Andy O’Connor came through the junior system at Northants playing for both the Academy and Second XI. The remainder of his 25-year playing career consisted of playing in the Birmingham League, and predominantly the Northamptonshire Premier League, also representing the county in the Northants Amateur League XI.
Whilst playing local league cricket, Andy pursued a 25-year career in Civil Engineering, working as a Design Engineer for Civil Engineering Consultants, before making the switch to cricket coaching.
Andy is an ECB Level 3 coach (2006) and is also a member of the Northamptonshire ECB Coach Education team. He is part of the junior coaching setup at Northants, having coached most age groups, both boys and girls. He is currently Coach of the new U18s boy’s squad, having coached the u17s Boys team during their ECB National Championship 3 day and 1 day cup winning seasons of 2017 and 2019. Andy was head coach of the Northants Women’s squad, the “Steelettos”, for 8 seasons, and also headed up the Northants Girls Emerging Players Programme (EPP), whilst also working on the boys Academy and EPP Coaching teams. He was also head coach at the Moulton College Cricket Academy for 5 years, one of the students being Olly Stone (Northants, Warwickshire, & England); with others moving on to MCCU cricket.
Andy has been a coach at Stowe School for the past five years, seeing some cricketer’s progress to MCCU and County 2nd XI cricket. In 2010 Andy was voted National Chance to Shine MCC Spirit of Cricket Coach of the Year.
Matt Oldfield is the author of Unbelievable Football (winner of the 2020 Children’s Sports Book of the Year) and Johnny Ball: Accidental Football Genius, as well as the co-author of Play Like Your Football Heroes, Ultimate Cricket Superstars and the bestselling Ultimate Football Heroes series. To date, his books have sold over a million copies worldwide. In association with his writing, Matt works with schools and organisations such as The National Literacy Trust and The National Football Museum to deliver football-based literacy workshops.
Caleb Jude Packham is an internationally renowned yoga teacher with 25 years experience in the wellness industry. He is on a mission to assist men to achieve their highest potential through yoga, media and events. With bags of life experience to inform him on his mission, this modern-day renaissance man is a writer, actor, VJ, philanthropist and activist. He began his acting career in Australia, where he worked in theatre and TV, becoming a TV presenter for both MTV and the Nine Network Australia. He has been based in the UK since 2005.
In 2018, he co-founded Wellness Warrior, a yoga and lifestyle brand delivering physical, emotional and spiritual fitness. Caleb and Wellness Warrior Co-Founder Jarod Chapman have secured a book deal with Bloomsbury Publishing to write a guy-friendly guide for yoga newbies – to be released spring 2022.
Ned Palmer is the author of the incredible, bestselling and marvellous A Cheesemonger’s History of the British Isles (Profile Books, 2019) which has attracted countless reviews and was shortlisted for both the Andre Simon Food Writer’s Awards and the Fortnum & Mason Debut Food Book Award. It’s a book that takes us on a delicious journey across Britain and Ireland and through time to uncover the histories of beloved old favourites like Cheddar and Wensleydale and fresh innovations like the Irish Cashel Blue or the rambunctious Renegade Monk. Along the way we learn the craft and culture of cheesemaking from the eccentric and engaging characters who have revived and reinvented farmhouse and artisan traditions. And we get to know the major cheese styles – the blues, washed rinds, semi-softs and, unique to the British Isles, the territorials – and discover how best to enjoy them, on a cheeseboard with a glass of Riesling, or as a Welsh rarebit alongside a pint of Pale Ale. Ned worked at Neal’s Yard for seven years selling cheese, talking about cheese and looking after cheese in a cellar in Covent Garden. In 2012 he set up The Cheese Tasting Company to deliver tastings to private and corporate audiences. He has worked with the Jamie Oliver Foundation, The British Epicurean Society, The Vintner, Laithwaites, and craft breweries like Brew by Numbers and Gypsy Hill Brewery. Ned’s tastings feature intriguing and delicious cheese and drink pairings, enticing and esoteric stories of cheese and cheesemaking both ancient and modern, and loads of delicious artisanal cheese.
Tom Palmer is a children’s author. He has written 59 books in total, many of them set in the world of sport. His three Puffin series – Football Academy, Foul Play and The Squad – and other books have been translated into twelve languages. He is the author of the ongoing Roy of the Rovers fiction series, published by Rebellion.
Tom’s history books with Barrington Stoke include Armistice Runner and D-Day Dog, both multi-award winning titles, voted for by children, with Armistice Runner winning the UK Children’s Book Award 2019. In the same year, he was awarded the Ruth Rendell Award for services to literacy by the National Literacy Trust. In 2020 D-Day Dog won the UK Children’s Book Award. His most recent books, Arctic Star and Resist have been nominated for the Carnegie Medal. He has also been published by Egmont, HarperCollins, Mainstream and Scholastic. Tom works regularly with partners such as the Premier League, the RFU and several football clubs, using the power of the game to encourage children to read for pleasure and growth mindset. He also partners with Anne Frank Trust and the Fairtrade Foundation, as well as being children’s writer in residence for the RAF Museums and Leeds United FC.
Tom has sold over 800,000 books and is a huge favourite with public libraries. He works tirelessly to promote reading for pleasure in schools and his books are frequently chosen by Booktrust, the National Literacy Trust and the Reading Agency for their promotions.
For more information on Tom’s incredible list of books please visit his website: www.tompalmer.co.uk
Credit: Graham Morris
Derek Pringle was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, where he first learnt to play cricket on matting pitches. He attended St Mary’s School Nairobi then Felsted School in Essex before reading Geography and Land Economy at Cambridge, where he captained the University at cricket and won three Blues.
While still an undergraduate he was selected to play Test cricket for England in 1982, a feat achieved previously by Ted Dexter, 24 years earlier. He also appeared, briefly, in the Oscar-winning film “Chariots of Fire,” as Cambridge’s vice-captain of athletics.
He played 30 Tests and 44 One-day Internationals for England appearing in two World Cups, one as a losing finalist in 1992. His cricket career at Essex, which spanned 15 years, included five County Championship titles, three John Player League titles, a NatWest Trophy and countless friendships. He retired from the game in 1993.
A second career, as a journalist, saw him appointed cricket correspondent for The Independent then The Telegraph, a role he fulfilled until 2014. He now works as a freelance writer.
His hobbies include photography and a lifelong passion for collecting vinyl records.
His first book – Pushing the Boundaries – Cricket in the Eighties, published by Hodder and Stoughton, was widely acclaimed.
He lives in Cambridge.