With two weekends of the season remaining, it is worth taking some time to think of all of the challenges we've come through collectively this season.
Lockdown came just as we were gearing up for the season. The week before lockdown, we had 30 in attendance at indoor training; the junior indoor programme was half way through - we were supporting 24 Under 13s prepare for their outdoor season; and, we had five volunteers lined up to complete their ECB Level 1 coaching qualifications. Combined with work off the field to attract new sponsors, plan social events and review our policies to be re-accredited as a Clubmark Club (as well as various other things) we were making positive headway.
When lockdown occurred, cricket became a secondary concern with many cricketing activities being paused. Our main focus was on family, friends and our local businesses that had supported us through our previous times of need. As cricket started looking likely, various members of the Club stepped up to navigate the often last minute guidance from the ECB and it was thanks to the dedication of these people that we have salvaged cricket opportunities for every age group that we had originally intended to run. The fear that all of the positivity prior to lockdown would be eroded has not happened and that is thanks to the determination from people up and down the Club. Short term financial concerns have also been managed thanks to us playing half a season, as well as some income from our Sponsors, additional income from people playing the 150 Club and the government grant.
As we complete the junior season it is remarkable that we have been able to run for eight weeks, only four fewer than a normal season. Our Under 13s were also able to play a number of league matches, albeit half a season's worth and our Under 9s also recently took part in a mini super-8 tournament, that rounded out their season. We were also able to run the All Stars programme. This means that in total we have had upwards of 80 children playing cricket this summer - a great achievement and as a parent myself, I know how appreciative parents are of what we've been able to deliver.
Our senior Saturday availability has been very good and we have been able to field a Sunday XI each week and even fielded two (possibly for the first time ever!!) a few weeks back. The shortened season has clearly renewed people's ability and willingness to play and it's been really pleasing that we've been able to match this interest with opportunities to play.
It just leaves me to say that, in what has been a very unusual season, it has been really heartening to see the devotion of our members to support our Club, our community and to make the best of the situation. My thanks to all that have stepped up in these peculiar times!!
We're sorry to report that Brian Farrier, club legend, Life Vice-President and founder of the Club's junior section, passed away early in August.
Brian joined the Club in 1967. Mainly gracing our 2nd XI, he was a slow medium pace bowler with a distinctive action and a nagging accuracy. In the early seventies Brian, together with Harry Thomas and Jeff Parkinson recognised that a lot of keen young players were regularly coming to the club but with limited opportunity to play on the Common. These included Brian's son David and Jeff's son Kevin. So they started up Southborough Colts on Wednesday evenings which has carried on ever since and has developed into the current Junior Section.
The Colts team were soon playing regular matches and the young players were starting to get opportunities with the senior teams. As well as David and Kevin, many others came through those ranks to play for and serve the Club in future years including Adam Hookway, Simon Fisher, Colin Ayres, Paul Spencer, Glen Farmer and Danny Coombs. In the early to mid eighties Brian, with Jeff and David Thorpe, arranged a number of fixtures and legendary tours of Holland for both juniors and seniors, both home and away, primarily with Arnhem Cricket Club.
He was the Club President in 1986 and 1987 and was made a Life Vice-President in recognition for all he had done for the Club.
Outside of cricket, Brian ran the very successful Southborough Stationers with his wife Monica, as well as being a very successful sales rep. In 1998 he sold the business and moved out of the area.
Brian sadly passed away on 6 August in Cornwall, aged 83. David and Monica have asked that any tributes should be made to Dementia UK.
As noted above, we've had good availability and we're grateful to our league, the Kent County Village League for arranging a competition at short notice. Results have been mixed, with both sides winning some matches quite easily and then losing other matches we would have expected to win. As with the usual summer conditions, the lockdown weather of April and May gave way to the more standard changeable weather and we lost some matches to the conditions.
One innings of note is the 214 run stand between Graeme Sharpe, scoring his maiden century (141*) for the Club with Ben Holt scoring his maiden 50 (64*) against Speldhurst. Great effort!!
Starting with week one of training, where we weren't able to share any equipment (even balls) - leading to a bit of creative thinking by the coaching team - we were able to support a training programme for 24 Under 9s this year over 8 weeks. With the support of our coaches James, Phil, Graeme, Mark and Richard and some other parent help it is fair to say all of the children enjoyed themselves. We rounded off with an Under 9 mini Super-8 tournament at Cowdrey CC. We fared well in the round robin phase, losing to the eventual (and unbeaten on the day) winners from Cowdrey and then had two very tight matches versus the other Cowdrey team and the Penshurst team - the wins and losses being equally close!! In the third place play-off game, we were successful, winning by one run so ended the event having won 2, lost 2. As you can see from the photo's lots of happy faces and brilliant to think most have another year at Under 9s!!
Having had their indoor programme curtailed, the Under 13s were very keen to resume when possible. At this age group, we also had 24 signed up. Over an 8 week programme which included five matches, we had good attendance throughout the summer and all of our youngsters that wanted to and were able to play, had the chance to play and participate.
The team that played in the Division 1 competition remained unbeaten throughout the season - a great achievement as they move up to the U15 competition next year. Photo below from one of their matches.
The team that played in the Division 2 competition weren't quite as successful, but progress was seen match on match and all of the players were still enjoying themselves and were still keen to learn and improve. A number are still Under 13s next year and still early in their cricketing development, so good things will happen next season, we're sure. No photo, so apologies.
Big thanks to Steve for leading the coaching and Ben for helping and also to Ian for taking on the Team Manager role for one of the Teams. Also thanks to the parents for their help over the season in the various tasks they undertook.
Club Shop - new stock: Caps
Just in time for the bad weather, the local cricket shop, Kent Cricket Direct are now stocking sunhats. They have also re-stocked on the green Melton wool hats and the baseball style caps. There are limited numbers, so please pop in and pick one up before they all go.
Recent winners below. If you want to take part, please contact the 150 Club co-ordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The premise is simple: each square costs £2 per month (or £24 per year). We hold monthly draws and an additional one for the dinner, so 13 chances per year to win £100. Any money made goes towards enhancements for the club, such as last year’s investment in the new electronic scoreboard.
February - Jamie Brown
March - Liz Pretty
April - Ian Pilbeam
May - Jamie Brown
June - Ben Holt
July - Julian Rumbles