Cricketing stalwart Wes Allison received the VIP treatment at Lords in recognition of his 58-year ‘marriage’ to Caistor Cricket Club.
Wes was shortlisted for the Lifetime Achiever honour at the national finals of the Outstanding Service to Cricket Awards (OSCAs), held at the home of cricket last Tuesday.
The annual awards are organised by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to honour volunteers at county and club level.
And while Wes didn’t walk away with the award, he did get to rub shoulders with former England captain Michael Vaughan and current international Ollie Pope as well as fellow cricket devotees.
“It really made my year, it was out of this world,” Wes said.
“We were mingling with all the hierarchy and one or two England players were there.”
Wes travelled down with Caistor club chairman Ben Jacob, but almost didn’t make the trip.
“I was very surprised,” he said.
“The club nominated me to Lincolnshire and they nominated me to go and represent them.
“When I got the email I thought it was a bit of a wind-up.
“The club chairman asked me ‘have you replied to that email’, and I said ‘no it’s a wind-up’. But he told me it wasn’t and that I should reply.”
He added: “I’ve only done what other people would have done.
“I’ve had so many emails and comments from other cricketers, especially from the younger players, it’s been excellent.”
Accustomed to spending most of the time behind the scenes, Wes was centre stage again on Saturday when he a received a surprise lifetime achievement presentation at Caistor CC’s annual awards evening.
It was followed by personal messages from long-time clubmates Reg Percival, Allan Pennell, Tony Askew, Des Freeman and Gerry France and concluded with a message from Wayne Noon the former Caistor and Nottinghamshire county cricketer and current ECB Cricket Liaison Officer.
Kieran Brooker also presented Wes with a card from the players and Ernie Allison presented a salver from the club.
Wes’ association with the town club began as a 15-year-old when he made his debut as a fast bowler.
As well as a playing career which spanned 40 years and brought 1,600 wickets and 2,200 runs, Wes has also spent many years passing on the tricks of the bowler’s trade as a coach.
His near four decades of coaching began with the under 13s in 1967.
Wes has also dedicated more of his time to committee positions including a 12-year stint as secretary, and 31 seasons as fixtures secretary.
While the 73-year-old has finally passed on the baton for that role, Wes remains on the committee and still intends to spend as much time as possible at Caistor’s Brigg Road ground.
“I never married, but my marriage was to Caistor Cricket Club; I shan’t ever leave the club,” he said.
“I used to play football on a Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, and then cricket on a Sunday afternoon.
“This year I was at the ground every night of the week working with the under 13s, under 15s and under 11s.
“I don’t know what it is about cricket, you just make so many friends around the ground.”