David Mitchell Memorial Award

The 2022 recipient of our David Mitchell award is Nigel Kerry, an extraordinary local youth cricket coach.

Nigel receiving his award from Caroline Whelan, David Mitchell's daughter

Nigel receiving his award from Caroline Whelan, David Mitchell's daughter

Nigel started the Youth Section at Ballinger Waggoners Cricket Club nearly 30 years ago. Ballinger was the first local club to set up such a section.  The aim was not only to provide youngsters with the opportunity to play cricket, but also to provide training for young people who would then go on to play for the senior side.  At the time the team was maturing but with few new players arriving, so a plan was formulated to provide them ourselves. To say this has been successful is an understatement.

Nigel provided the inspiration, cricketing knowledge and coaching know how to make this happen. He had 3 guiding principles for all who joined:

·       Quality coaching

·       Playing cricket within the Spirit of Cricket

·       Encouraging all to fulfil their potential as cricketers.

As a measure of his success, for the last 15 years there has been a Junior section at Ballinger of between 150 and 200 players, training and playing together.

Led by Nigel, the training has always been excellent.  The quality of the training is reflected in the fact that many of these children have gone on to represent Buckinghamshire in the Player Pathway and gain honours further afield. For many years Ballinger was the club with the most players in the Bucks Player Pathway. Currently Ballinger runs 3 senior teams with 95% of the players coming through either from the youth section or as parents of children in the youth section.

Nigel has in addition tirelessly recruited and encouraged parents to assist with coaching, many accepting the opportunity and becoming quality coaches themselves – a very rewarding process for both the new coaches and the young players. Nigel’s contribution has always been as much by inspiring and helping others to follow his lead as by coaching himself. He has acted as leader, exemplar and organiser.

Nigel doesn’t only work his magic at Ballinger - he has worked and continues to work in local schools, reaching an even bigger audience and introducing more children to the joys of cricket.

Nigel also runs very successful District teams, both for Chiltern & South Bucks as well as Dacorum. He has also acted as Bucks Cricket Development Officer.

Nigel has in addition run his famous Summer Camps at Ballinger, which are for children from all clubs. They have proven enormously popular with children, and grateful parents. As part of this, Nigel has over the years provided a coaching pathway for enthusiastic teenagers who help run the camps and learn many of the teamworking, punctuality and personal skills required for their working lives.

His services to cricket were recently recognised by the ECB with an ‘OSCA’ – an Outstanding Services to Cricket Award.

In conclusion, Nigel is an extraordinary coach who must have coached cricket to over 5,000 children, but also a genuinely kind and generous man, who has inspired and enriched the lives of all who have had the good fortune to be coached by him, play cricket with him or just share a beer with him.

[With thanks to Andy Thompson, and input from Roger Webster and Ian Davies]

To learn more about David Mitchell OBE, please click here

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