Chairman's Diary

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 2021 - the Chair's Cricket Diary

31 August. The ‘phone rang during my walk to our first ‘day at the cricket’ since 2019. “Listen carefully. I’ve missed my train connection and won’t be at Grace Road much before play starts. Please put aside two bacon rolls for me.” On a cold day about 20 of us enjoyed renewing acquaintances, meeting new cricketing friends, watching some Championship cricket from excellent vantage points outside and inside a comfortable double hospitality box, and partaking of the good food and drink provided. Covid protocols trumped plans for Leicestershire Coach Paul Nixon and evergreen Darren Stephens, players for both counties on show, to address us but a good time was had by all. The day’s play? Well, Kent may just have edged it and moved towards their first four day win of the season. And, yes, the bacon rolls were kept warm for Kent Committee man and former Cricket Society Chairman Derek Barnard.

We decided to postpone the second day at the cricket, England Women v New Zealand Women planned for Worcester on 19 July, because of the short time left to finalise arrangements and promote it after terms had been agreed with Worcestershire. A women’s match will be prominent in our plans for 2022 and, as with other of our future events, it will be possible to book your place directly via our new website once launched. Meanwhile, our Awards Lunch 2021 at The Oval on 29 October will reflect our move towards awards gender parity with both Alice Capsey and Enid Bakewell – women cricketers of today and yesteryear – expected to be there to receive awards.

9 September. Your Executive Committee (EC) held its first in-person meeting today since before the pandemic affected us all in so many ways. Most officers were there in person, others via Zoom and a range of issues were discussed, including Award issues and updates on our new membership management system and related website. Thank you to those of you who responded to our “We need you” flyer with the last Bulletin and let us have your email addresses. That will greatly help us to manage the process of future membership renewals. We still don’t have email addresses for about 400 of you. If you are among this number, and unless you already receive our “Cricket Society News Updates”, please send your email address, with postal address or membership number, to David Wood.  

NB If you don’t have an email address but a relative or friend has one please ask them if they would be prepared on your behalf to receive an email from us about your membership renewal and help you with it. If they are, please ask them to email David Wood with your details above. This would not be an annual exercise. It would help The Cricket Society volunteer effort and save us money.

14 September.  “Juror number four is Nigel ….”.  Heavens, it was good yesterday to be in from a squad of 20 but that was a bit high in the batting order for me m’lord.  Today, after the first trial had ended, a fresh 12 was drawn from 17 names: in again but at a more appropriate number 11. I had successfully deferred the civic duty from March, and in consequence had been able to follow part one of this year’s India v England marathon. No escape this time, and with the fifth Test cancelled no risk of getting the wrong side of His Honour Judge B. with furtive checks on the score.  He made a football reference today; does he follow cricket I wonder. Now next week Leicestershire are at New Road, perhaps he’ll give me time off. … Meanwhile, a criminal case with cricketing content would be good: an accord of interest there.

This is my last Diary or Corner. After nine years as Chair of the Cricket Society I will not be a candidate to continue when the Executive Committee meets for the first time after our 27 September AGM. It is I believe ‘time for a change’, and I am also planning to fit in some historical sporting research. I am particularly pleased that we have kept our Cricket Society numbers steady during a challenging period for membership organisations, maintained and added to our range of products, and recently begun to address some change and development issues. Most recently our digital reach has been extended to include both existing members who have been unable to attend our meetings and other events and new recruits. It will be good to form with Derek Barnard and Bill Allen a triumvirate of extant former Chairs with a continuing strong involvement in Society matters.

I will also stand down as Journal editor after the Autumn issue, my fifteenth, and am delighted to tell you that Nick Tudball will be editing the 2022 editions. Nick, who leads on our London meetings and our recent much acclaimed series of Zoomed and hybrid member meetings, has an extensive cricketing knowledge and library. He will bring to the Journal a fresh approach as we seek both to satisfy our existing readership and assemble a new one. I will be continuing as an officer on the EC, for a while as a sort of false number nine, and as administrator of The Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award (the 2021 event is on 18 October in the Long Room at Lord’s – see booking details on cricketsociety.com ). I also hope to continue to be closely involved with our ‘days at the cricket’ and occasional tours to watch England overseas, next up (we hope) in March 2022 in Barbados. Thank you for reading this column during my time as Chair, and watch this space as we continue to communicate directly with you our members.

Nigel Hancock