Sports Awards 2012: Back on track Town look to bright future
Hinckley Town Cricket Club can look back on the year with a good deal of pleasure – and it has been some time since they have been able to do that.
One of the traditional giants of club cricket in Leicestershire, Hinckley had fallen on lean times and back-to-back relegations saw them slide from the Everards League Premier Division down to Division Two.
But they fought back strongly in 2012 and are among the contenders for the Club of the Year trophy in this year's Leicester Mercury Sports Awards.
Hinckley's season saw them earn promotion back to Division One, while an additional success came in the shape of promotion from Division Five for their second team.
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With 13 age-group sides now representing the club – which has also forged a direct link with Leicester's City Cricket Academy – the immediate outlook for Hinckley appears a good deal more promising than in recent times.
"One job is done, with us winning promotion," said chairman Don Bhagawati. "But while we have been doing that, a few other things have happened which have been very positive and we are now looking to get third and fourth teams up and running, probably for 2014, which will help youngsters get a feel for senior cricket."
Bhagawati, who is also director of the City Academy, puts a good deal of store in youth cricket and has worked to establish a pathway which will help young players move from age-group cricket to the adult game.
"Any club that wants to go forward has to have kids coming through," he said.
"Next year we will try to enhance that and have more and more games for them to play in."
He is also aware, though, that the Hinckley club have to build on the successes they enjoyed in 2012 if they are to get back among the elite of local clubs.
Having bought back their ground from Leicestershire CCC in 2010, the facilities are there for a top-class club to re-emerge from the shadows.
"We have 16 pitches on the square and it is one of the better grounds that you will come across," said Bhagawati.
"Things are back on track now and we want to carry on moving forward. We want to build a stronger first team and seek promotion again, though we know it isn't going to be easy."
There are 14 categories in the sports awards: sportsman, sportswoman, manager/coach, team, under-19 team, club, young sportsman, young sportswoman, junior sportsman (14 and under), junior sportswoman, community, Active4Life, lifetime achievement and the Neville Hamilton Award.
To nominate an athlete or team, complete the form below. Nominations close on December 4.