ASHFORD CRICKET CLUB 2010
Committee Report 2010
How to sum up 2010? Well, enclosed are the captains' and managers' views on the performance of their respective teams. Here, for what their worth, are my thoughts on 2010 as I see it.
If, as many other clubs do, we measure the Club's success and progress by the performance of its premier team, then there can be little doubt that 2010 has proved to be an another positive year for the Club on the field. Having secured a second promotion in three years under Richard Mansfield's leadership, the 1st XI will compete in Division 2 in 2011 – a level more in line with the aspirations of the captain, his players and members. With this well-earned status the Club should rightly expect to attract the attention of quality players based at other clubs as well as see its homegrown talent develop further by competing at this higher level. Looking forward to what is likely to be a tough test of this team's progress, the General Committee, working with Richard, are already exploring options to enhance the 1st XI squad.
While the 1st XI progressed, the 2nd XI stuttered on its run of back-to-back promotions. Perturbed briefly by a change in captain half-way through the season, the side performed well to consolidate its position in Division 3 – stand-in captain Trefor Evans managing the side well during some testing times.
As much as we might like to bask in the glory of the 1st XI, it's hard to ignore the woes suffered by the 3rd and 4th XIs this season, both relegated from their respective divisions. Poor availability of players guaranteed the plights of both sides, and to some extent the tailing off of the 2nd XI's season.
The Sunday sides were similarly affected by a scarcity of players. However, both captains managed to recruit a hardcore of players and to get them enjoying their cricket, whatever the outcome.
Among these mixed fortunes for the senior sides there were some exceptional individual performances: maiden centuries for the Club by Ross Wright (1st XI) and Shahir Momin (3rd XI), a hat-trick for Ali Syed (2nd XI), and Wendell Sebastian's 149 in the drubbing of the MCC are just a few highlights. Not to mention the ever-green Neil Smith achieving the milestone of 500 1st XI league wickets; we also boast the league's most prolific batsmen, Chris Evans, who has amassed over 18,000 runs. So congratulations to all for their efforts.
A fourth place finish in Division 3 of the Women’s Cricket Southern League perhaps does not suggest the progress made by the Ladies' section in 2010. Led by Becky Halls, this small squad showed dogged commitment to field sides for every match of the season when some of their larger, rival clubs failed to do so. The ladies should be credited for their enthusiasm to train each week, which led all players to improve their games and produce personal-best performances. An example to us all.
The Colts teams enjoyed mixed results, the pick of the sides probably being the U15s. The only positive to come from limited availability of senior players for weekend matches was that it did provide opportunities for colts. Those that did play performed well and I look forward to see many of their names, and those of other colts keen to play longer-format cricket, on the availability lists next year.
Thanks to the Club's on-going coaching support scheme, the quality cricket coaching already on offer to Colts received a boost this summer with Ben and Daniel Simper joining the ranks of our UKCC Level 2 qualified coaches. Although many of the Colts age-groups continue to benefit from committed managers and coaches, a concern for the Colts section is the failure to recruit volunteers to manage the U11s and U10s age groups in 2011. The General Committee wants to hear from any members or Colts’ parents interested in getting involved with the juniors section.
That's the on-field review covered, what other news from the summer? Notable by his absence at the start of the season, it was with regret that the Club learnt of John Bird's death in May. All those who had known 'Birdie' will, I am sure, hold their own special memories of him. Elected a life member in 1999, his contributions to the Club and influence on its members throughout his 37 years association with Ashford were evident by the good number of members that paid their tributes at his funeral. The General Committee is looking for a suitable memorial for Birdie and welcome any suggestions from members. If you want to make a donation to the John Bird Memorial Fund, please contact the Treasurer.
Back in May the Club ran another Devon tour (three wins, three defeats and lots of good weather). Some new faces, in addition to the usual suspects, made for a more diverse tour party. Feedback from the tourists was positive and suggests that take-up for the 2011 Devon tour will be high. And to sell next year's tour even more, I can report that our opponents for the Bank Holiday Monday fixture will not be Paignton CC. (Pity.)
During the summer, the General Committee made the decision to abort the proposed overseas tour to Cape Town scheduled for February/March 2011 because of limited interest. Despite this setback, we have moved quickly to identify the option of a 2011 tour to Menorca in the late-October half-term holiday. Cricket on the tour will be played at Menorca Cricket Club (www.menorcacricketclub.com). Although in the early stages of organising the tour, we want to gauge members' interest. So those of you who fancy a week on this Balearic island should contact Robert Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org; 07785 290546).
At the Clubhouse many of the social events run this year received good support; Friday night barbecues were another success and source of funds for the Club thanks to likes of Keith Nash and Kevin Antonio; and we muddled through another season's bar rota. The time and effort of the members involved in these and other activities to maintain the Club and the benefits we enjoy there are much appreciated.
As I bring this brief review of the year to its conclusion, my thoughts return to the big issue of the summer: availability. Our Club was not alone in experiencing reduced availability this season, but it is a more alarming trend bearing in mind that for several weeks in 2009 the Club managed to field five Saturday XIs comfortably.
Limited availability doesn't just affect the club's performance on the field. Enclosed you will find a detailed breakdown of the Club’s income and expenditure that shows the Club recorded a net loss of £1,418. A significant contributor to this bottom line is the one-off cost incurred by purchasing a new roller. However, this should not overshadow the cumulative effect of sustained poor availability. For every game that is cancelled because of a lack of players the Club loses income through match fees. Equally important, when fewer games are hosted at the club use of the bar facilities is reduced, which limits revenue generated for Ashford Short Lane Sports Ltd. In the longer term, this under-use of the bar can leave the management company with no other option than to increase rents charged to the cricket and hockey clubs. Thus, in effect, we can incur a second cost caused by poor availability. This is not sustainable for a club like ours.
Rightly, addressing member retention and recruitment are priorities for the General Committee. To do this effectively it needs feedback from you, the members. To this end, of the coming weeks the General Committee will be seeking your views on the Club, its facilities and the cricket on offer through a survey. So watch this space and please respond.
And in other news: the Club intends to run winter net sessions for adults and colts from January. However, at the time of writing, the times and venue for these sessions are not confirmed. When these details are known they will be posted on the Club notice and circulated to members via e-mail. In light of the degree to which the Club subsidises winter nets, particular Colts sessions, and the variable attendance recorded during 2010, the General Committee will carefully review this situation during 2011 and act accordingly.
And finally, the Club's Annual Awards Dinner is all set for Saturday 13th November at the Queen Mary Sailing Club, Ashford. More than 70 tickets have been sold, so I look forward to seeing many of you on the night. Following the dinner, on Wednesday 24th November, the AGM will take place at the clubhouse, starting at 8pm. Accompanying this letter is a copy of the agenda and the minutes from last year’s AGM. In light of the issues we have faced this year, I encourage members to attend the meeting and take this opportunity to air your views on how the Club is being run, and to offer suggestions for the future.
There it is then, 2010: make of it what you will. The Club's flagship side achieves new heights, but what of the foundations on which its success are built? Perhaps I'm being a bit alarmist, I leave you to decide. All that remains is for me to wish you well for the winter, enjoy the Ashes coverage and roll on 2011.
For and on behalf of the General Committee