Chairman's Corner

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.

 

February/March 2019

Renewed best wishes to everyone for 2019 and may your cricketing and other sporting dreams come true. I would like to alert you here to some emerging plans we have to take forward The Cricket Society this year and beyond, and on which we would like to take your views. Also below I cover our plans to have two ‘days at the cricket’ this World Cup summer and to follow-up last November’s tour following England to Sri Lanka with one to South Africa in January 2020.

The new Cricket Society Executive Committee had an ‘away day’ in January to begin to take stock of where we think we are, where we want to be, and how we are going to get there. OK, traditional management approaches but as important in a voluntary members’ organisation as in other sectors. We were helped by member Raf Nicholson - sports historian, journalist, and much else - and who I am delighted to say will be joining the EC as a co-opted official. Raf, who will also be MC at our annual Spring Lunch at The Oval on 29 March (see separate notice about speakers and how to get tickets), brings with her not only extensive knowledge of and contacts with the women’s game but also new perspectives about how we might appeal to a wider audience and communicate better. Barry Kitcherside, business man and close to matters Surrey, will be joining the EC from its March meeting.

There are currently 1700 Cricket Society members, about 300 down since 2006 but little changed since 2012. About 900 live in the Home Counties, 400 in the Midlands, West of England and North East, and 400 elsewhere in the UK and overseas. Probably less than 100 members are female. A very high proportion of members are over 60; we don’t know exactly how many because a lot of us continue to pay the full rate after we reach 60. We are clear that we need to focus more on recruitment (of mainly people in their 40s, 50s and 60s most likely to value the products it is feasible for us to provide, and of women and people from ethnic minorities), on all forms of cricket, and on communication. We will be looking this year at the scope for arranging meetings likely to attract more women, and making the environment of those meetings as welcoming as possible. We have not surveyed members for some years and have it in mind to do that, and also seek to understand what would motivate non-members to join us. We’ll let you know what to look out for.

The Cricket Society in Sri Lanka: where next?

Some 14 of us greatly enjoyed the Cricket Society’s trip to Sri Lanka in November, our first such tour this century, with most of us at just the Colombo Test and others at just the second or all three. A typical assessment: “A great party of fellow Society members. Just the right number of us to get along and enjoy each other’s company. The Mount Lavinia hotel was comfortable with fabulous service and top class food in a good spot just far enough out of the city to be relaxing but not remote. The non-cricketing highlights were the train journey and day at Galle, our guided tour of the museum and tunnels including the Governor’s bed where he entertained his lovely Lavinia, and our dinner on the beach with xxxxxx [see Spring Journal] as a surprise guest. Last but not least our beach cricket match against the hotel staff with my wicked underarm bowling, the likes of which will never be seen again. The icing on the cake was a close fought test match with some nail biting moments and the right result at the end.”

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Further coverage of the tour will be in the Spring Journal. In January, Phil Reeves and I took stock with the LycaFly representatives with whom we had arranged the Sri Lanka trip, and also discussed the potential for a wider arrangement between our organisations. I am pleased to say that there will be a tour to South Africa, focusing on the Cape Town Test in early January 2020 with an option to include an additional Test. Provisionally, the party will leave the UK on 31 December. Non-cricketing activities will include wine and safari tours and a visit to Robben Island. A firmed-up outline will be on our website soon, probably before you read this Bulletin. Expressions of interest to me by email please.

A third tour, to India in 2021, is also under consideration.

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Days at the cricket

This Bulletin announces a 2019 ‘day at the cricket’ at Beckenham on Monday 20 May for the first day of Kent’s Championship match against Surrey, and an excellent package that looks, with some views from the balcony and good dining facilities. Emboldened by the success of days like this in recent years at Leicester, Worcester, Taunton and Canterbury – and to take advantage of some good offers available at out-grounds in this World Cup year - we have decided to run a second event. This will be at Guildford and a joint event with the Yorkshire CCC Southern Group. I know that some of our regular attenders can come to Guildford but not Beckenham, and there are some of us who would like to attend both events.

The occasion is the first day of the Championship match on Monday 10 June: Surrey v Yorkshire, one of County Cricket’s classic historical encounters. We will be in our own marquee with covered seating at the railway end near the sightscreen. There will be coffee/ tea and pastries on arrival, a two course buffet luncheon, afternoon tea, a cash bar, complimentary score cards, and 20 free car parking spaces adjacent to the marquee area. The cost, which of course includes ground admission, is £50 per person.

Cheques, made payable to The Cricket Society, should be sent to me: Nigel Hancock, Flat 14 The Foister Building, 124 Charles Street, Leicester LE1 1LB (Note: we are planning progressively to introduce on-line payments and for days at the cricket from 2020.) If you have special dietary requirements please say what they are. Please also enclose a stamped addressed envelope for the tickets to be sent to you when available and – as with Beckenham applications - your email address. This will enable us to communicate with you about the events including anything we arrange for the evenings before the events; and to build-up a data base of members interested in functions like these.

Nigel Hancock