I have now completed my first year as President and, not being a WCC “lifer”, it took some time to get to grips with the club, although it’s fair to say, that I have not yet delved into every nook and cranny!
What I have found is a vigorous club in robust health, with very strong fundamentals:
- 4 senior elevens being fielded every weekend, with well over 100 active adult members
- The junior section, as you have heard, has had an outstanding year both on and off the field – on one Monday evening in May, we had over 125 children participating in training. This has always been a vibrant part of our club, but huge credit must go to the new committee under Mike which has built on that strength and we trust that the juniors will continue to be the principal source of players for the club in the future.
- We have an established and growing women’s section which hosted the largest ladies’ cricket festival in Scotland last year, which was a great success. There remains a challenge in growing participation, but the foundations laid by Kate Wheway, who unfortunately, has had to stand down as convener, provide a great platform for future success.
What was also evident was the huge amount of hard work put in by a large number of committed and dedicated volunteers: there are too many to mention and it would be invidious to single any out, but at the end of my report, I will mention those who are stepping down this year and who have made significant contributions to the ongoing success of the club.
However, like any organisation, the club is facing challenges and we are always looking for ways to enhance both playing standards and the club experience.
As a committee, we have been keen to increase members’ engagement with the club. In the current year, we have commenced three initiatives, which are still ongoing:
- We revived the annual dinner, which was held at Myreside in September, with over 80 attendees and September is pencilled in again for 2019.
- Andrew Chalmers assumed responsibility for organising a number of social events during the season with great success: it is rumoured that Andy enjoys an evening out! Andrew is keen to continue in this role and, given its importance, I have suggested that he join the committee, which he has kindly agreed to do. Andrew also had the idea of awarding the baggy maroon cap to those players who had turned out over 100 times for the first XI, with the first awards being made at the Dinner. This has proved very popular and, in a matter of months, has become a club tradition!
- We needed to revamp our communications and Kenneth Rae has bravely taken on this role. He is working to update and cleanse the website. Kenny also produced the Ring of Fire newsletter which was circulated a couple of weeks ago, which we plan to produce on a regular basis. The medium term plan is that it will be used for team lists, weekly match reports, and possibly subscription collection as well as ad hoc news and articles.
In addition to these ongoing initiatives, we have a very loyal band of supporters amongst former players and I am anxious to involve them more fully in the club. We have a number of plans in this respect.
Turning to the playing side, you have heard the various captains’ reports and, in summary, I think it’s fair to say that the club is in a period of transition. The decision was taken some years ago that, given our player pool and steady stream of youngsters from GWC, we should concentrate our financial resources on coaching. This resulted in the arrangement with 619 which served the club very well for a number of years. However, as you all know, Dewald Nel decided that this year was his last as a player and he has also decided to pursue a career outside cricket. Accordingly, the 619 contract was terminated in September. Dewald has rendered outstanding service to the club, both as a player and as a coach, and I would like formally to record the club’s gratitude for his input over many years.
George Munsey put forward an outline proposal to take over coaching responsibilities for the junior section. However, he had indicated that he no longer wanted to play for the club as he was planning to become involved in the burgeoning T20 circuit. If he required any ad hoc practice games when not on international duty, he was proposing to play with Grange.
We have now parted company with George and, whilst he was only with us for two seasons, he did make a significant contribution both on the field, particularly in 2017, and in coaching the youngsters, where he did bring his own brand of enthusiasm. I would like to thank him for his work with the club and wish him every success in the future.
The long term plan is still to concentrate upon coaching, but with the significant change of introducing the role of Director of Cricket (“DoC”). The DoC may actively participate in some coaching sessions, but his principal tasks will be:
- Agreeing the coaching programmes and supervising the coaches;
- Team selection;
- Player recruitment and retention; and
- Liaising with GWC.
Brendan O’Connell will take on this role in the short term and we are currently discussing the detailed brief and terms. Depending upon other commitments, Brendan may assume the role permanently.
We are currently working out our coaching requirements for next season and assessing likely candidates.
Given that the first XI will have lost three senior players, Dewald, George, and Brendan (who is unlikely to play next season) we do consider that it will be necessary to have a professional next season and possibly an overseas amateur as well. To anticipate a concern, I will discuss the cost implications in a moment.
The other notable change in next season’s 1st XI is that Ewan Chalmers has decided to stand down as captain. Ewan has been a great servant to the club both as a player and also as captain. I have seen at first hand the amount of work he devotes to the club and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all his hard work over the last 6 years.
I am delighted that Mike Carson has agreed to take on the captaincy and is very enthusiastic about the role. Mike was our player of the year in the season just ended, taking more wickets and scoring a lot more runs than any other player. His outstanding batting in recent seasons has now been recognised by Cricket Scotland and he is now in the international squad.
[Financials removed from this post but available on request]
Finally, I would like formally to thank, on behalf of the club, the following people who are stepping down from roles, all of whom have made significant contributions:
- I mentioned earlier Dewald and Ewan;
- Kate Wheway, whose formidable energy and commitment has built the ladies section from scratch into its present thriving state;
- Jodie Dunz who was club secretary this year and has carried out the function in an exemplary fashion; and
- Geoff Harding who has been our fixture secretary for many years.
As well as these individuals, I would like to thank everyone who has given his or her time this year: the club depends upon volunteers and all input is greatly appreciated.
In conclusion, the club continues to provide a great opportunity for recreational enjoyment for over 200 people, as well as offering a pathway for those who wish to pursue cricket as an elite sport. With the plans we have in place and the continued hard work and commitment of our members and supporters, the future of the club is very bright indeed.
I will endeavour to answer any questions you may have or take on board any observations and recommendations.
15th November 2018.