Award-winner sets sights on final
AWARD-WINNING coach Kevin Brooks is now aiming to mastermind the success of the biggest day in Suffolk's cricketing history.Suffolk face Cheshire in the Minor Counties Knock-out Trophy final at Lord's next Monday - and the county's director of cricket will be bidding to help win a team trophy hot on the heels of his individual accolade.
AWARD-WINNING coach Kevin Brooks is now aiming to mastermind the success of the biggest day in Suffolk's cricketing history.
Suffolk face Cheshire in the Minor Counties Knock-out Trophy final at Lord's next Monday - and the county's director of cricket will be bidding to help win a team trophy hot on the heels of his individual accolade.
Brooks was recently named as the East Region winner of the Outstanding Contribution and Services to Cricket Coaching category in the ECB Coaches Association Sky Sports Recognition and Reward Scheme.
He was nominated by Suffolk Coaches Association in one category - Mildenhall Cricket Club's Kevin Boardman was put forward in the Outstanding Coaching Achievement category - for the awards.
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The eight nominees in each category in the East Region were invited to attend the England versus West Indies one-day international at Lord's earlier this summer.
Brooks was unable to attend as the date clashed with Suffolk's semi-final match against Oxfordshire, which the county won to book a first-ever visit to Lord's in the Minor Counties' showpiece one-day final.
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He subsequently learned that he had won his category and with it a framed certificate, a £50 Duncan Fearnley cricket equipment voucher and an invitation to be a guest of honour at the ECB Coaches Association National Conference Gala Dinner in January, when the national winners from eight regional winners will be announced for both categories.
Brooks said: “I knew I had been nominated, but it came as a very pleasant surprise to win the East Region award.
“I have always gained an enormous amount of pleasure out of trying to help players of all ages and abilities fulfil their potential, and it is always nice to be recognised for the effort that you have put in.”
His nomination took into account that he moved to Suffolk in 1985 to run the indoor cricket centre in Ipswich, the success of which culminated in new players joining local cricket clubs.
Brooks subsequently coached St Joseph's College 1st XI from 1995 to 2000 and after successfully setting up a Suffolk 2nd XI side in 1997 became the county's first-ever director of cricket in the following year.
Under his guidance both Andrew McGarry (ex-Essex) and Chris Schofield (ex-Lancashire and England) have returned to the first-class game with Essex and Surrey respectively, with Schofield winning a place in England's squad for the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa next month.
Ben France spent two years on the staff at Derbyshire and players such as Tom Huggins, Toby Hembry, Nick Lee and Chris Warn have all had trials with first-class counties after catching the eye playing Minor Counties cricket for Suffolk.
Brooks has also been instrumental in helping to attract former Test cricketers and top-class coaches such as Kim Barnett, John Emburey, Neil Foster, David Houghton and Bob Taylor to Suffolk to pass on their expertise to youngsters on the county's development of excellence programme.