Walter Lawrence Trophy
|Walter Lawrence Trophy|
|Awarded for||the fastest hundred scored in an English season in a first-class innings|
|Currently held by||Tom Kohler-Cadmore|
|Most awards||Ian Botham, Graham Lloyd, Leslie Ames, Viv Richards (2)|
The Walter Lawrence Trophy is an annual award made to the player who has scored the fastest century in English domestic county cricket that season, in terms of balls received (not counting wides). Hundreds are considered by a panel of experts which, as of 2017, comprise Michael Atherton, David Gower, Simon Hughes (cricketer) and John Barclay. Those which are adjudged to have been made against "declaration bowling" are not eligible for the award, although this restriction was not always observed in former years.
The Trophy was instituted in 1934 by Sir Walter Lawrence, a builder and cricket enthusiast from Hertfordshire, the first recipient being Frank Woolley. At this stage in its history, the criterion was the time taken to score a hundred rather than the number of balls faced. The award was made every season up to and including 1939, but in that year Sir Walter died, and for some years after the Second World War the Trophy was not awarded.
The Trophy was re-instated in 1966 by Brian Thornton, with the recipient now being the player who had scored the fastest England Test century in terms of balls faced, at home or away, in the calendar year. The 1970 award was made to Geoffrey Boycott for "the most meritorious innings of the England v The Rest of the World series", but in 1971 the original version of the award was restored. Since 1985, the Trophy has been decided in terms of balls faced rather than minutes spent at the crease.
University games were eligible for the Trophy until 1995 and from 2001 to 2003. Until 2007, only first-class centuries could qualify for the award, but eligibility was widened in 2008 to include limited overs cricket. Graham Napier became the first man to win the Trophy under these new conditions by scoring a 44-ball hundred in a Twenty20 match. Matches involving individual university sides (i.e. University Centre of Cricketing Excellence matches and the Varsity Match) are excluded, although games involving the combined British Universities team are eligible.
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