Thu, 21 Sept 2017
BERKSHIRE is losing one of its major driving forces behind the growth of women’s cricket in the county as Andy Manning prepares to move back to his home county of Devon.
Manning played a major role in the growth of girls and women's cricket over the past few years, not only in the county as a whole, but at Falkland Cricket Club.
The Falkland member has been involved with Berkshire since 1999, when there was just a girls team of various ages and their first game was against Falkland under-15 boys.
But a year later the county introduced under-13, under-15 and under-17 teams and Manning was appointed the under-13s coach, going on to manage them as well.
In 2010 he was involved in the introduction of an under-11 squad and over the years he assisted with the under-15 and 17 age groups during their winter training programmes.
The growth of the girls' section has given Berkshire players the opportunity to progress from junior to senior level and Division One of the ECB Women's County Championship.
"Women's cricket in Berkshire is now on a very good footing," said the retired Ministry of Defence police officer who since 2003 has also been the Berkshire county welfare officer.
"It is very rewarding to see young girls, like Hungerford's Lauren Bell for instance, to move from under-11s to the senior Berkshire side and also the England Women's Development Programme. There is a lot of other very talented young players in the county."
Nearly 100 players and parents showed their appreciation of Andy's 18-year service at the Berkshire girls age-groups end-of-season presentation evening recently held at Henley Cricket Club, rewarding him with numerous cards and presents.
He said: "I have had a wonderful and rewarding time with cricket in Berkshire, but it is now the right time for myself and my wife both to retire to the West Country, from where we come from.
"I would like to thank the Berkshire Cricket Foundation for giving me the opportunity to be involved in the development of county girls age-group cricket.
"Also, I must place on record my grateful thanks to the parent of players who have been extremely supportive over many years and also to the wonderful coaches we have in Berkshire. Girls and women's cricket in the county has a lot to look forward to."
Neville Wallace, the Berkshire county girls lead coach, led the praises for Manning, saying: "He has been a complete asset to the girls and Berkshire Cricket and will be a loss to see him go. We have appreciated everything he has done.
"He started Berkshire Girls cricket and laid a superb base from where we have been able to grow to where it is today - a very fruitful and productive 18 years that very few coaches can match.
"Ever since I have known Andy he has always been cheerful, positive and always willing to give a helping hand. He has given up so much of his time to help and it has always been with a cheerful disposition as he knows that what you put in with the girls is so important and they have responded warmly and appreciative of him.
"I am happy to say even though he will be miles away he is still willing to help us and be our fixture secretary for next season.”
Pictured: Andy Manning pictured with captains of the Berkshire Girls age-group teams. Picture by: Damaris Hayward