Howzat? James receives volunteer cricket accolade

Chris Woakes presents the OSCA Young Volunteer 19-25 award to James Thompson of Berwick Cricket Club, right, during the NatWest OSCAs at Lord's (photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for ECB)
Chris Woakes presents the OSCA Young Volunteer 19-25 award to James Thompson of Berwick Cricket Club, right, during the NatWest OSCAs at Lord's (photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for ECB)

James Thompson was left “blown away” after he earned national recognition at Lord’s recently for his volunteer work at Berwick Cricket Club.

The NatWest Outstanding Service to Cricket Awards (OSCAs) were staged at the famous venue, with England World Cup winner Chris Woakes in attendance to present them.

His duties included handing the Young Volunteer of the Year accolade over to James.

“I love the game – it has been a huge part of my life since I was 11 and I’m blown away by this award,” said James, who has helped to raise more than £32,000 as the club looks to upgrade its clubhouse facilities at the Pier Fields.

James is the club’s opening bowler but also acts as juniors coach, head groundsman, function organiser and stocks the bar, among a host of other duties, all while juggling his own busy lifestyle.

“I work up in Edinburgh as well, so I have that hour’s commute up to work,” he said.

“And I’ve been studying for an accounting qualification at the same time, so it has been difficult.

“But I enjoy what I do and I get a lot out of it.

“Seeing the All Stars programme (for kids aged five to eight years old) come on this year is very rewarding.

“It’s a privilege to receive this award but I would like to dedicate it to every other volunteer and to everyone at Berwick Cricket Club who has helped me in the past 10 years.

“No individual is bigger than the club and, whether I’ve dragged them along or they have been willing volunteers, this is for them.”

Berwick Cricket Club celebrated its 175th anniversary with a match against an MCC Select XI at its picturesque home ground in July.

With James’ passion as a driving force, the club is aiming to build a new clubhouse facility.

“We’re looking to go for a two-story pavilion like we have had previously, so we’re estimating we need around £300,000,” he said.

“There’s a long way to go but we’re off to a good start.”

Chris Woakes revealed his admiration for the work done by volunteers such as James, adding: “Every one of our World Cup squad has benefited from passionate people and coaches who have put in so many hours to make us better cricketers and better people.

“My only dream when I was a kid was to play cricket with my friends and for it to lead to what it has done makes me feel very privileged.

“It is because of volunteers at clubs who put in the true graft, for the love of the game, that kids like me are given the chance to begin that journey.

“I can only thank them for what they do.”