AGM Sunday 19th March at 1900

Wickham Park CC – Chairman’s Report March 2023

My Year!!: Surprisingly enough I have enjoyed the year as Chairman. I did not really know what to expect and the reality was better than my worst fears. Thanks to Cliff who has always been available for advice and guidance and thanks to so many members of the Cricket Club who have been kind and generous to me and given me so much fun. These include the team Captains, Sami, Dave, Khan, Nelson, who put so much work in to ensure we get teams out. Thanks to Peter Humphrey for his invaluable support and advice. Thanks to Paul Robinson for scoring and I hope he will be able to continue next year. I have loved the playing and the social side, both after the game as well as the many social functions we have held in the Hall. It is so good to see so many non-players who come down to support and join in. There have been frustrations and I will come back to that later but in general, there is a great deal for us to be proud of.

Thanks: It is important to acknowledge those people who have helped the club thrive throughout the year. Thanks must go to Mark Avenell who has worked hard this year to prepare the grounds for both cricket and football. It has not been easy; however, he has clearly been successful as we have had so many compliments about how well the square plays. Thanks must also go to Andy Bowles and Josh Bowles who have been such vital members of the club for many years. Josh and Isaac will be playing their cricket closer to home, and we wish them every success over the coming years.

Season: I think last year could be described as a season of mixed fortunes. The first team played well and finished 3rd which was a blessing as we are not quite ready to be promoted. Sami scored the most runs 747, Tamil took the most wickets, 45 and Khan took the most catches 18. Khan also finished 2nd on runs scored and wickets taken. There were 2 x 100s both scored by Nelson. The 2nd team struggled and finished bottom, mainly because we could not get any consistency in team selection. Overall, we played 53 matches and won 22 and we should look to improve on that next year.

Nets: Winter nets were again held at the Beckenham County Cricket Ground. It is a good venue but there were problems with agreeing on dates and perhaps we should be looking at a different venue next year, and one that might be a little closer to Croydon where so many of our members live.

Looking Forward

New Structure: As you know the League structure in Kent has been reorganised. The 1st team will play in Tier 2, Division 7 Spitfire. The 2nd team will play in Tier 4, Division 12A. We will be playing against many of our old friends but also some new ones so it will be a new challenge for us. The League has agreed that Teas will not be provided this year but will look at it again next year. One big change is that each team in Tier 2 will have to provide an umpire who cannot play. Gary has agreed to help where possible, but we cannot rely on that every week.

New Prices: Dave and I have had a look at what we charge other teams to play at WP and we have decided to increase prices a little. It is important not to price ourselves out of the market but it is also important that we charge a reasonable rate which will support the cricket section. In 2023 we intend to charge adult teams £145 to hire our ground. The Ovalites and Malinga’s team get a reduced rate of £130. And the Kent O60s and O70s have agreed to increase their payments from £60 to £90. Bromley CC would like to continue their connection with us, and I will look to increase their payments. This will not only help our finances but might also help a problem that we have to face next year. When we rent the ground out, we need to have someone here to open up and put the equipment out and away. Last year, Peter, Gary, Dave Crisp, Cliff and I helped out – mostly me to be honest. This is not a very reliable system and there were problems last year. The extra money charged might be useful to pay someone to do this important piece of work.

Hopes for the Year: One of the big problems the cricket section has, is a lack of communication from many of the members. Very few reply to emails, WhatsApps, Facebook entries, Instagram posts and I often feel ignored. I do ask people to briefly show that they have seen a post and let me know whether they agree, disagree, are coming or not coming. Secondly, lateness, especially in the 2nd team is a big problem. We can not expect to perform well if only half a team is there – it shows great disrespect to the opposition as well as our Cricket Club. Please, please, please can we all make a great effort to help and remind all members to be on time for a game.

Finally, to finish on a positive note. I would like to thank all the families who allow their husbands, sons, partners to play on a regular basis – we love to see you at the ground during and after the game. You are very welcome and without you the club would be a poorer place!