Cricket’s unsung heroes were celebrated earlier this month at Lord’s.
A host of famous names from the sport were present at the event to honour the efforts of grassroots volunteers at the 2016 NatWest Outstanding Service to Cricket awards (OSCAs).
The event, hosted by BBC cricket correspondent and Test Match Special commentator Jonathan Agnew, brought together over 400 people from across England and Wales to celebrate the heroes of the recreational game and the Western Storm’s Amara Carr was one of those whose efforts were recognised.
The 22 year old from Plympton CC received the Young Coach of the Year award for her work inspiring young girls to take up the sport. A mentor to junior female players, Carr also juggles multiple coaching roles at university, club, county, and England Development level.
After receiving her award Amara said: “It’s come as a bit of a surprise really! It’s fantastic! I have no idea who nominated me and I don’t think that I’ve done anything particularly outstanding.
“I’ve been coaching the Devon under 15 girls for the last two years and I also went to South Africa as a coach with the Devon Under 19 Development side which was the first time that I had been on tour as a coach rather than a player. I’ve also been coaching some beginner sessions at the University of Exeter to try and get more girls involved in the game at that level and at Plympton I’ve been helping to coach junior girls.”
As a reward for winning, Amara recently attended a day at a coaching conference at the National Performance Centre with the specialists who look after the England Test team about which she said: “It was a really good experience and really interesting to be able to get some tips from the likes of Graham Thorpe, Peter Such, Chris Taylor and Kevin Shine.”
It’s been a big year for Amara who recently graduated from the University of Exeter with a degree in sports science, as she was involved in the inaugural Kia Super League and was a part of the Western Storm squad who came so close to winning the title.
“The success of the tournament came as a bit of a surprise to all of us I think. It was amazing to see so many people at the games, especially in Taunton. How it took off was incredible. Being involved and being around players like Heather Knight and Stafanie Taylor was just an incredible experience. Just listening to players like them talking about the game was a real experience. Having the opportunity to play and train along side those type of players was really exciting. There was a great team spirit and everyone was really positive and just fed off each other. Even the players who didn’t get much time out on the pitch were made to feel very much a part of the whole process.”
Now in their 14th year, the NatWest OSCAs form an integral part the ECB’s volunteering programmes, which give cricket clubs advice on recruiting, training and rewarding volunteers.