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20th November 2012
Denning Wins Coach of the Year
Denning Wins Coach of the Year
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Over a decade's commitment to disabled cricket received well-deserved recognition on Saturday evening when Lancashire's Bobby Denning won the Coach of the Year award at the Deaf Sports Personality of the Year Dinner which was held at Coventry's Ricoh Arena.

Denning, who is also the Lancashire Cricket Board's Cricket Development Manager for Greater Manchester, coaches the England Deaf squad and received his award from the former England captain Mike Gatting.

And there was a double reason for cricketers to celebrate at the high-profile dinner when the England Deaf captain Umesh Valjee won the Deaf Sports Personality of the Year award.

Denning's work with disabled cricketers is wide-ranging and includes spells as head coach of England's Learning Disability side and as stand-in coach of the England's Blind team.

But it is with the England Deaf team that he is chiefly associated. Appointed as head coach in 2009, Denning was a key part of the team which led the deaf team on their very successful tour of Australia in 2011, when they won five and lost one of their seven games, drawing the single Test Match.

Despite this record of success, the Poulton-le-Fylde based coach insisted that he was "surprised and embarrassed" to win his award, even though he knew of the nomination.

"The idea is that I'm there to improve the team and it's for the players to take any of the glory," he said.

"Nonetheless, I do appreciate the award because it shows that the deaf community recognise the work I do with hearing impaired players.”

In barely a week Denning will be on his travels again, this time to Bengaluru as assistant coach of the England Blind team as they seek to win the first-ever T20 World Cup.

"What you get with Bobby is that he coaches the player not the sport," said Ian Martin, the ECB's National Disabilities Manager.

"He strives to help cricketers become as good at the game as they can be and nothing's too much trouble for him, even to the extent of giving up his evenings and weekends to work with players.

"What is remarkable is that he does all this in addition to his work for the LCB and the Spanish national team, which he also coaches."

Paul Edwards

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