The England and Wales Cricket Board is to widen the range and role of Cricket Liaison Officers (CLOs) across the county game this summer and appoint five new recruits to help support the county game.
They join the four originally appointed for the 2015 season – Graham Cowdrey, Stuart Cummings, Tony Pigott and Phil Whitticase – plus former international umpire Steve Davis, who joined the panel of CLOs last summer.
With the panel now doubled to 10, the aim is to have a CLO at every match in both divisions of the Specsavers County Championship, and both the North and South Groups of the NatWest T20 Blast and the Royal London One-Day Cup.
They will be managed by Andy Smith, a former Surrey all-rounder who re-joins the ECB in a new role as Cricket Operations Manager after eight years working as Operations Manager and High Performance Director for Hockey Australia.
Andy Smith said: “I’m delighted to be back in cricket at the ECB, in an interesting and challenging new role. The Cricket Liaison Officers were introduced to county cricket in 2015 with the twin aims of supporting groundsmen and umpires, with the capacity to attend all four days of a Championship match, unlike Pitch Liaison Officers in the past.
“After encouraging feedback following the introduction of this role two years ago, the CLO will now have more decision-making responsibility in the areas of discipline and the rating of pitches. It’s a positive step forward to support the county game and will enable us to provide coverage across all matches for the first time.”
There have also been two additions to the Reserve List of First-Class Umpires for the 2017 season: the former Derbyshire and Sussex batsman Mark Newell; and James Middlebrook, the former Essex, Northamptonshire and Yorkshire off-spinner who came out of retirement to make six appearances in Yorkshire’s Championship-winning campaign in 2015.
Background on ECB’s Cricket Liaison Officers:
Dean Cosker (appointed 2017) – left-arm spinner who retired at the end of the 2016 summer after a 21-season career with Glamorgan, in which he took 597 first-class wickets, another 360 in white-ball cricket, and was a member of their Championship-winning team in 1997.
Tim Boon (appointed 2017) – former Leicestershire batsman who moved on to a long and successful coaching career - at Grace Road, as a member of England’s backroom staff in the 2005 Ashes triumph, and most recently with England Under-19s.
Graham Cowdrey (appointed 2015) – son of the great Kent and England batsman Colin, and younger brother of another former England captain Chris, he had a fine first-class career himself from 1984 to 1997, since when his wide variety of experiences have included acting as Van Morrison’s chauffeur. One of the original four CLOs appointed in 2015.
Stuart Cummings (appointed 2015) – another of the original four CLOs, but Cummings came from outside the game, with the ECB’s Umpires Manager Chris Kelly keen to recruit the knowledge he had gained over almost three decades as a leading rugby league referee, and then as the Rugby Football League’s Match Officials Director. Cricketing experience included two List A appearances for Cheshire.
Steve Davis (appointed 2016) – London-born but Australian-raised, he was added to the panel of CLOs last summer and relished the experience of county cricket after numerous trips to England in his 25-year career as an umpire which included 57 Tests, 135 ODIs and 26 T20Is.
Richard Ellison (appointed 2017) – former Kent and England swing bowler who played 11 Tests and 14 one-day internationals, playing a key part in the Ashes victory of 1985. Has played a key role in the development of numerous county and international cricketers as a teacher at Millfield School in Somerset.
Wayne Noon (appointed 2017) – former Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire wicketkeeper, who then worked for 14 years at Trent Bridge as assistant to director of cricket Mick Newell, before standing down last autumn.
Tony Pigott (appointed 2015) – former Sussex and Surrey seamer who played a single Test for England in New Zealand in 1984. He then worked as chief executive at Sussex and had been one of the ECB’s Pitch Liaison Officers for several years before being appointed as one of the original CLOs ahead of the 2015 summer.
Lloyd Tennant (appointed 2017) – former Leicestershire seamer who was involved at Grace Road for more than two decades, serving in a number of coaching roles including bowling coach and academy director before leaving at the end of the 2015 season. He also worked as England Under-19 bowling coach in two World Cups.
Phil Whitticase (appointed 2015) – another former Leicestershire stalwart, who spent 31 seasons with the club, beginning as a wicketkeeper in 1984, and ending when he stepped down as director of cricket at the end of the 2014 season. He was appointed one of the original four CLOs ahead of the following summer.