It has finally stopped raining, the sun is out and summer is just around the corner! Here’s a quick run-down on what’s new in the coming season and some key dates for the diary in the next few weeks …
NEW IN 2023
As always, over the winter months the Club Committee has been busy considering new ideas and ways to improve the running of the club. As a result of their discussions, there are one or two changes this year.
In addition to the I’Anson League and Stevens Cup, our Men’s squad are this year entering a new competition – the Surrey Slam. This will mean a few more midweek evening games against other clubs we don’t otherwise play. Matches will generally be on Tuesday evenings starting at 6pm (scheduled around Stevens Cup fixtures).
Linked to this is another new departure in 2023: for Surrey Slam matches our Men’s team will this season for the first time be wearing coloured kit. Whilst TWM Solicitors of course remain our main sponsor (and our shirt sponsor for all other games), our Surrey Slam kit is this year being sponsored by local carbon management consultants 5D Net Zero, to whom many thanks.
Volunteer help from members
You will have noticed when registering this year that the process is slightly different: all playing members and parents of juniors are asked to commit to volunteer in one of three ways (or to make a modest donation to the club in lieu).
It is an important part of our ethos that everyone does their bit to help, and this is all the more important as sharply rising costs mean that we need to reduce outgoings by doing things ourselves where possible. So this season, we will be more diligent than in the past in making sure that everyone who didn’t opt to make a donation is asked to contribute a little of their time.
Depending on what you signed up for when registering, you may be asked to help in a variety of ways, which could include: doing an hour or two behind the bar; baking a cake; helping keep the grounds tidy; doing a spot of painting; umpiring or scoring a match; or helping out behind the scenes in various other ways. The idea is to spread the load as widely as possible so no-one has to do too much. So please try to make yourself available when asked if you possibly can.
Welcome to new faces
As every year, there will be a few new faces around the club this season, both amongst our seniors and juniors – please extend a warm welcome to all of them.
On that note, in addition to welcoming back last year’s overseas player, Ian Souness, I’m delighted to say that this summer we will also be joined by a good friend of Ian’s from his club back in New Zealand, Tom Flavell. Aside from playing for our 1st XI, Tom will also be helping out with the ever-growing task of running of our junior section, alongside the usual team of other young coaches. Please make a special effort to make him feel at home.
START OF TRAINING AND FIRST MATCHES
Junior pre-season training next week
Before the regular sessions start in the summer term, there are additional outdoor pre-season training sessions in the last week of the holidays (Tuesday 11 to Friday 14 April). These are open to all those in junior squads playing league cricket this season (i.e. U8s upwards). Though we appreciate that not everyone will be around, we strongly encourage those who can to come to these sessions. For dates, times and ticket links, go to the Boys and Girls pages of the website and scroll down to “What’s coming up”.
Start of regular training sessions for all squads
The first regular outdoor training sessions start next week for the Men and U15/U14 Boys and the following week for everyone else. All the times and venues are on the website (see the Men, Women, Boys, Girls and Minis pages), but in summary:
Men and U15/U14 Boys train on Wednesday evenings at Blackheath, with the first session on Wednesday 12 April.
Women and Girls train on Thursday evenings at Grafham, with the first sessions on Thursday 20 April.
Minis and the U7-U13 Boys train on Friday evenings, with the first sessions on Friday 21 April. The Minis and U7-U12 boys train at Blackheath and the U13 boys train at Grafham.
First matches of the season
The Men’s fixtures get underway a week after Easter. The first match of the season is a home friendly against Leatherhead on Sunday 16 April. There are then 2 more friendlies the following weekend, against South Nutfield on Saturday 22 April and Wonersh on Sunday 23 April. The first I’Anson League matches of the season are on Saturday 29 April, with a one week break in league fixtures for the Coronation on Saturday 6 May, before they resume the following week.
For the Women, Boys and Girls squads, matches do not generally begin until in May (although one or two squads have friendlies in late April). Check out the website for your squad’s first game.
Matches may still seem a long way off for some, but everyone is strongly encouraged to log on to Teamtamer via the website and update their availability for fixtures sooner rather than later. Please also respond promptly to availability requests from captains, squad managers and administrators when these come through. As usual, selection for all matches will be done through Teamtamer.
CATERING AND SOCIAL EVENTS
The I’Anson League has decided that clubs should once again not be expected to provide teas for Saturday matches this season. However, the Club Committee has decided that tea and cake will nevertheless be provided for all players at home league matches on Saturdays. Full teas will continue to be provided for all Sunday afternoon matches at Blackheath.
We will also this season be operating a scheme under which local elderly people are invited as guests of the club for tea on Saturday and Sunday afternoons - more details of that to follow.
Friday evening BBQs
As usual there will be BBQs every Friday evening at Blackheath on junior practice evenings, starting on Friday 21 April. This season we will also be running a BBQ for the U13 boys’ squad at Grafham on Friday evenings. Parent help will be needed at both venues, so please do lend a hand if asked.
Saturday evening dinners
There will be a start of season dinner in the pavilion following the friendly against South Nutfield on Saturday 22 April. Thereafter there will be cooked suppers every Saturday evening at the club. Details of the menu and a link to tickets will be published each week.
The Blackheath Baz-Ball
Finally, everyone should already have seen details of our big fundraising ball this summer, the Blackheath Baz-Ball, which is on Saturday 24 June. Tickets for this will go on sale on Sunday 23 April and there will be various further messages about it over the coming days and weeks. We are hoping that every senior team and junior squad will have at least one table – so please start putting your table together now!