End of year message from the Chairman



This has obviously been a difficult in year in many respects and, as we come to towards the end of it, the committee has looked back carefully at the lessons to be learned and will be making a few changes for 2021. For those who want the details, you can read the reports prepared for the AGM, but here are the headlines …


Finances


Despite the major hit to the club’s finances resulting from the pandemic and significant overspend on the Grafham project as a result of our undertaking various unbudgeted improvements to the building, the club remains in a financially sound position. However, some of the financial impact will be delayed until next year, so we are not completely out of the woods yet. For full details see the Treasurer’s report.


Juniors


There was extremely positive feedback about the new coaching system we introduced for the junior section this summer, with professional coaching and more space for all squads, and we will be preserving that basic system in 2021. Friday evenings will again become our biggest coaching night, with more of the boys’ squads training then, but we will not be going back to the massive operation of previous years with all squads training on the same evening. Some boys’ squads will train on other evenings and the girls will train on Thursdays at Grafham. For further details of our plans, see the boys’ cricket and girls’ cricket pages of the website.


The priority members’ junior registration window for 2021 will be opening next week – watch out for a further email about this. Subscriptions for 2021 have been held at the same levels as this year, except for a small adjustment to the sibling discount. As usual there are waiting lists for most squads, so existing members who wish to re-join in 2021 should make sure that they sign up in good time. However, there will of course be plenty of space for new members in our entry year and also in some of the older girls’ squads. With places in high demand, members who have friends who may be interested in joining the club should encourage them to put their names on the waiting list as soon as possible, which can easily be done at this link.


Men’s section


After a shortened season this summer (albeit a pretty successful one), we are expecting something much more like a normal season in 2021. The league captains will all be continuing in post in 2021, though after a few years in which the men’s section has gone from strength to strength, Dallas McDermott will be standing down as Club Captain, with Olly Arengo-Jones taking up the mantle. Sadly, we are yet to find a replacement for Robbie Burns, who this year retired after around 50 years of scoring for 1st XI.


Whilst generally keeping men’s subscriptions at 2019 levels, we will be makings some changes in the coming season to the subscriptions structure to simplify things, and remove the need for captains to collect match fees in cash on the day of the match. Broadly, the effect is that aside from the existing “frequent” membership options (with large discounts for younger players), there will be a single standard sub of £60 with match fees of £12.50, which will be paid electronically. Details of how this will work will follow.


Women’s section


Our big plans for our women and girls’ section in 2020 obviously had to be put on hold, but are all set to be implemented in 2021. The redevelopment of Grafham as the new home of our women and girls’ section is now substantially complete and the ground and pavilion will be looking fantastic at the start of next season. A formal opening ceremony is planned for June 2021, which we hope will involve a member of the England women’s team.


In the meantime, we will be entering 2 teams in the new I’Anson Women’s league. Coaching will on Thursday evenings, and in addition to our Women and Girls Manager Sharon Eyers we look forward to welcoming back overseas player/coach Angus Hamilton in a new role as Assistant Women and Girls’ Manager (aside of course from his duties for the 1st XI).


Grounds and facilities


After well over 20 years maintaining the Blackheath square to a fantastic standard, and a serious health scare during the summer, Terry Brockman will be reducing his workload in 2021. With the assistance of Colin Parrott, Terry will look after Grafham, whilst the main square at Blackheath will become the responsibility of experienced professional groundsman, Jonny Nolan. Other club members will look after the outfield and junior pitches at Blackheath. Jonny has a hard act to follow, but we are sure will continue to provide us with pitches of the high standards we have been used to.


Also taking on a reduced role next year will be Terry Marter and his partner Melanie. After 7 years as our bar and events manager (and many other roles besides), Terry has decided to take a step back, though he and Melanie will still be responsible for the cleaning of our two pavilions in 2021. We have not yet identified a successor, and if any member knows of a suitable candidate, please get in touch!


And finally …


… a huge thank you, not just to those I have mentioned above for all their work over past years, but to everyone at the club who helped get us through what was a pretty tricky 2020. It is invidious to single out individuals as so many did so much, but a special mention must go to Alex Jones, whose tireless work as our de facto Covid Officer made it possible to do all the things that we did. We plan to say thank you more formally to everyone at a pre-season event (in whatever form we are allowed to have it) in April.


Between now and then, it looks unlikely that we will be able to run much in the way of winter training, but the club will continue to send out information on a regular basis and do whatever is possible. In the meantime, very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year, and here’s to hoping for a wonderful 2021!


NICK HARRISON

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