Spry comes home from Lord's clutching an OSCA

THORVERTON’S John Spry came home from Lord’s clutching an OSCA after winning one of the top awards in the recreational game.

The OSCAs – Outstanding Service to Cricket Awards – have been handed out by the ECB to club workers for the past 13 years in a competition sponsored by NatWest Bank.

Spry, who has been associated with Thorverton for 38 years as a player and administrator, was nominated in the Heartbeat of the Club section.

The 54-year-old transport manager said it was a ‘massive surprise’ to make the shortlist and a proud moment when his name was called out.

Spry received his award from the actor Jim Carter, instantly recognisable to fans of television’s Downton Abbey series as the butler Mr Carson.

Carter is a huge cricket enthusiast and chairman of Hampstead CC near his north London home.

“I would like to thank James May at Thorverton for nominating me in the first place and Devon Cricket Board for supporting the nomination,” said Spry, who is known universally in cricket by his childhood nickname Jock.

“Just to make the shortlist was a massive surprise and I didn’t expect to be the overall winner.

“There are lots of other people at Thorverton equally deserving the award – and hundreds of them at clubs all over Devon.

“I consider myself to have won the award on behalf of all the people who work so hard at the clubs to make them a success.”

Spry went one better than his partner Julie Choules, who was shortlisted in 2008 but missed out on winning an OSCA.

Spry joined Thorverton aged 16 shortly after leaving school – Johnny Carter was the chairman then - and has been there ever since.

Over the intervening years he has skippered the 1st and 2nd XIs, been chairman of the youth section, coached teams and run softball teams and helped out with work on the ground.

“I lived nearby in Brampford Speke Thorverton was the nearest club to the village and is the only one I have ever played for,” said Spry.

“At first all I was interested in was playing, but over the years I became more involved.

Thorverton’s next project, which Spry will be heavily involved in, is building a new pavilion on the Station Road ground.

“Plans have been drawn up, the planning authorities appear to be keen, now we have all the hoops to jump through to raise the money and make it happen,” said Spry.

Spry was one of a number of clubmen and women from Devon nominated for awards across the categories.

The other candidates were Spry’s Thorverton clubmate Mike Denford, Topsham’s Sheila Harding, Andy Johnson from Ivybridge, Joe Berry (Seaton), Rob Baker (Plymstock) and umpire Pete Bamber from DACO.

Denford, Harding, Johnson and Baker were all at the awards ceremony, which was put on in a function suite at Lord’s.

Test Match Special anchorman Jonathan Agnew compèred the event. Among the VIP guests presenting awards were Andrew Strauss, Eoin Morgan, Charlotte Edwards and Mike Gatting.

Spry’s name can now be added to the proud list of previous winners from Devon.

They are: many of many roles Ted Ashman (2003), youth coach Jon Mears (2005), umpire David Moseby and Axminster groundsman Phil Spong (2007) and Exmouth administrator Richard Butler (2009).



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