County champions Essex have provided two of the winners of the 2017 Cricket Writers’ Club awards with batsman Dan Lawrence named the CWC Young Cricketer of the Year and pace bowler Jamie Porter taking the club’s Specsavers Championship Player of the Year trophy a day after they were both selected for the England Lions squad that will tour Australia.
Lawrence, a strong leg-side player, topped a ballot of the CWC’s 300-plus members after scoring 761 runs at an average of nearly 45, including three hundreds – a major contribution to Essex’s First Division triumph.
First presented in 1950, and one of the oldest such honours in cricket, the award, which by tradition is won just once in a career, is restricted to England-qualified players under the age of 23 on April 1. Previous winners of the Cricket Writers’ Club Young Cricketer of the Year award have amassed more than 2,500 Test caps between them.
But such an accolade does not always guarantee England success. Although Joe Root and Ben Stokes are recent winners, Alex Lees’ career at Yorkshire has hit the backwaters since his honour in 2014.
Porter operates at a pace barely above 80mph, which questions his ability to progress to full England honours, although such assumptions have been challenged by his winning of a place, alongside Lawrence, in the England Lions squad in Australia which will be on hand as potential replacements to the senior squad in the Ashes series.
He had a brilliant season, taking an impressive 75 wickets in the Championship at an outstanding average of under 17 apiece as newly-promoted Essex took the First Division title in an unbeaten season.
In the Professional Cricketers Association version of the awards later this week, he is shortlisted for both the young player and Player of the Year categories – at 24, he is too old for the CWC young player category – and has the chance to repeat Ben Duckett’s double award a year ago.
The CWC, strangely, has yet to introduce an award for the international game or, indeed, for domestic limited-overs cricket but its recognition goes beyond merely county players..
England World Cup-winner Tammy Beaumont succeeded Charlotte Edwards, the inaugural winner, in receiving the CWC’s Women’s Cricket Award. David Graveney, a former England chairman of selectors and chief executive of the Professional Cricketers Association, took the Peter Smith Award for “services to the presentation of cricket to the public”.
Beaumont’s 410 runs at 45.55, including one hundred and one fifty, made her the leading run scorer at this year’s Women’s World Cup, which England won in a dramatic final against India at Lord’s.
The awards, made in association with William Hill, also support cricket literature. The CWC Book of the Year went to Over and Out, a biography of Albert Trott by Steve Neal.
Trott represented both Australia and England and, famously, cleared the Lord’s pavilion with what is still said to be the biggest hit ever seen on the ground.
All the awards were presented at the club’s annual lunch at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London on Tuesday.