With just under 80 days until our season is due to start and with a bout of wintry weather on its way, now seems the perfect time to send out a newsletter about the coming cricket season!!
With the ongoing situation with Covid and the challenges it continues to bring to each of us, I hope everyone is keeping as well as they can and are taking the time to look after themselves and each other. As we move towards spring and warmer weather, I am maintaining my optimism that we will have at least as much cricket as last year, if not more. It's hard to tell when we will actually start and obviously any indoor training that would normally be underway is currently paused, but we will make sure we are as prepared as we can be. One thing I go back to is that we do now have experience of how to run cricket safely, so once we are given the go-ahead, we can quickly put things in place to run practice sessions and matches and maximise cricket for our players.
Over the winter, things have carried on at the Club to make sure we are ready for the 2021 season. We took stock of last year's successful junior season and made plans for the coming year, which includes increasing the number of age groups on offer. In December we held a virtual AGM that was relatively well attended and where we came away with all Committee roles filled as follows:
Chairman - David Smith
Treasurer - Mark Harrison
Secretary - Peter Riley
Fixtures Sec - Hassan Hadi
Membership Sec - Alex Juon
Sponsorship Sec - Richard Douglas
Club Welfare Officer(s) - Kate Sharpe & Jessica Juon
Junior co-ordinator - Stefan Taylor
Groundsman - Jamie Brown
Pavilion Manager - Steve Smith
Social Sec - Alain Taylor
150 Club Organiser - James Rumbles
1st Team Captain - Tom Williams
2nd Team Captain - Stefan Hildreth
Sunday Captain - Phil Davis
League Rep - Ben Holt
I wish to thank those on the Committee: to those that have joined, to those that continue to serve and to those that have stood down. Special thanks go to Chris Williams for his work as the junior co-ordinator over the past few years and to Brian Hobden who steps down from the Committee having been ever present the last 10 years in various roles (often more than one, at any one time) including junior co-ordinator, Club Welfare Officer and most recently the Groundsman.
Looking ahead, there will be many opportunities to grow the Club and it is important that we take these. With junior cricket, there is a real focus from the ECB to increase participation and build a legacy from the successes of 2019, and in response to Covid, the Government is prioritising making children more active. More generally, we are very fortunate that Southborough has a strong sense of local community with many people, businesses and organisations keen to engage and support each other. It's vital that we take these opportunities and make sure cricket is still played on the Common for many years to come.
Normally about now, we would be starting our indoor training. Late evening net sessions, facing a series of bouncers from 15 yards and then struggling to walk for the next three days - all rituals of the game we love!! Obviously this year is different and indoor sessions are on hold and looking unlikely to go ahead at all, so we're not expecting any training until we're outdoors. This might be in April or it might be pushed back a bit, but whenever it is, we will be ready.
We have a full Saturday fixture list, starting with our traditional intra-club match on 24 April, followed by a friendly and then 18 league matches. Tom Williams (1st Team) and Stefan Hildreth (2nd Team) have agreed to retain the skippering duties this year, so we're in good hands and looking forward to some good cricket and strong results. Our Sunday friendly fixtures start on 2 May and we have 18 fixtures, ending our season on 5 September. Phil Davis has agreed to take on captain duties for the Sunday XI. We have a number of new Sunday opponents, with matches versus Teston, and Ash appearing on our fixture card for the first time (most likely in a while... there's a good chance we've played either of these sides in the past 200 years!!). Hopefully we will also actually have the chance to play Bristows this year, a new opponent last year whose fixture was cancelled due to Covid. Big thanks to the Fixture Secretary, Hassan, for making all the arrangements in finding us suitable opponents. It's really pleasing to see a full Sunday fixture card - a marked change from a few years back!!
As we didn't have a Club Awards Dinner at the culmination of last season, in December, we had a combined quiz/awards night. Winners of the various trophies were:
Batting - Graeme Sharpe
Bowling - Adam Snaith
Fielding - Tom Williams
Young Player - Oscar Brown
Individual Performance - Graeme Sharpe
Player of the Year - Graeme Sharpe
Player's Player - Adam Snaith
Clubman of the Year - David Smith
We were intending on running indoor training for Under 13 and Under 15 age groups this year with the addition of Under 11s to give them their first experience of hard ball cricket before the beginning of the season. As with senior indoor training, it is currently postponed and we await any changes. If we are to have any indoor programme this year, it will be for the junior ages, so we will keep reviewing ECB guidance and will update as required.
This year we will be running age groups at Under 9, Under 11, Under 13 and Under 15 as well as being a centre for the ECB All Stars programme. This is a fantastic achievement and testament to the hard work of all those involved in the junior section over many years.
We still need to finalise our plans, but this is our current thinking for all juniors:
ECB All Stars - Saturday mornings, 9:30-10:30
Under 9 - Saturday mornings, 10:45-12:00 (The Common)
Under 11 - Saturday mornings, 10:45-12:00 (The Common)
Under 13 - Tuesday evenings, 18:00-19:30 (Southfields Park - Skinners' School playing fields)
Under 15 - Tuesday evenings, 18:00-19:30 (Southfields Park - Skinners' School playing fields)
The programme will start from either 1 or 8 May and will run for 12 weeks. If we're not able to start at that time, then we'll look to extend into the summer holidays as we did last year. All Stars is due to start on 8 May and run for 8 weeks.
As there is no cricket on offer, we would like to point you to some online content that you might find interesting and helpful. The first is a new concept from a local cricket coaching company, Invicta Cricket. They have created an online cricket academy and have various videos to talk through technique and have access to some top coaches and cover all aspects of the game including strength and conditioning and the mental side of the game. This looks more relevant for Under 13s and Under 15s.
The second link takes you to the Wiltshire Cricket Board's children's activity booklets. This includes a combination of activities, such as small technical cricket games and some things that you can combine with home-schooling. This is suited to all ages. We hope you find it helpful.
Our aim is to continue to grow the numbers in each of the junior age groups and to make sure we can be effective in providing a really good offer, we are always looking for volunteers to help.
For those interested in coaching, there are various options available. Please see the attached for further information. We are looking to support five of our members through the Foundation 1 course this year, so if this is something that you would be interested in, please contact the junior co-ordinator.
If coaching isn't for you or you can't commit the time to the qualification or the training sessions, there are other ways that you can help, particularly on match day. These include umpiring or scoring. If you're interested, then there are some free online resources as follows: