We have now completed our second season playing at Spring Lane. Last season I commented that due to the wet summer we had yet to see how a hard, dry pitch would play. On the 13th July 2013, during that glorious hot spell, 478 runs were scored in 66 overs in our victory against Brettenham. This is testament to the continuing hard work of Steve Wilson and his able assistant and engineer Jerry Greggain. Sam Ludford, in addition to his tireless work as fixtures secretary, again spent many hours cutting the outfield. Confidence in the progress at Spring Lane persuaded your committee to approve the laying of three more pitches. This work was completed in October and the grass has germinated. We thank Steve Bowller for providing space at work to store large amounts of Ongar loam and arranging delivery when it’s needed.
To our collection of equipment we have added another outfield cutter, a rotary cutter for use on the square in autumn and winter and two spreaders for seed and fertiliser. We thank John Baker for his help and expertise in servicing our machinery, Chris Parr for cutting the car park area of the ground and Lee Milburn for the most generous loan of his machinery when needed. The ground has also been improved by the laying of fencing along the meadow side. This has saved a great deal of time previously wasted on searching for lost balls. We are grateful to the good offices of Francis Burkitt who secured funding for this project from the Village Car Park Fund. We intend to carry out a similar exercise on the wood side in the early spring. We also intend to improve the outfield by scarifying and seeding. We record our thanks to Trumpington Farm Company for their ongoing and enthusiastic support and in particular to Richard Pemberton and David Knott. We are also delighted to see Antony Pemberton at almost every home match.
The Orchard Tea Garden has once again been most supportive in their generous provision of tea for home matches. Without this we would be unable to provide the hospitality at teatime for which we are becoming recognised. We thank the manager Pauline Holmes and the owner Mr Callan, a gentleman whom I had the pleasure of meeting this summer and who joined us for a glass of wine, expressing his pleasure in what we have achieved at Spring Lane. The Orchard was again invaluable on the day of the Fun Runs by allowing participants to use their facilities.
Once again the largest part of our income has come from our own fundraising efforts, in particular the Fun Run and the Quiz. The former, supported by ACT, is becoming a regular fixture on the running calendar. We thank the Dame Mary Archer and Lord Archer for their active support. Justin Fairhall of Flair Catering was once again most generous in his sponsorship of the event and Dave Crowther ensured that our website was able to drive the administrative arrangements. However it was the membership of the Club, inspired by the energy of Steve Wilson, that was the key to the success of the event. Thanks to all of you who worked so hard in your various capacities both beforehand and on the day. Next year’s Fun Runs will take place on 5th October. Holding the Quiz and Curry Night in the Village Hall proved to be a great success and the format will be replicated on February 7th next year.
We currently have about 65 members of whom 34 could be described as players. We have had a most welcome influx of new members. I would mention in particular the Wray family who have provided an umpire in Frannie, a scorer in Angela and a very useful all-rounder in the person of Will. Nigel Heath has both umpired and scored.
The teas have been beautifully presented this season due to the efforts of Maxine Este, Sue Bailey and Lorna Wilson.
The most important change in the profile of our membership has been the recruitment of young local players. I commented last year that I thought that several of us were perhaps past our prime and hoped that younger players would appear. My hopes have been realised. We were joined by Tom Burkitt, Guy D’Oyly, George Lewin-Smith and the Lawes brothers, Toby, Harry and Oliver. Fifteen year old Harry scored a maiden century and all of them performed creditably.
We played 16 matches of which we won 12, lost 3 and 1 was abandoned due to rain. (I feel bound to record for historical purposes that we should have played 17 matches but the fixture against Cambridgeshire Police was cancelled due to an EDL demonstration in Peterborough.) For me the highlight was a low scoring game against Reach which we won by 1 run; a nail biting finish. We have had a change at the top of both the batting and bowling averages with Mark Goulder topping the batting and Dave Fox the bowling. Our thanks to all of the regulars who help set up the games at Spring Lane. It would however be nice to see everyone doing his bit.
Reports of nearly all the matches are on our website which continues to be administered from Europe by Dave Crowther our webmaster. The site is receiving an increasing number of hits, doubtless from those addicted to cricket fiction. A popular innovation has been Maxine Este’s WAGS’ blog. Thanks to all our imaginative authors both amateur and professional. Next season we shall be embracing information technology even more actively by appointing someone to enhance our use of the social media and by adopting Teamer.net to contact you on club matters including team selection.
Your committee under the chairmanship of Ben Travers met 10 times during the year and was joined as a co-opted member by Christie Marian. Ben and Tony Kennedy have been working hard over the past year to computerise our financial affairs to enable the committee to make sound management decisions.
Our special thanks as always go to John and Karolin for their continuing support and for the warm hospitality here at the Blue Ball Inn commented on so enthusiastically by all our opponents.
If I have omitted to thank anyone please accept my apologies. Thanks to you all for your continuing support. I look forward to seeing many of you at our Annual Dinner on 9th January.
David Foster – Secretary