Chairman’s Report for 2008

In many ways 2008 can be judged a highly successful season, although it didn’t always seem like it at the time. As ever, there were some issues which caused problems from time to time, and we need to deal with these much more firmly next year. So 2009 will be a year of substantial challenge on and off the field.

First the good news…
Pride of place must go to the 1st XI and a terrific achievement in gaining promotion to the senior division of the Bristol & District League. In many ways this was against the odds, particularly after two defeats against runaway winners Cleeve and one to challengers Phoenix WI. The efforts on and off the field to get the return match played, completed and won is the stuff of legends, and I will only refer you to Ben Boundary- Creeper’s real-time report on the FPCC Website. I must mention Alistair’s terrific leadership, ably supported by Simon Bachelor. It was a real team effort, but I will make special mention of the indefatiguable Tony Lippe, still getting through 15 overs unchanged at the age of….., and to Walkers Major and Minor whose performances were critical to the team’s success, particularly in the last tense weeks of the season. Well done on getting up – now let’s make sure we stay there!

Congratulations too to Ijaz and the 2nd X1 on their return to the senior division at the first time of asking, with a special word of thanks to unofficial vice captain Bernard Raines for his efforts on and especially off the field.

We do need to look at availability next year to make sure a full side is fielded at all times.

Sundays also went well (mostly) with the North Somerset X1 (aka Steve’s Grandfathers) making their habitual late season “burst” to achieve a moderately respectable midfield position. And the friendly X1 enjoyed some good cricket thanks to John Skinner’s conscientious leadership.

It was a difficult year for junior cricket, although there were some excellent individual and team performances. Sadly no Under 15s this year, although the Under 13s did well to win the junior Plate final.

All this was made possible by the efforts of our groundsman extraordinaire Paul Bachelor, who did a miraculous job of preparing good cricket wickets in most unfriendly weather conditions. And despite the pernicious efforts of the resident mole population, the condition of the outfield was a considerable improvement this year, for which much thanks to our new assistant groundsman (or lady).

On the down side, far too many players failed to show due consideration and support for their captain and for the club, particularly in settling their subs and match fees on time. This makes the Treasurer’s job near impossible, and must be corrected next season. I hope members will support the committee in making it clear that selection is conditional on payment, a discipline that needs to be led by the captains, enforced by the Selection Committee and monitored closely by the officers of the club.

We have also reached a crossroads in terms of junior cricket. This has been a strong feature of the club for many years, but we are now running out of strong cricketing parents with the time and energy to put into organizing junior teams. Where one asks are the Humphreys and Walkers of tomorrow?

Lyndon has done sterling work as Youth Organiser, and Jane and Rod Billing have put their heart and soul into managing the younger teams in recent years, but unless new people put their hands up very quickly I fear that junior cricket may be taking a back seat for a while.

One other issue facing us, albeit a more practical one – we desperately need a new scorebox. Is this the time to go electronic, and if so can we find up to £4,000 to install it?

Finally, I want to express my, and the club’s, sadness at the untimely death of young Matt Billing a couple of months ago. How devastating and how undeserved for the family. The service at Portbury Church was a desperately moving experience. Somehow, it puts everything in context.

Richard Whittington
24th November 2008

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