Our new Vice-Chair Nick Tudball, write his first column for the Bulletin.
Firstly may I say how honoured I am to serve as Vice-Chair of The Cricket Society. I have been on the Committee since 2016 so I feel I know the organisation well. I think we are in good shape - as a functioning Society for our Members and financially. We have a dynamic group of people on the Committee. I am confident about our future.
I hope many of you have taken advantage of the opportunity to participate in our Zoom talks. At least 100-200 have attended each call and up to 400 on the Bumble call, when we invited other Societies to participate. Bumble’s publisher was mightily impressed as she told me she expected around 40 people on these types of Zoom calls.
All of these talks have been recorded and made available on our website following each event and Bumble’s talk had an extra 80 views through the website and both Mike Brearley and Gunner Gould have had more than 50 views at last count. Committee member Geoff Levett recently created our YouTube channel. The plan is that all our Zoom talks will be available soon. A few were uploaded before Xmas and they have had around 50 views each so far.
These Zoom talks are for Members of The Society but there have been occasions during the pandemic when we have invited other Societies to join. Most of the calls have started at 2pm because that is when the speakers prefer but my hunch is that we would get a few more attendees by starting at 6pm, getting in before supper and capturing those who are busy in the day. Communicating with Members is vital. We do not want to bombard Members with emails but we would like to stay in touch on forthcoming events and I know of one Member who missed the Brearley talk because we had not sent a reminder in the days before. You can opt out of email communication at any time if you prefer by simply replying to the mail.
Even a year ago the idea that we would get 150-200 people for a virtual event would have been considered highly ambitious. The take up and interest has surprised everyone involved. As well as those who attend meetings regularly we are reaching Members who have never previously attended events. I believe that alongside our in-person events we can continue to provide meetings on Zoom after the pandemic for those who cannot attend.
I feel confident in saying that our Zoom calls have made a real difference to the Society and I think we should celebrate our success. They have pushed the Cricket Society in to the digital age. There is always room to improve and we are learning and improving all the time. Communication with Members is key. Credit is due to Nigel Hancock as the driving force behind this initiative, helping to drag us digital tourists in to the modern age. All the speakers have been amazing but I would particularly like to thank our President John Barclay and Chair of the West of England Branch Stephen Chalke for their contributions – both have been very generous with their time as well as offering us excellent entertainment
I would like to finish by paying a short tribute to Don (DV) Smith who died on 10 January this year. He was at the time the oldest living male English Test cricketer. Don was my cricket coach at Lancing College where he worked from 1963 to 1985. He was an inspiring coach, always encouraging and fuelled my love of the game. In my 50’s I could still hear his voice in my ear as I came up to bowl – line and length, work out where the batsman’s weakness is, what does your field look like. He was a great lover of the game, and believed in playing hard but fairly. He would bowl to us for hours in the nets as he gave us his valuable advice. He believed cricket was a game played 99% in the mind and helped us with the mental side of the game. He was a bomber pilot in the War (which I never heard him talk about and I am ashamed to say we never asked him about his War). He played for Sussex from 1946 to 1962. His most successful season was in 1957 when he scored over 2000 runs and played his only 3 Test matches against the West Indies. Following a recommendation from Ted Dexter he coached Sri Lanka for two years when they started as a Test playing nation. I can still see the huge smile on his face when I met him at Lord’s during Sri Lanka’s first test in 1984. There is a very good booklet on Don published in 2019 by the Sussex Cricket Museum.
I would like to wish you well and hope that 2021 will be a better year for everyone.