Welcome to the 2017 season and, as you’ll see from the handbook, another busy summer of fixtures, coaching sessions and events. After the trials and tribulations of 2015, last season was a much better one for the club with senior availability much-improved. Third-placed finishes for 4 of our 5 senior sides plus appearances in 4 cup finals (we won one of them – the Wicklewood Shield!) certainly indicated an upturn in fortunes. Let’s hope we can build on that in 2017.
As I said in last year’s handbook, though, most Saturdays we enable 44 people to have a game of cricket; we provide cricket for everybody from 6-70; we have women & girls competing at all levels; we have a lovely ground and a pavilion that is a real community asset. It all depends on how you measure success. I wish our senior captains, Olly Harris, Simon Woods, Matt Rushton, Clive Rennie (assisted by Duncan Greenslade), Tim Hales, Eusha Fawad, Chris Elliott and Joey Greenslade the very best of luck – it’s never an easy task.
We are also very grateful to the large team of managers and coaches that volunteer their time and energy to provide so much cricket for so many youngsters.
When I played my first game for Great Melton on 13th June 1974 little did I know that the club would grow to the size it has today.
In the seventies, playing on rented parks pitches with a squad of about 15 players that included the Secretary, Treasurer & Captain who organised just about everything, things were pretty straightforward.
Today I sometimes I think we’ve created a monster! So many teams, so many people, so much effort and money needed to keep everything running.
Decisions have to be made by committees, by coaches, by captains, which have an impact on so many more people so those decisions won’t always meet with universal approval.
I’ve been known to cause the odd ripple myself but, as Chairman for 33 years, I’ve also done a fair bit of fire fighting: responding to the odd crisis or two; patching up minor disagreements; trying hard to maintain peace and harmony.
I’ve accepted that we’re never going to keep everybody happy. Players come and go, problems arise and are (usually) solved but, on the whole I think, we’ve been successful in pleasing most of the people most of the time which is all we can hope for.
This winter the focus for us has been on finance with the cost of replacing the outfield mowers hitting us very hard. We knew they’d need replacing but it came a little quicker than expected and when most of our fundraising efforts were concentrated on the nets.
We had no choice but to bite the bullet and fork out £13,000 for a new set of mowers. The nets project has been held up a bit as we await a response from the ECB to a plea for financial assistance.
In the meantime fundraising goes on and we are very grateful for donations from the Norfolk Organ Donation team, The Saracen’s Fund, the Andy Seeley Estate and some generous Vice-Presidents, parents and supporters.
This summer we have to go through the ECB’s newly re-vamped Clubmark process and all the form-filling and inspection that entails – necessary though in ensuring we are seen as a safe, childfriendly club.
Society has changed and cricket is having to adapt and re-model itself to keep young people, particularly those aged 15-25 involved in the game.
There are so many more things to do and it is ever-harder to find volunteers willing to take on the many tasks associated with running a cricket club. We are luckier than most in that respect but it has never been more important to cherish our voluntary helpers.
On the positive side, volunteering in cricket can be very rewarding – ask any of our young coaching assistants.
If you would like to get involved we are particularly keen to recruit volunteers to help with the bar (especially on Friday nights), the barbecue, with fundraising and on the ground.
Let me know if you can help out in any way. Have a great summer.