A new T20 cricket podcast developed by Warwickshire County Cricket Club and BBC WM has been named Innovation of the Year at the England & Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Business of Cricket Awards (BOCA) at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester.

Hosted by BBC WM’s Richard Wilford and Bears fast bowler Oliver Hannon-Dalby, the first series of the Bears PodBlast saw weekly episodes released during the seven weeks of the Vitality Blast season to give fans the inside story of the Birmingham Bears 2018 campaign.

It’s been great to see the PodBlast develop and huge thanks go to Richard and Olly for creating such a great listen for Bears fans.

Tom Rawlings

With special guests from the Bears squad appearing in the studio with Olly and Richard each week, including batsmen Ian Bell, captain Grant Elliott, Sport Director Ashley Giles and many more, the PodBlast was available to listen on BBC iPlayer and to download on all podcast providers, increasing its exposure to a national audience.

Additionally, discussion in the PodBlast with Ian Bell about his England aspirations and Grant Elliott announcing his retirement from the professional game subsequently featured on the BBC Sport website homepage and was picked up by several other global media outlets.

“It’s fantastic to see the Bears PodBlast recognised at such an illustrious awards event in its first season,” said Tom Rawlings, Head of Media at Warwickshire CCC.

“The concept was initially discussed in the 2017 season, which was followed by detailed planning meetings with the BBC WM team over the winter and recording in July and August. It’s been great to see it develop and huge thanks go to Richard and Olly for creating such a great listen for Bears fans.

“The PodBlast has been well supported by our fans and there’s plenty of discussions taking place about the future how we can take forward for the 2019 Vitality Blast.”

The ECB BOCAs celebrate business excellence across the 18 First Class counties and the MCC, with Warwickshire CCC named as one of eight award winners on the night.

Gordon Hollins, ECB Chief Operating Officer said: “Nights like tonight give us the chance to say thank you and to recognise the work put in by the hundreds of staff who play a vital role in delivering the success of our professional game.

“Alongside our well deserving winners I’d like to pay tribute to all of the shortlisted nominees, you are all making a huge difference.

“The BOCAs allow us to celebrate the work going on across the country to enable our domestic game to thrive, and to help our counties learn from a wide range of speakers at our Business of Cricket Conference.”

All seven episodes of the Bears PodBlast are available to listen via BBC iPlayer or to download from your preferred podcast provider.