Chairperson’s Review of the Season
Matt thanked his Exec Committee for all the background tasks that are done to keep the club operating. A noticeable one had been the attempted break-in on Boxing Day when CCTV cameras were broken, shutters attacked and the door handle to the pavilion broken off in an abortive break-in. Fortunately, a local dog walker (Bob Booth) spotted the problem and alerted others. Keith Mannering made the pavilion safe, Dan spent hours going through the CCTV to pick out pictures of the failed burglar, Bob got involved with the police and Rachel sorted out the insurance. All un-noticed by the members!
As a result, we installed new shutters to improve security. Additional improvements are a new score area as a result of the shutters and a girls/umpires changing room all completed by Keith. Part funded through insurance and a grant obtained by Aidan. Another example of volunteer work behind the scenes.
Peter has done a sterling job in obtaining new sponsors, Best FX paid for kit and our main sponsor is now December 19, obtained via Aidan. Note that Tim Barton has been our key sponsor for the past 5 or 6 years. Please use and promote all the sponsors listed on our website.
We must also mention the excellent work done by our groundsmen, Martin and David Cope. We get many comments from visiting teams about the quality of the wicket – especially from batsmen!! Martin and David have been preparing both wicket and outfield it seems forever, in fact Martin started 38 years ago so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when they advised us that they are going to stop. An indication of the value they have provided to the club over this time is that the estimated cost of preparing only the wicket is £7-9K pa.
A discussion with them both has been had and they have agreed to continue wicket preparation, but the outfield will have to be done by the club. This will require volunteers, both to do the work and to organise it.
This brings us to one of my key points, we can’t keep relying on existing people, eventually they stop. We need new blood and need to look forward with succession planning. There is an ongoing problem with cricket in the UK, and clubs that survive and grow are the ones with good infrastructure and strong management. We have that currently, but new people with ideas and enthusiasm are always desirable.
2 years ago, we had a bank balance of £32k and the AGM advised that they wanted to see that spent on cricket. We have done that. The balance is now £10k and there have been many infrastructure improvements. New scoreboard, pavilion improvements etc. We now need to improve the quality of cricket to match the quality of facilities we have.
Whilst there are always items to invest in, e.g. new sightscreens, approx. £3k, astro-turf wicket for juniors, £5-6k etc, we are going to need new sources of funds and more volunteers for them to progress.
Lastly, there was an incident on the pitch that resulted in disciplinary action, both by the club and the Saracens League. I need to emphasise that our conduct on the pitch has to be exemplary, this is to set the correct example to our juniors and to make us an attractive side to new players.
Annual Cricket Committee Reports
5.1 Head of Cricket: Aidan Pimm
The 2018 season has been a challenging one due to players leaving, poor availability and the shortage of new players joining. The recruitment process wasn't without the want of trying. Meetings were had to sound out potential new players, we conducted advertising through Boxmoor Directory, social media and on the website. New players attended winter nets but for one reason or another we were not able to bring in as many as were needed. This is being addressed and will provide more detail in the 2nd part of my report.
Saturday 1st team:
A mixed season for the team where we scored plenty of runs but didn't have the bowling to knock teams over, although the hot summer may have been a factor with that. There were some outstanding individual performances where 3 batsmen were in the top 10 league batting averages. Well done to Richard and Anum on that. Also 2 bowlers were in the top 5 league averages. Well done to Amit and Richard. However, a lesson from this is that it needs the whole team to contribute to make it a successful season and that is something we will look to learn from next year.
Saturday 2nd team
The 2nds had a solid season following their promotion to Division 9B which was even more commendable given the general poor availability. Hopefully, with new recruits coming in next season, this will push the 2nds on to make even more progress.
Saturday 3rd team
It was an extremely difficult season for the 3rd team given the issues we had with availability and sometimes it was just a question of getting teams out. Keith Mckay showed great patience, leadership and good humour to captain the team throughout the season, so many thanks to him
Boxmoor has always had a proud tradition of getting 2 Sunday teams out, whilst the majority of clubs struggle to get just one out. But last season we struggled with availability and games had to be cancelled. I'd like to thank Phil and Will for their efforts in trying to get teams out in difficult circumstances.
Sunday 1st still had some strong individual performances especially from the younger players and we will look to enhance that next season particularly with less fixtures.
Boxmoor Blackbirds is a great concept of blooding new juniors into senior cricket, players who haven't played for a number of years wanting to enjoy a friendly game of cricket and fathers and sons/daughters wanting to play together.
There were a lot of positives from the younger players coming through and performing well in all teams which is a credit to the junior coaches and captains.
In Saturday 1st team, Sam Pimm and Luke Flynn scored their maiden league century’s, Cameron Brooks and Ed Shaw both scored 50's, Lloyd Larkins got his first fifer for the 1st team, Saair Hamdani showed a lot of promise with the ball towards the end of the season and Ben Mannering showed great promise and potential in the games he played.
Ben excelled in the 2nd team where his average of 53 was the 2nd highest in the league batting averages. Euan Mathie came into the team in his first full season and showed a lot of promise with the ball.
In the Saturday 3rs Josh Low, Freddie Hockin, Tilly Larkins, Gaby Pimm, George Goat-Smith and Jasmin Driver showed a great deal of promise and the experience will stand them in good stead for next season.
On Sunday's Ben Mannering and Ed Shaw excelled for the 1st team and in the Blackbirds some of our younger players gained valuable experience of senior cricket.
