USA Cricket Awards

New Inning Foundation USA Cricket Awards: 2014 Bart King Award for Lifetime Achievement - Samuel Plummer

2015 Dec 01 by DreamCricket USA

After recognizing USA’s standout performers on the field of play at the international level earlier this year with the fifth annual New Inning Foundation USA Cricket Awards, DreamCricket.com and New Inning Foundation are continuing a commitment to recognize other members of the USA cricket community who have made an outstanding contribution to the overall fabric of cricket in America.

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After recognizing USA’s standout performers on the field of play at the international level earlier this year with the fifth annual New Inning Foundation USA Cricket Awards, DreamCricket.com and New Inning Foundation are continuing a commitment to recognize other members of the USA cricket community who have made an outstanding contribution to the overall fabric of cricket in America. The recipient of the 2014 Bart King Award for Lifetime Achievement in American Cricket is Samuel Plummer. 
 This is the final award for 2014 (awarded during 2015).  Awards for 2015 calendar year will be announced during the second quarter of 2016.

In a country with so few turf pitches, there are even fewer pitch curators with the expertise to know how to produce a proper wicket for playing at club standard, let alone one good enough for international cricket. It’s why a man like Plummer is worth his weight in gold in the US cricket community. Nowhere was his presence more acutely felt than at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida.

Ever since USA’s only ICC-certified ODI stadium facility had opened in late 2007, the turf wicket was consistently dogged by a reputation for being low, slow and not conducive to hosting an entertaining and quality brand of cricket. A major opportunity came along in 2010 for the venue to showcase itself to the world as a worthy host for visiting Full Member countries when New Zealand and Sri Lanka agreed to play a series of T20 matches in May of that year. Unfortunately, the series was undermined by yet another poor pitch, as global TV viewers got to view what most cricket aficionados in the USA had been aware of for three years.

It was a short time later that Plummer arrived on the scene in south Florida and was hired as CBRP’s full-time groundsman. Before long, Plummer identified the problem lay in the soft sand foundation of the pitch which meant that consistent and true bounce would always be difficult to achieve without near round the clock maintenance. A man who carried the job as a cricket groundsman with immense pride – having been born and Jamaica before working as the curator at Chedwin Park, one of the country’s first-class venues – Plummer made it his mission to water and roll the Lauderhill pitch virtually nonstop.

By the time that New Zealand returned in June 2012 to play another pair of T20s against West Indies, Plummer spoke confidently that 180 would be a minimum score but that 200 was more realistic. Based on the ground’s history, his predictions appeared preposterous, but Dwayne Smith stroked the first ball of play back down the ground for six, the first indication that the pitch was finally playing true. Three balls later, Smith did it again. Two years earlier, Sri Lanka and New Zealand struggled to score 200 runs combined. Yet on this day, West Indies were able to set a then team record score of 209 for 2.

In all, Plummer stayed at the CBRP for a little more than two years before leaving in the fall of 2013. In the time since, the pitch has shown signs of regressing back to the state it was in before his arrival. However, with his reputation firmly in place, Plummer was hired by Houston businessman Sakhi Muhammad to be the first full-time groundsman at Smart Choice Moosa Stadium in Pearland, Texas. Already, the ground has received excellent reviews from players in its limited use since opening in 2014.

For some, catching the cricket bug produces a lifelong affliction with the sport but one which is generally tied to playing and watching the game. So how does one become so enamored with doing the long, slow grind of taking care of the pitch? The 54-year-old Plummer says his love affair with pitch preparation was established as a teenager back in Jamaica and has stayed with him ever since.

“It was way back as a little boy in Jamaica,” Plummer said. “As a 16-year-old, I used to go around the Jamaica sugar estate ground, loved cricket, used to practice. The groundsman there at the ground looked at me as someone who loved cricket and one day he asked me if in the evening if I’d like to stay back with him and do some work on the pitch. I say yes because anything for cricket, I love it.

“So I decided to stay and help him and he was amazed that as a 16-year-old I could I come up with such knowledge to work on the pitch on my own. When he came back he was satisfied with what I do. So then when I come from school, I used to go out and do a little thing on the side working on pitches, get a little money. That’s where it started.”
Congratulations to Samuel Plummer for being named this year’s Bart King Award winner for Lifetime Achievement in American Cricket. As part of this honor, Plummer will receive a DreamCricket.com gift certificate for $200 and a plaque recognizing his contributions to the United States cricket community sponsored by New Inning Foundation.