ChairmanI’m reluctant to use the word ‘crisis’ having seen more ups and downs than most in my 32 years as Chairman of Great Melton Cricket Club but, as 2016 approaches, the club is certainly in a dilemma!

The A.G.M. last Wednesday saw us fail to appoint captains for the B, C and Sunday A Teams!

The 28 members who attended at the meeting represented a good cross-section of the club and was an improvement on recent years but a shortage of willing volunteers to take on the captaincy roles means the future of two of the club’s senior sides – the C and Sunday Friendly teams – is very much in the balance.

After a lengthy, constructive and generally positive debate on social change and the availability problems that are affecting cricket generally, not just Great Melton, no solutions were found nor firm conclusions reached.  The major benefits of the C Team and the Sunday Friendly Team as stepping stones for youngsters moving from junior to senior cricket – as well as providing some elderly stalwarts with an opportunity to extend their careers – were clearly felt by the majority, reluctant to see these sides ‘dropped’. Once the C Team does go, it will be harder to restore it as, inevitably its Saturday ‘slot’ at Town Close will be taken up by another club. But the reality is that, unless captains can be found and, unless more people want to play that, sadly, is what will happen.

With the B Team, things are a little different. With Olly Harris continuing as 1st Team skipper and Simon Woods elected to lead the A Team, last year’s B Team captain, Tim Hales, is again willing to captain but his election makes it more difficult for him to be selected for the Alliance sides – and last season Tim was our most consistent batsman. It leaves the Bs as the third senior team without a skipper. However, if no obvious candidate emerges, the B team will be selected by the Senior Cricket (Selection) Committee who will appoint a captain on a week-to-week basis. Not ideal but the best we can do at the present time given the shortage of volunteers.

The reluctance to ‘drop’ the club’s 4th Saturday team and the Sunday Friendly Team until, at least, all other alternatives have been exhausted meant a final decision was deferred until December 31st in order for captains to come forward.

Fortunately all the other captaincy positions were filled with Tim Hales (Sunday & Midweek 1st XI), Chris Elliott (Midweek A Team) and Hannah Brook (Women) all elected.

Another bonus was the election of young coaches George Bunn and Ryan Hayward to jointly take over the Coaching Coordinator’s role from Simon Carding.

The other important vacancy to fill was that of U11 Team Manager but this was solved by young volunteer James Robb, volunteering his services.  James has a great rapport with the youngsters and knows the U10s well and, with the more experienced coaches to support him, this is a refreshing development.

The rest of the officers stayed the same – President: Andy Seeley; Chairman & Junior Development Officer: me (Still no luck in off-loading any of my jobs!);  Secretary: John Burdett; Treasurer: Leo DeSalis; Welfare Officer: Celia Phoenix; Membership Secretary: Steve Clarke; Groundsman: Mike Phoenix; Junior Representatives: Joey Greenslade, Laura Edge & Aimee Palmer.

The captains’ reports reflected a difficult 2015 season, badly affected by the loss of 12 first team players for various reasons.  It was a tale of variable availability throughout the club culminating in relegation for the First & A Teams.  However there were positive signs in the success of the Sunday 1st Team and the Midweek A Team plus the emergence of several younger players who coped well with early promotion to more senior sides. Other positives, of course, are the flourishing junior and Women & Girls’ sections.

There was also good news on the financial front with new Treasurer Leo DeSalis presenting a very healthy balance sheet even after the refurbishment of the kitchen. It means match fees can stay the same and, although the Annual Subscription for seniors has been raised by £1 to £36, the club can now offer members BACS transfer and Direct Debit instalment facilities.

Having expanded and progressed rapidly in the last decade it is time for us to ‘take stock’ and decide what sort of cricket club we want to become – a large club that tries to provide everything for everybody or a smaller, more family-orientated club with fewer teams providing for a smaller, more loyal, dedicated membership – or something in between!  If we want to continue as we are, we need some more hands to the pump, in particular, we need some captains.  If you’re interested, please get in touch.  You’ve got until 31st December!

Steve

 

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