as he was joint runner-up, with Lancashire’s Matt Merchant - with commendations for Warwickshire’s Gary Barwell and Andy Mackay of Sussex.
Mackay also received a discretionary award for a five-year improvement programme at the 1st Central County Ground in Hove, and there was also recognition for Gloucestershire, who were hosting the presentations, with Christian Brain runner-up to Dodds in the outground category for the quality of the pitches at Cheltenham College during the Brewin Dolphin Festival.
“Congratulations to Andy Fogarty, to Yorkshire, and to all the other groundsmen who have been recognised,” said Chris Wood, the ECB’s Pitches Consultant.
“Andy has set an impressive level of consistency with the quality of the four-day pitches at Headingley, and has also begun a substantial extension of the square in addition to becoming more involved with the recreational game.
“Andy has set an impressive level of consistency with the quality of the four-day pitches at Headingley"
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“John Dodds has now won the outgrounds award four times in five years for Scarborough, and Christian Brain has maintained the high standards of pitches in Cheltenham since taking over that role relatively recently.
“Steve Birks has been a very consistent performer in both four-day and one-day categories, and it was good for us to recognise Andy Mackay’s work at Hove where he has completed a reconstruction of the outfield, made major improvements to the net area, and is gradually relaying the whole square – all in house and to budget.
“More generally, this is an opportunity to thank and congratulate all our groundstaff for their work over the last 12 months. There were major challenges from the weather last winter, and from the change in regulations around the toss in the Specsavers County Championship.
“They responded magnificently, as they always do. It’s good to have this chance to recognise them.”