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Countdown to the new season

Updated: Apr 4




With the Easter holidays just around the corner and the cricket season nearly upon us, here’s a quick run-down on what’s new at Blackheath this year and some key dates for the diary in the next few weeks.

 

NEW IN 2024

 

As always, over the winter months the Club Committee has been busy considering new ideas and ways to improve the running of the club.


Most importantly, it has been decided to move all the women and girls’ training on Thursday evenings from Grafham to Blackheath, so they too get to enjoy the Blackheath facilities.  There will be a corresponding move of boys’ matches on Thursday evenings from Blackheath to Grafham.

 

There will also be some new faces at the club this year, although a couple of these will be familiar to longstanding club members from the not so distant past:

 

  • Sharon Eyers, an old friend of the club through Surrey Cricket and a hugely experienced coach, is coming back to us this season in a new role of Women and Girls’ Head Coach.  Sharon will be coaching regularly on Thursday evenings throughout the season, as well as running both women’s and girls’ matches when she can. 

  • We welcome this year a new overseas player in Tim Velstra, a left-arm spinner from Canberra.  Aside from playing for our 1st XI, Tim will be managing our U15 boys’ squad, assisted by James Fortescue.  He will also be helping out with the coaching more generally, alongside the usual team of other coaches, including Tom Flavell, who is staying on with us for a second season and will be taking over the U13 boys’ squad.

  • In addition, the former England and Surrey player Monte Lynch, who first coached for us many years ago and who has been working with our U14 squad over the past few months, will be coming regularly on Friday evenings this year at Grafham.  This means that not just the U14s but also the U13s and U15s will get the benefit of his coaching, supported of course by our Head Coach, Chris Poil, and the other squad managers.

 

Finally, our Membership Secretary, Graham Webb, has been busy over the winter months and there will be a new, improved and very-user friendly version of Teamtamer, the club’s administration and communication system, in time for the new season.  This should make life easier for all members in managing their interactions with the club, and especially for captains, squad managers and administrators.  Further details to follow.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

This is the timetable of events for the start of the season …

 

Pre-season working party

 

There will be a pre-season working party at Blackheath on Saturday 6 April at 10am.  Tasks will include getting the nets ready, putting out benches and picnic tables, clearing brush, mowing and general tidying up, both outside and inside the pavilion.  A reminder call for volunteers will go out nearer the time.

 

Junior pre-season training

 

Before the regular training sessions start in the summer term, there are outdoor pre-season training sessions in the last week of the Easter holidays (Monday 8 to Thursday 11 April) for U8-U15 boys and U12-U15 girls.  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 outdoor training sessions for all squads

 

The first regular outdoor training sessions start in the second week after Easter for the Men, 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 train on Wednesday evenings, with the first session on Wednesday 10 April.

  • Women and Girls train on Thursday evenings, with the first sessions on Thursday 18 April.  The bar will be open every Thursday evening.

  • Minis and the U7-U15 Boys train on Friday evenings, with the first sessions on Friday 19 April.  The Minis and U7-U12 boys train at Blackheath and the U13-15 boys train at Grafham.  At both venues the bar will be open and burgers will be available.

 

First matches of the season

 

The Men’s fixtures get underway a couple of weeks after Easter.  The first match of the season is a home friendly against Leatherhead on Sunday 14 April

 

There are then further Sunday matches and warm up games over the following 2 weekends (including a 1st XI pre-season friendly against South Nutfield on Saturday 20 April and internal club warm-up match on Saturday 27 April), before the first I’Anson League matches of the season on Saturday 4 May.

 

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, though please note that some fixtures may still be subject to change.

 

Start of season dinner

 

There will be a start of season dinner on Saturday 20 April in the pavilion, following the 1st XI pre-season friendly against South Nutfield.  This will also be the final night of our crowdfunding campaign, the Steam & Roller Challenge, when we will be giving out the rewards people have claimed when making donations.  Please come along if you can, and in the meantime, please support the campaign by making a donation if you have not already done so!

 

AND FINALLY …

 

There will be various further messages over the coming weeks as the season gets underway, many of them asking for volunteer help in one way or another.  Everyone is asked to volunteer for something (or make a modest donation in lieu) when they register, and for the club to function smoothly and keep costs down it is really important that as many members as possible stick their hands up to help when asked.  So please help out when you can. 

 

I’ll look forward to seeing everyone over the next few weeks.  In the meantime, here’s to another great season!

 

Nick Harrison

Club Chairman

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