DORSET Cricket Board (DCB) has won the County Cricket Board of the year gong at a prestigious national awards ceremony.

DCB beat 38 other organisations, many of whom are major counties, after being recognised as the best supporters of grassroots cricket by Chance to Shine.

The charity is responsible for the game in schools and communities across the country.

The awards evening was hosted online this year by the BBC’s Eleanor Oldroyd and was also joined by England cricketers Fran Wilson and Mady Villiers.

James Mitchell leads the DCB team and is supported by coaches Sean Fitzgerald, Rob Newton and Katrina Cole, overseen by Cricket Development Director Keith Brewer.

DCB was recognised for their inclusive approach which has led them to deliver the primary, secondary girls and street elements of the charity to a large number of children and young people.

Judges noted the importance of the team of coaches who inspire children to take part by ensuring that each child enjoys their sessions.

‘Glow in the dark’ cricket was among their engaging ideas.

Speaking to Echosport, Mitchell said: “I can’t believe it – we didn’t expect to be nominated.

“It’s funny, because when we hired Fitzy I said ‘I want to win the ‘County Board of the year’ award one day.’

“He laughed and said ‘these things don’t happen to Dorset!’ It was really nice to win it.”

“The past winners have included Middlesex, Gloucestershire, Durham – so a lot of first-class counties.

“I’d be surprised to see how many minor counties have won it, which makes it all the better.”

Mitchell also described the success of the ‘glow in the dark’ scheme.

“The street projects which we run in Weymouth, Poole and Bournemouth have seen steady growth and Weymouth has been really successful with Harry (Mitchell) and Sean,” he said.

“Across the board, we’ve just grown things year on year. Pre lockdown one, in March, we were projected to have our best-ever year.

“We’d hit our targets for participation in schools and we would have smashed it.

“We’ve done a lot of work on impact – how does it impact on an individual level?

“We put together an impact report, which has all the stats in it. Then, these are the individual case studies where it’s had this effect.

“One kid was sat in an assembly, thought he’d give it a go and now he plays for West Dorset within a year – it can have a big impact on an individual level.

“Also, we’ve tried to innovate. We started delivering glow in the dark cricket to try and get more girls involved. At Bincombe, 29 girls came so it showed it was a really good hook.”