Lee Fortis, Head of Surrey’s Ground Staff, has been named joint winner of the coveted Bernard Flack Memorial Trophy at the 2022 Grounds Manager of the Year Awards.
Fortis has been Head of the Ground Staff since 2012 and previously won the Bernard Flack trophy in 2018, this year he also received a commendation in the One Day award.
The award is decided by collating the pitch ratings from Match Referees for multi-day cricket over the course of the season. This year, there was an unprecedented five-way tie for the award between Fortis, Gary Barwell (Edgbaston), Adrian Llong (Spitfire St Lawrence, Canterbury); Karl McDermott (Lord’s) and Andy Ward (Uptonsteel County Ground, Leics) – only the second time it has been shared in the 50-year history of the award.
In the Outground category, Joel Cheng who looks after the ground at Guildford CC was named runner-up behind Josh Marden at Beckenham who clinched the award.
Speaking after the awards evening, Lee Fortis said “It’s nice to have the hard work and effort that all the team put in over the course of the whole year recognised. I’d like to thank all the team who work at The Kia Oval and congratulations to the other winners on the night.”
Alec Stewart, Director of Cricket at Surrey CCC, said “Congratulations to Lee and the team who put in a huge amount of time and effort throughout the year. They fully deserve recognition for producing surfaces that give an even contest between bat and ball and have resulted in some terrific games of cricket at The Kia Oval this year.”
ECB Pitch and Grounds Advisor, Andy Mackay, said: “It’s important to acknowledge the quality and consistency of our pitches and the awards winners fully deserve this recognition for their efforts over the summer.
“The quality of work from all ground staff, not just those who won awards, must also be recognised within the context of the heavy weight of fixtures and relentless training which puts considerable demands on the teams across the county network.
“Behind every pitch is a person and a group of individuals who consistently go above and beyond to deliver what the game needs, and they should feel rightly proud of their efforts.
“Every venue has again risen to the challenge admirably and delivered playing and practice facilities that have enabled the players to showcase the best of the game for the fans this summer.”