In each of our regular New Bulletins the Chairman, Nigel Hancock, writes his observations on Cricket Society matters. You can read the latest edition below.
John Symons pays a fitting tribute to Hubert Doggart, who did so much for The Cricket Society, on this issue’s front page. The Spring Journal will include text from our President John Barclay and from Dave Allsop, a Cricket Society Chairman during Hubert’s long tenure as our President. Hubert returned only a few years ago to our ranks as a vice president, having discreetly hinted that former presidents should be so designated. He was absolutely right and contributed much in his second coming. Only recently, he sent me two articles for the Journal. One was the text of a talk he gave in Scotland about 30 years ago, the other part- written but with instructions on how I might complete it and with a package of hand-written material to draw on. I had resolved to turn all this into an article but needed to arrange a meeting to find out whether and if so how his views on various issues had changed over the years. Alas that will not now be possible. I met Hubert only a few times but was struck by his individualism, drive, intellect, classicism, his continuing passion for cricket and much else, and his ability to engage with a wide range of people and capture a room. Hubert was a one-off without a mould and will be much missed.
Happier news is that The Cricket Society is forming a new partnership with The Union Jack Club (UJC) near Waterloo Station for London events. We will continue to use the Civil Service Club for some of our smaller meetings, and The Oval is already booked for our autumn lunch. But from the autumn the UJC (www.ujclub.co.uk) will become our main London venue for member meetings, and we will probably try other functions such as a dinner or lunch there. It is located in Sandell Street (SE1 9UJ), directly opposite the Waterloo Station ticket hall for the Jubilee underground line, and travel to and from it should be as convenient for most of you attending central London meetings as was the Royal Overseas near Green Park.
The room we will be using at the UJC can hold about 120 people, there is an integrated cloak room and bar - bitter, which our Treasurer and dinner organiser have both approved, is £2.50 a pint - and the acoustics are excellent. The club as a whole is large and has a warm and welcoming ambience. Our members attending meetings will become UJC members for the day and able to use the club’s other facilities, such as the restaurant, whilst there. Food prices are significantly less than at ROSL. The overall cost to The Society will be lower than at ROSL even when the cost of bar staff is taken into account. Nick Tudball is busy arranging the 2018-19 programme of London meetings and so look out for details on the Bulletin back pages.
One meeting for the UJC my well feature Chris Lewis, who addressed our Midlands Branch in February. Watching some cricketers at our meetings immediately brings back images of them in their playing days. Derek Randall, moving his arms as if he were driving through the covers or sweeping around the stage to cut off a certain four, is a recent example in London. Chris Lewis too looked like the languid bowler-batsman of his heyday. His impersonation of the bowling action, rear-leading in its final stride, of the late Ken Higgs – the man who first recruited him for Leicestershire as a teenager and then coached and mentored him, and who Chris deeply revered - was striking. Chris spoke frankly about his culpability in committing drugs related offences that led to him spending six and a half years in English prisons, and his eagerness now to do the right things for the community, his family and himself. He is giving talks in prisons and, following-up his recent book, announced an upcoming play (Greenwich Theatre) about his life story. And, no, he wasn’t allowed, on ability grounds, to play cricket whilst in prison, but did umpire.
I wrote last time that the Society’s 2018 ‘Day at the Cricket’ will be at Grace Road, Leicester for the second day of Leicestershire’s County Championship fixture with Middlesex. Several of you have already expressed interest and I expect the 40 available places to be taken quickly. The package we have agreed will include: entry into the ground; private use of the Illingworth Suite; a car parking space per five guests booked (eight spaces); arrival tea, coffee and biscuits; a two course buffet lunch; and a cricket afternoon tea. The type of weather cannot be guaranteed but, like recent visits to Worcester and Taunton, you can expect good company and food and a warm and welcoming ambience. We’ll see if we can get a cricketer or two to join us at some point during the day.
The package is available at £40 per person and cheques made payable to The Cricket Society, with preferred email address or SAE, should be sent please to Nigel Hancock, Flat 14, 124 Charles Street, Leicester LE1 1LB.