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Kent head of grounds Adrian Llong wins England Cricket Board One-Day award for work at The Spitfire Ground


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Kent's head of grounds Adrian Llong has won the England Cricket Board's One-Day award for Grounds Manager of the Year.

Llong gets the gong in recognition for the pitches at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, in the same season Kent were crowned T20 Blast champions and won Division 3 of the County Championship.

Kent's Daniel Bell-Drummond in action during their T20 Blast quarter-final win against Birmingham Bears in August. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Kent's Daniel Bell-Drummond in action during their T20 Blast quarter-final win against Birmingham Bears in August. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Another member of Kent's grounds staff, Riley Nicholson, picked up the award on Llong's behalf.

Llong, who won the Outground award three years ago while at Beckenham, said: “It's really pleasing to win this award and the recognition for the brilliant team of ground staff here.

“Everyone across the county circuit works incredibly hard so, to be given this honour, is something special for us.”

Lancashire’s Matt Merchant won the three-day and four-day gong for the third time following an awards ceremony in Leicester.

Merchant first won the Bernard Flack Memorial Trophy in 2009, a year before the Old Trafford pitch was turned around, before claiming the honour again in 2013.

Cheltenham College’s Christian Brain won the Best Outground award while Scott Hawkins, of Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, was runner-up for both the multi-day and one-day awards.

ECB pitch and grounds advisor Andy Mackay said: “The award winners fully deserve this recognition for the consistently outstanding pitches they have produced during the summer.

"This has been a challenging summer for all county ground staff beginning with the uncertainty of the (coronavirus) pandemic, heading into the season before a busy summer schedule.

“Every venue has met those challenges head on and delivered pitches and facilities that have enabled the players to showcase the best of the game to the fans who returned to attend cricket this summer.”

Simon Lee was also honoured with a recognition award for his first Test-match pitch at The Ageas Bowl for England men’s Test against West Indies last year.

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