Grantchester Cricket Club AGM, February 23 2020, The Secretary’s Report

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to present the ninth Secretary’s Report of the reformed Grantchester Cricket Club.

We have completed our eighth playing season at Spring Lane which continues to improve under the stewardship of Steve Wilson and Jerry Greggain. We thank Michael Ades for his assistance in cutting the outfield. We are indebted to the many hours of dedicated work they put in. We have added a winter square cutter and a leaf blower to our machinery collection. The latter has helped immensely in saving time in the Autumn, clearing the leaves at the Archer End. The hedge at the Meadows End remains a problem when balls are hit into it. I think we will have to hire our own contractor to address this issue.

We thank our landlord Pemberton Farm Partnership for their continued support and in particular Antony and Richard Pemberton and Farm Manager David Knott.

The Orchard Tea Garden has once again been most supportive in its provision of tea for home matches. We have established a good relationship with the new manager Gary Hounsell and his wife Sophie. We thank Charles Bunker for his continued support.

We have found an ideal venue for our Annual Dinner. This year for the second time we have used the private dining room at The Rupert Brooke. Once again it was a most successful evening. We have bought handsome new annual trophies for best batsman, bowler and all-rounder. Tankards will from now on be awarded to scorers of centuries and takers of five wickets. Captain Dan reviewed the season and presented the awards. We had a very healthy turnout and we have booked the Rupert Brooke for next year’s dinner on 15th January 2021.

Our website is a cornerstone of the efficient operation of the Club and continues to be most efficiently and effectively managed by Christie Marrian.

Our social media presence and articles in the Parish Magazine are handled by Jonty Este.

We are grateful to Penguin Insurance, represented by John Anderson, for their continued support. In addition, we thank Rod Bishop for his personal sponsorship.

2019 was another successful season for Grantchester Cricket Club. I would like to thank Dan Farman for his account of the 2019 season which follows:

“Good cricket, played in the spirit of hard, but fair, competition was manifested in a record of Won 11, Lost 6, the best return of the past few seasons.   We were only outplayed once, in a T20 vs Philanderers and with a fairer wind, the record could have been better still.

Playing numbers continue to be maintained at healthy levels.  34 players participated for the Club over the 17 matches, 6 of whom were newcomers to the Club in what we hope will be the beginning of long and fruitful relationships. 

The fixture list continues to improve in the pursuit of decent Club cricketing standards.  The regular stalwarts of the Menzies XI, Chippenham, Highgate Taverners, Camden, St. Giles etc. were complimented by first-time skirmishes against Waresley, Holkham (full match) and Gentlemen of Cambridge.  We hope these three sides continue their relationship with GCC, most notably because they were all losses for the Club and unfinished business hangs in the air like gunpowder on the field of Waterloo.

Once again, the statistics tell a story of success and achievement: 3,100 runs in the 17 innings, averaging 6.25 an over and 36.36 per wicket, eclipsing the Opposition by a healthy margin (2,700 runs at 5.57 and 25.22). 

Bat or Ball, the Captain was always blessed with someone willing to step up for the Club.  Notable amongst a season of collective brilliance were the following:

  • W. Wray’s maiden century with the bat vs Woodcutters, one of many fine knocks this season, contributing to a tally of 456 runs at 65.14
  • J. Jones’s brilliant 56* vs Waresley, restoring some pride on what proved to be a difficult batting wicket.  With ball he was often just too good, but always an example of bowling poetry in motion.
  •  H. Platts-Martin’s 95 vs Barford, classic aggressive batting and deserving of the handful more, for what, surprisingly, would have been a maiden landmark century.
  • S. Arumugam’s 69* vs GOC, faultless and a masterclass in the art of batting and 
  • Finlay Wilson’s 5-40 vs Highgate Taverners, the best return of the season by any bowler and a constant menace at the top of the innings for all opposition.
  • Fergus Wilson’s 82 vs Woodcutters.  One of a number of excellent knocks in by far his best season to date for GCC, 487 runs at 44.27.

Contributions from the rest of the team are too numerous to mention individually, but 27 players bowled and 33 batted and we hope that each and every one of you will look to play a role in 2020.

Given the above highlighted achievements, it will be no surprise to hear that Finlay Wilson won the trophy for Best Bowler, Fergus Wilson for Best Batsman and Henry Platts-Martin the much-vaunted accolade of Best All-Rounder. Tankards were awarded to Will Wray for his century and to Finlay Wilson for his 5-40.”

