After a thrilling day’s cricket that left the match seemingly tilting in India’s favour, 150 plus revellers made the short walk from Edgbaston to Tally Ho Conference and Banqueting Centre for the nights’ festivities. We all knew that while our International Player of the Year remained at the crease, our chances of going one nil up were in jeopardy but that wasn’t going to dampen the party spirit. We were certainly hoping that Virat Kohli’s apparent joy at receiving the 2018 prize on top of the 2017 award wasn’t the inspiration behind him scoring more runs in the first innings than his total for the entire series on his last visit to Blighty!
As the guests arrived there a few eyebrows raised as they were serenaded to their seats by the Michael Bublé sound-alike solo singer Simon Cottingham before James ‘Greggy’ Gregg of BBC Radio Sheffield and 5Live kicked off the event proper.
We began with a very personal introduction to the benefiting charity Ataxia UK by Richard 'Bradders' Bradford. His daughter Megan suffers from this gradual debilitating incurable condition and there was hardly a dry eye in the room after a moving video was played outlining the plight of several sufferers. You can follow Bradders' fund raising activities on social media using the hashtag #miles4meg2018.
Our guest of honour Ashes Legend Jonathan Trott was the subject of the Heads and Tails fundraiser game that followed and all eyes were on him as Greggy asked a series of questions. He proved no help at all by placing one hand on his head and one on his backside! At last Billy ‘the Trumpet’ Cooper took to the stage and prefaced Curry and all the trimmings with a rousing rendition of Jerusalem instead of the more traditional saying of Grace.
Then it was time for the awards, as voted for by the membership and social followers and presented by Trotty:
• Barmy Army Colt of the Year – Luke Chapman
• Barmy Army Member of the Year – Matt Goss
• Women’s Player of the Year – Tammy Beaumont
• Young Player of the Year – Tom Curran
• International Player of the Year – Virat Kohli
• England Player of the Year – Jonny Bairstow
Playing commitments prevented personal appearances by the international players but we were grateful to Luke Chapman and his Dad for making the effort to attend. On his receipt of his award, the irrepressible Matt Goss led a chorus of the Ali Cook song.
You can view a video montage of the award winners .
After the award ceremony Greggy chaired an excellent, funny and revealing Q&A session with Trotty and Billy including questions from the floor. An auction followed with some superb lots including a mini break for 8 in a 5 Star Lodge in Cornwall and Full Hospitality in the New Balance Box at Anfield. Massive credit to Bradders for providing these amazing prizes.
The evening was brought to a climax as a packed floor danced along to another set of party anthems performed by Simon Cottingham who heroically performed encore after encore to an appreciative crowd before heading back up the motorway to Sheffield.
All in all, apart from being a brilliant fun event the most important aspect of the night - fund raising for Ataxia UK - proved extremely successful with £3,166 raised for the cause.
Thanks to everyone that contributed by attending the event and especially our sponsors and partners Greene King, Kingfisher Beer, Spaceship & Cornerstone
We now look forward to next year’s event which will be slap bang in the middle of the Ashes!