Prestigious award for Cirencester stalwart Phil

PHIL Carter’s magnificent service to Cirencester, cricket in the Cotswolds and the county of Gloucestershire has been recognised with a prestigious groundcare award.

Cricket website has presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to a man who has made an indelible mark on the sport, both on and off the pitch.

Phil, who is 72, began his association with Cirencester at the age of 15 and it’s almost easier to mention the role he has not filled – fixture secretary – rather than list his contributions over such an extended period of time.

The chartered accountant started out as a tearaway fast bowler before captaining both the 2nds and the 3rds, while he’s been groundsman for 30 years and is now in his third stint as treasurer.

Phil’s a life member at Ciren, while he has also served as chairman of the Cotswold District Cricket Association for 30 years and has been treasurer of the Gloucestershire Cricket Foundation for well over 25 years, back to the days when it was known as the Gloucestershire Cricket Association. And he continues to put in countless hours of work behind the scenes despite recent serious health issues.

He said:

“The award came as quite a surprise, I had no idea. I’ve always been involved in doing something, even when I was 15. Back then, I was a wicketkeeper/batsman at school and couldn’t get a bowl which is what I wanted to do, so I formed my own team – Barton Lane – found a ground and borrowed a roller which I pushed through the town to make it playable.”

Phil, who has received great support from wife Judy as they approach their 50th wedding anniversary, added:

“From the start I loved the camaraderie of cricket. It used to be played as hard as nails out in the middle, but I always loved the chat and the social stuff afterwards. And I’m very proud of how Cirencester have gone from strength to strength over the years.”

Gloucestershire Cricket Foundation chief executive Steve Silk said:

“Phil has been an incredible stalwart and is one of those people everyone seems to know and everyone has a story about. He’s put in a tremendous amount behind the scenes for Cirencester, cricket in the Cotswolds plus the Foundation, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this recognition.”

The citation states:

“Phil has looked after the ground at Cirencester, tending two squares – one 15-wicket monster and one six- strip top square.

“The cricket played at the club has doubled in the last ten years, offering structured sport to over 300 players from the age of seven upwards. He has worked miracles and continues to deliver a huge amount without complaint and even does the unusual thing of smiling occasionally.

“This seems like a groundsman’s lot, but Phil is a bit special. In the winter of 2018/19 he underwent major surgery for bladder cancer, resulting in the removal of most of his internal plumbing (his words).

“To come through this and then to be confronted with Covid, he rose to the occasion. Instead of fully shielding he made the club part of his bubble.

“In the early days of lockdown he maintained the squares in good order and as things eased he accelerated prep to ensure the club could play within days of the return to cricket protocols being agreed.

“He is continuing to prepare countless wickets on both squares in this truncated but busy period. All whilst effectively shielding and performing tasks whilst distanced and when the ground is empty. He has given a lifetime of service to Cirencester, the Cotswolds and local cricket.”

Sign up to the Gloucestershire Cricket Foundation newsletter