Bravo 2018: Stephen Hill & Barry Phillips

The Bravo is an annual award made to the person (or persons) who have made a significant contribution to the cause for Somerset CCC supporters. The winning recipient could be a player, club official, fellow supporter who has gone the extra mile, a member of the press – in fact, anyone who has championed Somerset County Cricket Club for the benefit and pleasure of our fans.

Previous winners include Lewis Gregory (who was the first recipient back in 2015), Jack Leach in 2016 and last season Ben Warren was the winner following all the great work he does to keep all Somerset supporters in touch with the latest action, whether they can attend games or live far away.

For the 2018 season the award is shared by the writing team of Stephen Hill and Barry Phillips. They have given us three fabulous books so far: Somerset Cricketers 1882-1914, Somerset Cricketers 1919-1939 and Somerset Cricketers 1946-1970. Stephen has written the next book in the series that covers all players who made their Somerset debut from 1971 until 2000, and will include biog’s for some true greats of the cider county.

You can read about the exploits of Botham, Richards & Garner from a time when Somerset stopped being glorious losers and put some trophies in the trophy cabinet. There will be memories of cult heroes like Denning, Burgess, Rose, Lathwell, Caddick and Turner. And the series will include players still wearing the Wyvern like Trescothick and Trego. And plenty more of course.

Somerset Cricketers 1971-2000 will be available to buy from May 2019 from Somerset County Sports and will be another belting read. A fifth book in the series is already planned that will bring the series bang up to date, looking at those players who debuted from 2001 to the end of the 2019 season.

This award is well-deserved as Stephen and Barry have worked hard to hand a fascinating guide to our glorious past, and times when it was not-so-glorious. I can only imagine how many hours they have spent reading through old documents, books or newspaper articles – painstaking research that has helped tell new and revised tales of our county’s cricketing past. In some cases they have actually changed history; finding players that have previously been forgotten about or correcting misapprehensions about the reputations of some players so that their memory is now reflected in a truer and much more accurate light.

There have been controversies – nothing more so than the infamous Battle of Shepton Mallet and all that happened before, during and after with Botham and Roebuck taking centre stage in that particular tussle. For the fourth volume time has been taken to ensure fair play applies to both sides when discussing this subject – and other delicate recollections for that matter – so that due respect is given to each opinion.

I am delighted to hand Stephen and Barry some champagne as a thank you from Somerset supporters. In fact David from the Somerset Cricket Museum says of the two gentlemen that ‘the whole County owes you an enormous vote of thanks.’

Indeed we all do.