2 Special Awards in Memory of Bill

First Award by Northampton County Cricket Club



The Bill Sohal Award is a new and very important addition to the county awards event Because of that fact and because of the background of the award I’m going to take a few minutes to explain why this is such an important award and to tell you a little about the late, great Bill Sohal. I hope I can do so without choking-up!

Bill passed away very suddenly on 2nd December last year aged 50, leaving his 2 sons
Imraj and Vicram and his wife Pally. Both boys are here tonight and in a few minutes
I will ask Imraj to present the award – so Imraj would you please make your way onto the stage alongside Andrew.

Vicram, as many of you will know, has been in our system for 7 years, starting as an
Under 11 and coming through the pathway of EPP, into Academy and more recently onto the full England Development Programme where he continues to impress everyone he comes across, not only as a cricketer, but as a young leader, and as a fine young man.

I know - and Vicram knows – how proud Bill was of Vicram’s achievements – just as he was similarly proud of Imraj’s academic achievements in the field of law. Both boys have a great future ahead. That’s no surprise to anyone who knew Bill –I know that not many of you here this evening will NOT have had that pleasure, and let me tell you that it was always a great pleasure to spend any time with Bill.

A week before his sudden death, Bill took Kevin, David Ripley and myself out for a
few beers to say thanks for our efforts – and this is something he had talked about
doing for quite some time. Given that a week later Bill was to pass away, I know I
can speak for us all in saying that we were hugely shocked and saddened but we were also glad we were able to get together and spend a great evening together.

On that night – on any night – on any day, win/lose/draw/rain stop play whatever ….
Bill was just a lovely, lovely man. He was always warm, charming, funny, witty,
He was interested in you and your issues, and always willing to offer support, help,
advice, whatever he could. People talk about someone being a “people person”
well they could be describing Bill.

If you DID ever meet Bill, you had a pretty clear picture of what he was about – he had a joy and a love of life and people and a clear and deep love of his family life. Part of this life was his love of cricket, and it’s in memory of Bill’s love of cricket and to reflect Bill’s own strengths as a man and as a leader.

Bill was an inspirational leader – both to his family and to his colleagues in the law
firm where he was a partner. Not only was Bill good fun to be around, but he worked incredibly hard at work and at play, not only that but he had time and care for the people roundabout him, as I’ve said he cared about and wanted to help people. At his funeral I heard so many stories from people from all walks of life who had come across Bill – and it was clear that he inspired so many people.
And I for one found that a very humbling and an inspiring event – and though I only
knew Bill over recent years I am proud to have known him and he has, in his own
way, influenced and inspired me. So to the award – well what I would say is that the winner of this award needs to be a very special young person –and the winner is such a person –I know that Bill would be thrilled to see them as the first winner. In typical Sohal generous fashion the family will present a new award every year under this heading – meaning that whoever wins the trophy has it for life.

The first winner of the Bill Sohal award for Inspirational Captaincy is a young person
that I have seen in this hall possibly 60 times over the years and I can honestly
say that I have never seen them giving anything other than their best every time.
I have seen them literally throw-up after a bleep test and I’ve seen them fighting back the tears when they’ve been pinned by the bowling machine – which happens less often nowadays than it once did!

All the coaches here have seen them work incredibly hard over many years to develop their game – Showing tremendous commitment to continue to battle and strive to achieve the same levels of others who may have been stronger and faster – they never flinched, never grumbled and were always being looked up to by their peers as an example. It’s difficult for young people to be overtly inspirational, but this young person pretty much inspires and impresses everyone they come across.

As a captain of their team, this skipper led their side to great success – and whilst their own runs, wickets and catches were crucial, I’m told that more important was their captaincy and personal leadership of the team. This doesn’t surprise me.

I happened to be at their school on Monday where I heard again – no surprise to me – great praise for their achievements on and off the field – and they were quoted by the school as a role-model for others to follow. All of this was coincidental – I had gone their to talk about something completely different – but the school were bursting to tell me all about them – that’s when you know that this person is inspiring others.

We have already heard a little about this individual’s achievement as a cricketer
as a winner of one of the Young Professional Awards earlier this evening. This award is for inspirational leadership, commitment and motivation – very tough criteria – and a very very deserving winner. I’d like to ask Imraj to now present the award and I’d like you to please show your appreciation to the family for donating this award and for the first winner of the Bill Sohal Award: Emily Ablitt!

Phil Rowe (Performance Coach)
Northamptonshire County Cricket Club.


The Bill Sohal Prize for Dual Achievements is awarded in memory of the late Bill Sohal who tragically died in late 2010.
Father of Vicram, he was a staunch supporter of Bedford School and of Bedford School cricket in particular.
Bill’s appetite for knowledge, experience and his pursuit of success was an inspiration to all who knew him.
As a man who firmly believed in always setting the highest of standards and in the importance of character --- his family have donated a prize in his memory.

It is to be awarded annually to a Sixth form boy who , whilst maintaining high academic standards , has also pursued excellence to the highest of standards in another discipline and in so doing showed the character and leadership necessary to inspire others .

In recognition of his academic standards alongside the pursuit in: FENCING
The Bill Sohal Prize for Dual Achievements is awarded to: CHRIS LAWRENCE

granny and me 1

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