CRICKET: Mitty thrilled to fly the flag for Oxfordshire

The Oxford Times: Roger Mitty at Cumnor Cricket Club, where he is standing down after 50 years working, latterly as chairman Roger Mitty at Cumnor Cricket Club, where he is standing down after 50 years working, latterly as chairman

BBC SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR

TOMORROW night, Roger Mitty will be part of the biggest sporting event in the country.

But he still refuses to fully accept he should be there.

Mitty will fly the flag for Oxfordshire at the 2013 BBC Sports Personality of the Year programme, having reached the country’s last 15 in the Unsung Hero category.

It is an honour which he admits is “humbling, proud and exciting”, but he is keen to try and play down his achievement. He shouldn’t.

Mitty is in his 50th year at Cumnor Cricket Club, and when he announced he felt the time was right to step down as chairman, members decided that the moment should be marked.

They put his name forward as one of the nation’s unsung heroes, and their judgement was correct when last month, Mitty was named the South regional winner.

He now joins the other 15 area champions from around the country in Leeds tomorrow night battling for the prestigious crown.

“I feel very privileged indeed,” Mitty said. “It’s such a thrill.

“I still can’t quite believe it because there are thousands of unsung heroes out there who do what I do.

“And we all do it because we love doing it and get so much pleasure from it.”

It was earlier this year that a health issue made up Mitty’s mind that the time was right to wind down his involvement.

But he says he would not have changed anything from his half-century at Cumnor, who this year won promotion back to the top flight of the Cherwell League .

“I have had a very serious eye condition this year,” he explained.

“In January, my retina detached in my right eye and I have been in and out of hospital.

“It was then that I said to the committee that I think it’s time that somebody else takes over as chairman.”

He added: “I was sitting in a coffee shop a few months later when my phone rang and I was told that I had been nominated for this award and had made the final three for the area.

“I was flabbergasted and feel very privileged indeed.”

Mitty’s long-service at Cumnor has brought many personal highlights.

“When you see people out there opening the batting or bowling and can remember helping them as a seven or eight-year-old as they start out, that’s a great feeling,” he said.

“I just feel that sport makes such a difference to the lives of people.

“If I, or anybody else, can help them, then that is just great.

“I have seen young men change. They start sport, and then become a totally different person. That’s what it can do to you.

“I have got so much satisfaction from what I have done.”

Mitty will go with wife Janice to tomorrow night’s awards.

“I have absolutely no expectation of winning,” he said.

“But it will certainly be a night to remember.

“In fact, Janice is the real unsung hero for putting up with me!”

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