Six special candidates nominated from the Cricket NSW community have been announced as finalists for the 2018 NSW Community Sports Awards to be presented on Thursday 21 June at NSW Parliament House.

The event is sponsored by Sport NSW and features numerous categories including Community Coach of the Year, Community Sport Administrator of the Year and several others.

Six of the eight Cricket NSW nominations selected for the awards were named as finalists.

Community Coach of the Year – David Williams – Penrith Junior Cricket Association

Williams was the key driver behind the creation of the first all girls’ cricket competition – the Thunder Girls’ Cricket League – in the Penrith region two seasons ago. The competition included seven teams within the Under 13 age group.

Over the past three years, Williams has been responsible for organising the representative programs for junior girls competing in the Under 13 Mollie Dive Shield and Under 15 Margaret Peden Shield.

He is also the head coach of that Under 15 side and has the responsibility of teaching the coaches of other female under age teams in the area.

Young Coach of the Year – Sean McAllister – Thornleigh Cricket Club

McAllister is a passionate representative cricketer, who became involved as the coach of the Thornleigh – Perry Under 13 team last season, primarily because his sister wanted to play.

He readily took on the mantle of coach when no one else could and did not want the team to miss out on the opportunity to play.

McAllister has led this group – who were not cricketers before – to aspire to higher levels of play.

Community Sport Administrator – Brad Speering – South Coast Junior Cricket Association

As Treasurer of Gerringong Cricket Club and Board Member of the South Coast Junior Cricket Association, Speering has worked tirelessly to increase junior membership.

He is the key driver behind the implementation of the MILO T20 Blast in the region.

In the first year of the junior program, the number of children grew from zero to 56 at his club alone. Over 100 children participated across the South Coast area in the inaugural year.

When Speering took over as Junior Secretary, there were only six SCDCA clubs that had junior teams. At the end of last season, all nine clubs in the Association were represented by a team.

Community Team of the Year – NSW Blind Cricket Team

At the second annual National Cricket Inclusion Championships, the NSW Blind Cricket team claimed the blind and vision impaired title for the first time with a hard fought three-run victory over Victoria and went through the competition undefeated.

NSW played the final pool game and NCIC final with only 10 players due to sight category restrictions and work commitments for one of the players.

Community Club of the Year – Thornleigh Cricket Club

Thornleigh last season organised the Milo In2Cricket program, Milo T20 Blast program and held a successful Pink Stumps Day in support of the McGrath Foundation.

Over past years, the Club has grown exponentially from one junior and senior team to nine junior and two senior sides including the addition of two girls’ teams that accommodates a young player with a vision impairment.

Thornleigh were finalists in the Under 15 and Fifth Grade T20 competitions within the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai and Hills District Cricket Association.

Distinguished Long Service – James Brennan

The involvement of Mr Brennan with Newcastle cricket spans 69 years including 40 of those as an officiating umpire.

In 1987, Mr Brennan became the first Public Officer of the Newcastle Junior Cricket Association and was appointed Zone Co-Ordinator.

He has been a Junior Representative Selector for 40 years, and Representative Coach for 10 years. Mr Brennan has also served as a selector with the Catholic Schools Central Zone.

Since 1976, it is estimated that he has officiated in over 1,300 fixtures and 120 primary and high school matches.