Moving onto next season and a number of questions have been raised about our plans so I will go through these one by one as a lot of work has started.
There was a lot of negativity around Warners End this year and the feeling that the council haven't looked after it as well as they could. I have had discussions with a number of clubs and we have come to an agreement with Bourne End to use their ground for our 3rd team. It is a nicer ground and will be looked after, we have agreed a price on a par with Warners End. Thanks to Dave Hill at Bourne End.
Questions have been asked about structured training sessions in the summer as the way it works currently is not beneficial to the club as a whole. I have spoken with a Level 3 Coach who is very interested in providing the coaching in the summer. He needs to check his schedule as he has asked to run some Berkshire County squads but will get back to me by the end of November. This will cost the club money and the players will need to pay for each session as they do for Winter Training. The benefit to doing this is that our training will be structured and it will improve individual development and performance.
It is now up to the players to commit themselves to the club by turning up to training and making this work if they want Boxmoor to succeed on the playing side.
Sunday 1st team fixtures
Given the availability issues, next season the Sunday 1st team and Blackbirds team won't play on the same day. We will have 14 games for the Sunday 1st (less than this season) and 7 for the Blackbirds. This will give us the best opportunity to get competitive teams out.
We have acquired the services of 3 players from Wendover Cricket Club, 2 of whom are of a 1st team standard. This includes their current Captain Matt Smalley-Harris. This will boost the quality in our teams. Also returning are Prateek Malhotra (after being abroad studying for a few years) and Ross Bargent (who took a year out last year). Imran Khan who was part of the 1st team promotion winning season 4 years ago is also keen to return and will be netting in the winter. Joe Halls who moved to the area from Derbyshire and made a good impression in the games he played will also be staying on although his availability may be sporadic.
We will be advertising in the local Hemel Gazette, Boxmoor Directory, on the website and on social media as we want to increase the numbers coming into the club. However, getting players into the club is everyone's responsibility, so if anyone know people who are interested in joining, I'd be happy to talk to them
A lot of good work has been carried out since the season ended and there is more to be done. The club are putting a lot of work into improving the playing side and we need commitment from the current players for availability for the season ahead.
Thank you to the executive committee who have always been incredibly supportive in everything I have asked of them. Thanks to Martin and David for their great work on the ground. We do have one of the best wickets in the league and is down to their hard work and dedication.
Thanks also to the cricket committee for their hard work in trying circumstances at times, Peter Lockley for arranging all the fixtures, Keith Hammond for getting the press reports into the local paper and given us excellent publicity. Thanks to Andy Dickinson for arranging the umpire’s rota which is appreciated by the teams.
We are looking forward to a successful 2019 season.
5.2 Junior Cricket: Nick Harper
Whilst lots of fun was had, it was a moderate season compared with previous years in terms of results, although the girls squad retained the Abbots Langley Tournament. There were though some notable individual performances. Particularly Ben Mannering’s haul of over 900 runs, the vast majority in open age cricket. Tilly Larkins was rated best bat for Herts U15s and Gaby Pimm took 5 wickets for Middlesex u15s and is attending the National Fast Bowling Academy. Jasmine Driver also completed Young Leaders in Cricket Programme and was recently awarded her certificate at Lords. We have 5 u10s in the District squad and a couple playing at Area level.
As always, many thanks for the time, energy and selfless dedication of all coaches and match managers: Aidan Pimm Phil Owen, William Allen, Sam Pimm, Nick Cottrell, John Cheeseman, Steve Butler, Chris Bryon and Pete Tompkins.
This year we should make a special acknowledgement of the time and dedication shown by Dave Bell and Tim Hockin who have helped take their squad through from u10s to a very competitive and talented u15s. Hopefully they will return!
Thanks to Phil for running All Stars, which doubled in size to run at capacity and Dans Webb and Hobbs helping. The process really relies on parents getting involved and we hope to see that continue and go form strength to strength.
Ongoing success of Girls cricket has in a large part been down to willingness to merge with HHTCC to form Grand Union squads for training and matches. Next year this approach will be rolled out to u15 boys, u13 Mixed and two more girls’ sides next season. We look forward to more participation from HHTCC in helping deliver coaching and matches for these squads.
The AGM may be surprised to see me back as Head of Junior Cricket, having stood down two years ago. Since then the workload being sub divided has proved effective, but there is still a need for someone to co-ordinate and have an overall view. As I was still heavily involved and aware of the immediate pressures on the club I have stood again.
Thanks to all on the Main and Cricket Sub-Committee for support, especially:
Suzy, Club Welfare Officer and Phil for navigating us through a new Clubmark process and I’m pleased to say we have just been re-accredited. William Allen for GDPR compliant membership data work and collecting subs with Rachel. Pete Lockley for arranging complex fixtures and Martin & David Cope for their hard work on the grounds.
The work doesn’t stop. Tim, Dave, Pete and John are running u11 and u15 sides in the Choice Indoor Leagues, with both teams in the semi-finals on Sunday. Herts Junior League are chasing for team entries, and we start training again January 8th at Longdean School. Thanks to Matt for his ongoing work with them to confirm a booking.
Next year sees a few new rules and new formats, u9s will play off 15 yards, Girls will be able to play u10 League and B Leagues will become non-competitive. We require a match manager at least for u11s, and we are always open to new coaches. If anyone would like to help and get a coaching qualification contact me. Herts will be trialling a new setup which makes it significantly quicker and easier to get the qualification. As ever, the club will reimburse the costs if you help at The Moor.