Lancashire Cricket Club have chosen head groundsman Matt Merchant for the first David Hodgkiss OBE award for his outstanding service to the club.

Merchant was presented with the award by Acting Chairman, Les Platts, during the club’s Annual General Meeting last week.

With 30 years service at Lancs, Merchant was chosen by the Board for the work he put in through the summer in preparation for behind-closed-doors action.

Emirates Old Trafford became the first ground recently to prepare for three Test matches in a row, as Merchant and his team worked tirelessly to make sure the pitch was in top condition for the England’s last two West Indies Test matches and the first Test match against Pakistan over the summer.

The ground has also hosted Vitality IT20 matches, a Royal London ODI and a selection of Vitality Blast North Group contests in 2020.

Lancashire Cricket Chief Executive, Daniel Gidney, said: “David was Lancashire through-and-through, and this annual award has been created to commemorate individuals who go over-and-above and continue his passion for the Red Rose.

“What Matt and his team have achieved this summer is nothing short of extraordinary. To have such an enormous amount of cricket in such a condensed period of time and yet consistently achieve a superb standard of pitch is remarkable.

“Matt is a completely deserving winner of this award and we are proud to say he is a part of the Red Rose family.”

Speaking on receiving the award, Merchant said: “I am overwhelmed and delighted to be chosen as the first winner of the David Hodgkiss OBE award.

“This is a team effort and I would like to thank every one of the groundstaff for their hard work and determination. It has not been without its challenges, but every single one of them has worked tirelessly to make sure we could host cricket this summer.”

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