Alex Lees won the LV=Insurance County Championship player of the season award at the annual 2023 Cricket Writers’ Club Dinner held at London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square on Monday 27 November.
Lees said a determination to regain his international place had been the catalyst for an impressive season where he scored more than 1,300 runs, including five centuries, at an average of over 70. His performances powered Durham to promotion to Division One.
“I probably had a little bit of doubt, or a bit of jet lag almost from being left out of the England team in October,” he said.
“So, I had to realign my focus and actually look at why I play cricket.
“I had two burning things in the back of my mind. The obvious thing is I want to get back into the Test team, and the other thing is I have two young boys who at some point I’d like to be in a position to watch me play professionally and remember it.
“That first month I think I got 40 every innings and then out, pretty much. And then that middle chunk of the season, I just took myself to one side and focused a little bit more, and I’d like to say I think it’s probably the best run of form I’ve ever had in my career to date.
“Maybe because I’m 30 now, my experience has pushed me into another bracket, but I’m obviously delighted.”
Harry Brook became just the second winner of the Bob Willis Trophy – to recognise England’s player of the yer, male or female, while there was recognition for an array of talents.
Brook received the award, named after the outstanding former England fast bowler and broadcaster, just two years after being voted the CWC’s Young Cricketer of the Year, following a run of impressive innings for the Test team, as well as helping England win the 2022 T20 World Cup.
For the second year in a row, Nat Sciver-Brunt won the Women’s Cricket Award, in association with JM Finn, following her remarkable exploits during an Ashes series where England fought back to end the campaign all square at 8-8.
James Rew won the NV Play Young Cricketer of the Year, the club’s oldest award (dating back to 1950), following a breakthrough season with Somerset where the 19-year-old wicketkeeper scored over 1,000 runs in Division One of the County Championship, including five hundreds.
Meanwhile Lauren Filer was chosen as the Club’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year, an award that recognises a rising star of the women’s game, after making both her Test and ODI debuts for England this year, with the fast bowler the leading wicket-taker in a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka.
Alfie Pyle, from the England Learning Disability team, was named the Lord’s Taverners Disability Cricketer of the Year.
The Peter Smith Award for outstanding presentation of cricket to the public went to the BBC broadcaster Kevin Howells, while the Derek Hodgson Book Award was given to Nicholas Brookes for ‘An Island’s Eleven’, a history of Sri Lankan cricket.
All the awards were presented at the Cricket Writers’ Club Annual Awards Lunch at the London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, on Monday, November 27.
CWC Chair Dean Wilson said: “Huge congratulations to all our award winners who were rightly celebrated at a fantastic event for more than 320 members and guests.
“Players such as Harry Brook and Lauren Filer have entertained us all in a memorable year for the game while the story of Alfie Pyle’s progression from Super 1s to the England learning disability team is a triumph.”
Full list of winners:
- Bob Willis Trophy for England Player of the Year, sponsored by Smile Group Travel – Harry Brook
- JM Finn Women’s Cricket Award – Nat Sciver-Brunt
- NV Play Young Cricketer of the Year – James Rew
- LV Insurance County Championship Player of the Year – Alex Lees
- Emerging Cricketer of the Year – Lauren Filer
- Peter Smith Award – Kevin HowellsDerek Hodgson Book Award – Nicholas Brookes for “An Island’s Eleven”
- Lord’s Taverners Disability Cricketer of the Year – Alfie Pyle