Dan adds,

“None of this could of course happen without the dynamism and drive of the machine that is Steve Wilson.  Chairman, Groundsman, Treasurer, Fundraiser, Entertainments Secretary and any other position on the Committee needing help on any given day. He really has been the glue that has bound this Club together since its re-birth 10 years ago. “

Once again, fundraising came from the 10th Anniversary Charity Runs on September 29th. By most criteria it was our most successful event so far. We used the new course for the fifth time and the fact that there are no road crossings and a varied route once again proved popular. For a second time we used chip timing. We had a record number of advanced registrations and a record number of recorded finishers. For the first time we had inclement weather but the event proceeded smoothly apart from the amplifier giving up the ghost. Justin Fairhall was our honorary guest starter. We have now bought our own Start/Finish Arch. We were able to donate significant cheques to our designated charities, ACT and Maggie’s Centre Cambridge. We had good feedback especially about the Marshals. There was an apparent misunderstanding about the role and route of the sweeper which we must clarify for next year. We thank our sponsors: Lunchtime Company, HotelResUK, Great Events Cambridge and Crossfit. We thank Pemberton Farm Partnership for permission to use their land, Francis Burkitt for the use of the Village Car Park and Lizzie O’Beirne Ranelagh for the use of her paddock for assembly, registration and refreshments. We were pleased to have the Cambridge Independent as our Media Partner for the second time. The main organisers from the Club were Steve Wilson, Christie Marrian, Sam Ludford and Justin Fairhall. We thank Jerry Greggain for inspecting the course beforehand, Sam Ludford for providing water on the course and our volunteer Marshals on the day. Next year’s event will be on the 27th September.

Our other fundraiser is the Annual Quiz which unfortunately we had to cancel last year due to lack of support. This year the Quiz will go ahead next Friday 28th February and we sincerely hope this event can be re-established as one of the Club’s regular features.

In the interest of historical record, I feel bound to include the following incident from 2019:

While we were on our short tour to Norfolk and about to play at beautiful Holkham Hall, Steve Wilson received word that our beautiful ground at Spring Lane had been a victim of mindless vandalism. A large group of students had apparently celebrated the end of their GCSE’s by partying at Spring Lane. In addition to leaving a massive amount of litter and empties, they had broken bottles on the square leaving shards of glass everywhere and had jumped on the covers to the point of destruction. This obviously put a dampener on proceedings in Norfolk but stiffened resolve to find the culprits. Our two sleuths, our own Holmes and Watson, Farman and Wilson, aided by inside intelligence and the help of social media were able to identify both the school and the culprits. I will spare their blushes but suffice to say that parents were more than willing to stump up the necessary funds to repair the damage to avoid the involvement of the police. O tempora, o mores!

The Club has 19 Life and Honorary Life Members, 35 Playing Members, 6 Family Memberships and 11 Social Members. 4 people paid in cash and 1 by cheque, the latter being $100 from Ralph Gillis in Boston. The rest paid by direct transfer.

Your Committee has met 11 times since the last AGM.

I would like to thank Lorna Wilson for her help doing the teas, Tony Kennedy for looking after equipment and organising the winter nets and Sam Ludford for arranging the fixtures. We have urgent need of regular umpires and a scorer.

In my position as Secretary I would like to thank Dan Farman for the efficient and good-humoured manner in which he leads the playing side of our Club. With the help of the online availability data he selects sides of suitable strength to match the opposition, he communicates with all the players, cajoles where necessary and makes the tea arrangements work admirably.

My final words are the most important I have had to deliver in my time as your Secretary. Earlier you heard the words of Dan describing the outstanding contribution made by Steve Wilson to the running of the Club. As most of you know Steve is shortly leaving Cambridge to live in his native Derbyshire. This puts the Club at a crossroads. At a conservative estimate Steve spends about 25 hours per week on the ground not to mention his other roles. He will dash down to put covers on, to take them off, to turn water on and off. All this as well as producing one of the best squares in Cambridge. Jerry too puts in a good number of hours and we have had help with the outfield from Michael Ades as I mentioned before. Steve’s departure is going to leave a big hole in the required man hours on the ground. We can’t afford to pay a groundsman so unless we can unearth a volunteer, preferably retired, with a desire to become a groundsman, the jobs will have to be done by members.

I made a similar final point last year though in non specific terms. This year it is very specific and crucial to the continuance of Grantchester Cricket Club.

David Foster

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