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Cricket Administrator Of The Year

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Year: 2009
Awarded to: Peter Bell

Peter Bell's first association with cricket was in common with a lot of cricketers, that of being interested in the game at School, in his case it was while he was at Sacred Heart College, Droitwich, from 1944 to 1951. Peter played in the school XI, and Captained his house XI, being both a batsman and bowler.

After leaving school Peter had a few games for the Gas Officials, who played in Holly Lane, Erdington, but shortly after that Peter had to do National Service. But this didn't hinder his cricket, as he played for his station, R.A.F Hemswell. It was whilst stationed at Hemswell that he had his first experience of first class cricket, insomuch that Fred Trueman was stationed at Hemswell and Peter found out what it was like to face the future England Test Bowler, albeit only in the practice nets.

After three years in the R.A.F. Peter became interested in another sport, that being cross country running and he joined a club, Lozells Harriers. This didn't clash too much with his cricket, as he did his running on Saturdays and played cricket on Sundays. Following his three years in the R.A.F., Peter joined Burbury Cricket Club in 1955, this at a time, being a progressive Club in the Birmingham Public Parks Cricket League. In 1961 Peter became captain of the second XI on Sundays, winning the Lewis Cup in the first season. There followed a further four seasons in charge of the Second XI, before Peter began his association with Sutton Coldfield Cricket Club, but without severing his Membership of Burbury Cricket Club.

Peter played only a few games with the Sutton Coldfield Second and Third XI's, but one or two, were with his Son, Mark, but then his main contribution was as an Umpire for Sutton. Meanwhile Burbury Cricket Club had ceased their membership of the Birmingham Parks Public League, and were playing four sides, two Saturday and two Sunday, as 'wondering sides' in club cricket. There then began the plan to find the club a home ground, and Peter was instrumental in carrying out this mission with some satisfaction. Peter's occupation took him around the farms in the Coleshill area, and Peter struck up an arrangement with farmer Bill Breedon, in Lea Marston, such that one of his fields was made available as a cricket ground, but not before some work would be required on the field. Then in 1968 the first match was played on the ground, in Blackgreaves Lane and this became the home of Burbury Cricket Club, which changed its name within two seasons, to Lea Marston Cricket Club, eventually ceasing to exist in 1997. But the thirty years of cricket played there were due initially to Peter, which became quite a task, converting a sheep grazing field into a cricket ground, apart from the amount of time he then had to put in to the maintenance of the ground, as groundsman. There was the week-end when a cricket pavilion in the Great Barr area of Birmingham was taken down, transported and re-erected at the new ground, in one week-end. Peter during the morning's work on the Sunday suffered a severe injury, a large nail passing completely through his foot, a visit to hospital was all that was required, to receive a dressing and it was back to the job in hand to carryon re-erecting the pavilion, which was basically completed by the end of the day.

Peter meanwhile had been making great progress with his umpiring, with Sutton Coldfield and was becoming recognized even further afield by virtue of his officiating in Warwickshire Second XI games, Worcestershire Second XI games, some Minor County matches together with officiating for the I.C.C., M.C.C. and M.C.C.C. representative sides.

Off the field of play, Peter became Chairman of the Bar Committee and was further involved when he took over the position of Chairman of Sutton Coldfield Cricket Club, this onerous position he held from 1981 to 1983, eventually relinquishing the bar committee position in 1984.

Other responsibilities were taken upon with the 'sister club' of the cricket club, the hockey club, by becoming a qualified umpire and a member of the Birmingham County Hockey Umpiring Association. Peter did become a level 1 umpires coach, an indication of how thorough he approaches a task.

In 1984 with the formation of the Warwickshire Sunday League, with Sutton Coldfield Cricket Club being one of its founder members, Peter became the club representative on the Management Committee of the league, a position he has held for twenty five years and has been on the leagues Executive Committee for the past four years.

Becoming less involved with hockey in later years has allowed Peter to take over the position of House Manager for both the cricket and hockey clubs. The duties off which he has carried out in an extremely diligent manner for the last eight years, being responsible for ordering bar requirements, correlating the private bookings and the general maintenance and cleaning of the clubhouse. Peter has received excellent support in these tasks from his wife Sue and son John.

Peter Bell is one of those persons who shows full allegiance to the clubs that he is or has been a member of, and puts more back in to the sport that has been his interest for many years, than he has extracted from it, on the field of play. The type of member that all clubs would value and deserves all the compliments that are paid to him.

In addition to the clubs that Peter has been a member of there are several touring sides that have received his support, in the main, Mayflies, Greenflies and Warwickshire Pilgrims, the first mentioned unfortunately is no longer functioning.

Peter has been thorough in producing sound thinking which has benefited Sutton Coldfield Cricket Club over a period of forty years, for which the club will always be grateful and find him difficult to replace. Although he has demonstrated to others the standards that are needed in carrying out the work in organizing and administrating a cricket club, so setting an example to all of what is required.