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One 'Eck of a season

Ned Eckersley rounded off his fantastic 2013 campaign by winning six awards at Leicestershire CCC’s presentation evening last night.

Eckersley, who amassed 1,302 first-class runs at an average of over 50 this summer as well as scoring 386 in the one-day arena, won the Cricketer of the Year award as well as the cherished Players’ Player of the Year honour.

The 24-year old also won the Livingston Cup for Batting in the First XI, as well as the John Josephs award for outstanding performance in the First XI following his 147 at Essex.

Eckersley scooped the Supporters’ Player of the Year award, which was decided by an online vote, and the Roger Goadby fielding award.

He said: “It has been a good season for me personally and, as a team, we came close to qualifying for a t20 quarter-final and a YB40 semi-final.

“The four-day cricket has not gone as we would have liked but there are positives that we can take forward. Young players like Angus Robson, Ollie Freckingham, Ben Raine, Tom Wells and James Sykes have all made their first-class debuts and that will stand them, and the team, in good stead for the future.

“I learnt a lot from playing county cricket last season and then worked hard with Ben Smith over the winter months. I started well at Hampshire, which always helps, and the weather has been better this year, which is always good for the batsmen.”

Ollie Freckingham’s impressive first season on the staff yielded 36 first-class wickets, which was Leicestershire’s highest tally, and that resulted in a brace of awards.

Freckingham won the Frank S Smith award for Bowling in the First XI as well as landing the Livingston Award for being the most improved uncapped player.

The paceman played in all but one of the LV=CC games in 2013, which was a fine achievement for somebody making their way in the game. The signs are also good for the future as Freckingham is already looking as to how he can improve.

He said: “I started the season expecting to play in the second team and maybe get a few first team games at the end, but injuries gave me my opportunity. It has gone well and the senior players and Lloyd Tennant have helped me a lot.

“But the margins for error at this level are very small. I would have liked to have ended the season as it started, so I now need to work on my consistency.”

The award for outstanding batting performance in the Second XI, the Livingston Cup, went to Michael Thornely for two unbeaten centuries at Glamorgan.

The Logan Trophy went to Catering Manager John Stew, who did a fantastic job in his first season back at Grace Road. Chief Executive Mike Siddall made that presentation and said the Club has received lots of nice comments about the quality of food and service. John thanked his team for all of the hard work they put in.

There were also special presentations to Claude Henderson and Matthew Hoggard on the night to mark their retirements from the professional game. Chairman Paul Haywood presented Henderson with a silver salver and Hoggard with a silver fox.

Henderson played in all three of Leicestershire’s t20 wins during ten glorious seasons at Grace Road, while Hoggard captained the side to the 2011 triumph.

Hoggard said: “I have enjoyed it at Grace Road and would like to thank everybody for their support while I have been here. Winning the t20 is something that will live long in the memory.

“I have not yet reflected on my career but when I do, I will have some good memories to look back on. And I’ll be twice as good then, as you are always twice as good when you have retired!”

Henderson said: “Looking back at the three t20 wins brings back a lot of memories, I have had a special time here. I have loved every minute playing at Leicestershire and would like to thank everyone for their support.”

* Thanks to Ed Melia for the photographs of Ned and Ollie, and his hard work on the night.


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