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Outstanding Contribution award winner Mike Smith says Sky Sports ECB Coach Education scheme has huge impact

Smith: a passion for coaching

Blagdon Cricket Club Coach, Mike Smith, won the coveted Sky Sports ECB Outstanding Contribution to cricket award 2012.

"I have loved every minute and to see a young player go on and achieve like Steve Harmison or Graeme Swann makes my passion for coaching worthwhile."

Mike Smith

Mike, 80, is a veteran of the game, having started coaching in 1968. Even now he still manages to lend a hand at Blagdon CC, his home club.

Previously to his association with Blagdon CC he worked with Northumberland Colts teams and helped to develop the likes of Steve Harmison and Graeme Swann, whilst also playing a pivotal role in the Northumberland Coaches Association until 2005.

Earlier this year, to mark his nomination for the award and as part of the Sky Sports ECB Coach Education's 'Reward and Recognition' scheme, Mike attended the second Investec Test Match against South Africa at Headingley.

He was presented with a special coaching certificate, on the pitch, by former Australian International and Sky Sports cricket analyst, Shane Warne.

Commenting on his award, Mike said: "It is an honour to be recognised by Sky Sports and the ECB to win the Outstanding Contribution award.

"I have dedicated so much time to developing grassroots cricket for many years now and this award really is the icing on the cake. I have loved every minute and to see a young player go on and achieve like Steve Harmison or Graeme Swann makes my passion for coaching worthwhile.

"I can honestly say that in my many years of coaching, I have not seen anyone or anything make as huge an impact on coaching as the Sky Sports ECB Coach Education scheme."

Commenting on the achievement, England batsman Jonathan Trott, said: "Mike Smith is a deserving recipient of this award having provided top quality grassroots cricket coaching in Northumberland for more than 40 years.

"The fact that he is still helping out at Blagdon CC at 80 years of age is a testament to his drive, enthusiasm and love for the game.

"If other coaches in Northumberland can learn from him, with aid from the Sky Sports ECB Coach Education programme, cricket in England and Wales will be in safe hands."

For more information about Sky Sports ECB Coach Education Programme, visit www.skysports.com/coaching.