James and Lauren honoured by the Cricket Writers Club

Somerset’s James Rew and Lauren Filer were amongst those to be honoured at the annual Cricket Writers’ Club Awards Lunch at the London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, today (Monday, November 27th).

James won the NV Play Young Cricketer of the Year, the club’s oldest award (dating back to 1950), following a breakthrough season with Somerset where the 19-year-old wicketkeeper scored over 1,000 runs in Division One of the County Championship, including five hundreds.

Lauren was chosen as the Club’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year, an award that recognises a rising star of the women’s game, after making both her Test and ODI debuts for England this year, with the fast bowler the leading wicket-taker in a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka.

James joins a select group of Somerset cricketers, including Ian Botham, Mark Lathwell and team-mate Tom Banton, to win an award that has been voted for by the CWC’s membership since 1950 following a fine season where he starred with both bat and gloves, including an innings of 221 against a strong Hampshire attack. Yet, remarkably the teenager, who has already represented both England Under-19s and the England Lions, once struggled to turn fifties into hundreds. “I think it does help playing longer-format cricket,” he said. “Obviously growing up, I wouldn’t have played much four-day stuff. Knowing that you’ve got time on your side and just have to keep going for the team and keep digging in.” Previous recipients of the Young Cricketer of the Year award have amassed over 2,500 Test caps between them and Rew is keen to join that list. “I feel like my game’s got quite a long way to go if I want to play at the highest level, but I’ll always aspire to be there and I’d love to play Test match cricket for England,” he said.

22-year-old fast bowler Lauren had the rare distinction, in modern women’s international cricket, of making her England debut in the lone Test of the multi-format Ashes before finishing a fine season with eight wickets in three ODIs against Sri Lanka at an impressive low average of 10.25. “It’s been a fantastic season this year, a bit of a whirlwind. It’s strange to say that my debut was a Test debut because I don’t think many people have done that [in women’s cricket]. But it was awesome.” She added that playing in the Hundred had helped prepare her for the increased scrutiny and pressure associated with the international game. Now she hopes there will be even greater television coverage of women’s domestic cricket. “Obviously the profile of the Hundred helps, and hopefully the domestic game will get more televised games,” she said. “I know there was a few double-headers this year, which is obviously a really good thing as well, it just makes the women’s game more heard of. I think it’s easier to go from regional cricket into international cricket when you have that balance of media coverage.”

Elsewhere, Harry Brook became just the second winner of the Bob Willis Trophy – to recognise England’s player of the year, male or female, while there was recognition for an array of talents in the 2023 Cricket Writers’ Club awards.

Brook received the award, named after the outstanding former England fast bowler and broadcaster, just two years after being voted the CWC’s Young Cricketer of the Year, following a run of impressive innings for the Test team, as well as helping England win the 2022 T20 World Cup.

For the second year in a row, Nat Sciver-Brunt won the Women’s Cricket Award, in association with JM Finn, following her remarkable exploits during an Ashes series where England fought back to end the campaign all square at 8-8.

Alex Lees was named the LV County Championship Player of the Year after a prolific campaign where the Durham batsman scored more than 1,300 runs, including five centuries, at an average of over 70.

Alfie Pyle, from the England Learning Disability team, was named the Lord’s Taverners Disability Cricketer of the Year.

The Peter Smith Award for outstanding presentation of cricket to the public went to the BBC broadcaster Kevin Howells, while the Derek Hodgson Book Award was given to Nicholas Brookes for ‘An Island’s Eleven’, a history of Sri Lankan cricket.

Full list of winners:

Bob Willis Trophy for England Player of the Year, sponsored by Smile Group Travel – Harry Brook

JM Finn Women’s Cricket Award – Nat Sciver-Brunt

NV Play Young Cricketer of the Year – James Rew

LV Insurance County Championship Player of the Year – Alex Lees

Emerging Cricketer of the Year – Lauren Filer

Peter Smith Award – Kevin Howells

Derek Hodgson Book Award – Nicholas Brookes for “An Island’s Eleven”

Lord’s Taverners Disability Cricketer of the Year – Alfie Pyle

CWC Chair Dean Wilson said: “Huge congratulations to all our award winners who were rightly celebrated at a fantastic event for more than 320 members and guests. “Players such as Harry Brook and Lauren Filer have entertained us all in a memorable year for the game while the story of Alfie Pyle’s progression from Super 1s to the England learning disability team is a triumph.”