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. 

October 2020 - the newly re-titled Chair's Cricket Diary

11 September, near Harlech. A new title for my direct communication with members, and related musings. In a fast changing and extraordinary 2020, putting the dates of composition might prove useful. No apologies for the gender neutrality. I’ve kept diaries, on and off, for years and nearly resumed under lockdown. No, everyone would be doing that and besides there are other matters I wanted to concentrate on. Here, on holiday in Wales, I’ve resumed, partly inspired by reading and much enjoying diaries by the unlikely (opening bat rather bowl?) pairing of Adrian Mole (a real person surely) and historian David Kynaston. The former, well Sue Townsend’s, The Prostrate Years (a theme which echoes somewhat) and David Kynaston’s Shots in the Dark: A Diary of Saturday Dreams and Strange Times have some similarities. Neither, certainly the former, has much cricket; but David’s book, composed during the 2016-17 season and about his life-long following of Aldershot Town FC and much else has several cricket references; enough to justify a review in this autumn’s Journal. David scored a few runs in his time, more than Adrian I suspect.

Early morning thoughts as I look out on the spectacular landscape towards Portmeirion, ponder the nature of the universe, and try and take in the Government’s ‘rule of six’ announcement and its implications for our real meeting plans, presumably scuppered. But are our member meetings ‘social’ or for ‘education’? Could we borrow from Justin Welby’s plea about religious services and claim that “Cricket is the work of God - not a social gathering”. Oh, the joy of six, perhaps we can at least get a (properly socially distanced of course) panel together and Zoom that to our members. Or, at the Union Jack Club – where our London events lead Nick Tudball and I recently had a fresh look at their room and building layouts and safety precautions - could we legitimately configure our 30 into five groups of six? At least we have our burgeoning Zoom programme of meetings and taped interviews for members to access.

Australia have today posted 294 in the first of the three ODIs, and England have made a poor start. The wifi isn’t working and my mobile wifi’s monthly allowance will surely be quickly exhausted if I switch on Sky Go. Following cricket hasn’t seemed simpler this summer, but its pleasures are still strongly there. The Test and other international series have been entertaining and well fought, with some outstanding individual performances. The women’s game is resuming and perhaps our young 2020 award winner Alice Capsey will make a good showing for the South East Stars [she does]. England lose today, narrowly, but Leicestershire, who a correspondent encouragingly informs me are the only County not to have been promoted to the Championship’s first division (well, they were there at the start and for several seasons) win their second 20/20 Vitality Blast match against Yorkshire. The age of football anxiety is returning but following cricket continues on a more even keel. Look out in the Autumn Journal for a piece by Paddy Briggs about sports fandom.

13 September, back in Evesham where I have lived for a year now, fully expecting to have already visited New Road a few times. There was an excellent Cricket Society ‘day at the cricket’ there a season or three back. We are of course already planning similar days in summer 2021, including to a women’s match. India as our next Society England away trip looks a remote possibility, perhaps a repeat visit to Sri Lanka too. Prospective football joy and anxiety aside, there’s plenty else going on today including a grand prix, (the choice of our Honorary Treasurer with whom I touched base this morning) ladies’ golf, and the second of the ODIs which, rather like one of the T2Os against the same opponents, England win thrillingly as Australia falter towards the end. OK, particular one dayers rarely stay long in the memory but for many of us they can provide an instant boost, like the occasional double espresso.

14 September. No cricket to keep track of but plenty of Cricket Society developments as I sit at a Stratford Honda garage awaiting an annual service, of the car that is. Chat with Cash (Andrew Cashmore-Till) who is handling our 2020 Christmas Card (see flyer). The arrangements are different this year with orders direct to a new supplier. Martin Speight, mainly ex Sussex and Northumberland, has produced a very pleasing design, one of the versions of which will grace the front cover of the Autumn Journal. Before then you will be able to see the chosen design at cricketsociety.com We aim just to cover costs on the annual card but are not averse to swelling our funds a little to help us maintain and expand our services to members. I hope that you will get a Christmas Card from us as usual

Chat also with Bulletin editor John Symons as he awaits the last few items to finalise the issue. “Hold the back page” has been the cry as we awaited news from our London meetings venue. Much can quickly change, with further Government pronouncements expected, and please look at the website for updates nearer the times of our scheduled events. John and I compare notes on book reviews and agree to try for a few extra pages for the next edition, which should arrive on your mats just before the official birthday of The Cricket Society on 17 November; also the date of the AGM and a discussion panel we are hoping to arrange. A design makeover of the Bulletin is due and the November plan might spur it onwards.

15 September. There’s just time before John’s final deadline to report on the Zoomer this morning with James Coyne of The Cricketer, which plans to cover the cricket societies movement and our 75th anniversary. Raf Nicholson, juggling her growing portfolio of cricketing reporting and writing and academic teaching, joins us as we brief James on our history, activities and current plans. Look out for the piece in the November Cricketer. James has also been commissioned to write about the history of cricket magazines for Wisden 2021. We agree that there is scope for a closer partnership between our organisations, perhaps including a joint event and reciprocal advertising and promotion. James and a colleague are writing a book about South America through its cricket; we agree a Zoomed session on the subject.

Thanks heavens for the boom in Zoom. Our sessions are regularly attracting over 100 people, many new to our events. It is particularly pleasing that we are reaching members unable to attend in person. Neil Leitch echoes I hope typical feelings, “While I have been a member of The Cricket Society for over 30 years I have never attended a meeting as I have always lived in Edinburgh. The recent Cricket Society Zoom meetings have been great for me and given a greater degree of involvement.” Do join us if you can.

Nigel Hancock