Alice in wonderland -- grassroots cricket honour at Lord’s for Papplewick and Linby volunteer

BOWLED OVER -- Alice meets England and Notts legend Graeme Swann at the ceremony at Lord's
BOWLED OVER -- Alice meets England and Notts legend Graeme Swann at the ceremony at Lord's

The grassroots dedication to local cricket by a Hucknall woman has been recognised at Lord’s and endorsed by former England captains.

Alice South (22), of Whyburn Lane, won one of the sport’s regional OSCAs -- an Outstanding Service to Cricket Award -- and was one of three young volunteers in the entire country to be shortlisted for for the main national accolade.

Although she was beaten at the final hurdle, she enjoyed a memorable day at the NatWest OSCAS ceremony at Lord’s, the home of cricket, and rubbed shoulders with England legends, such as Michael Vaughan, Mike Gatting, Graeme Swann and Steven Finn.

Alice was recognised for her commitment to Papplewick and Linby Cricket Club, who play in the Bassetlaw League after several years in the Notts Premier League.

Her father Neil played and is now club’s chairman, while her brother, Michael, is also a player. She wanted to get involved too -- and so took on the job of scorer. But then she became membership secretary, which involves the onerous task of collecting subs and helping to arrange fund-raising events and attract new members.

“When she said she would do it, I thought oh no, I will end up doing all the work,” said dad Neil.

“But nothing could have been further from the truth. She has done really well, and is now the social hub of the club.

“She drives all our social events and really gets involved. I am so proud of her, and very pleased she has won this award.

“Everyone at the club is thrilled for her, and delighted that her hard work has been recognised.”

A spokesman for the OSCAs, which are organised by the ECB, added: “Alice has immersed herself in the inner workings of the club, scoring to begin with before working tirelessly to increase membership subscriptions.”

The OSCAs were established in 2003 to reward cricket’s hard-working, unsung heroes. Hundreds of grassroots volunteers are nominated each year by clubs, leagues and county cricket boards nationwide

This year’s ceremony at Lord’s was hosted by Jonathan Agnew, of BBC Radio’s ‘Test Match Special’ programme, and brought together 400 people to celebrate achievements in eight different categories that honoured players, coaches and administrators as well as young volunteers.

Gatting, who is the ECB’s managing director of Cricket Partnerships, said: “All the nominations play an important role in ensuring grassroots cricket continues to flourish.”

Alice, who celebrated her birthday this week, is currently training to be a maths teacher at The National Academy on Annesley Road, Hucknall, after completing a degree at Nottingham Trent University .

She is also well-known as a synchronised swimmer with the Nottingham-based Green Arrows team.