Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to present the fifth Secretary’s Report of the reformed Grantchester Cricket Club.
The biggest change that has taken place during the past year has been in the management of the team. There has been a smooth transfer of power from the Old Stagers to the Young Turks. In the background however there remains the reassuring guidance of age and experience. I would like to record the Club’s recognition of the hard work and efforts of our Captain AP Stafford and his Vice-Captain James Menzies.
We have completed a fourth playing season at our beautiful ground at Spring Lane which continues to improve year after year. We are indebted once again to the many hours of hard work put in by Steve Wilson and his able assistant Jerry Greggain. They have ensured that teams can play attractive, attacking cricket. The outfield once again has been kept fast and short by Nigel Heath. Our facilities have been improved with the assistance of grants from South Cambridgeshire District Council and The English Cricket Board. These bodies have enabled us to purchase respectively a Pop-up Marquee and a cover for the pitches. We are most grateful for their support. The marquee which goes up in minutes has been a real boon, cutting down the set-up time considerably. We have sold machinery which is surplus to requirements and the proceeds and own resources enabled us to buy a Paladin Dual Square Cutter. We were keen to buy an optional extra for this machine, an unfortunately named ‘Groomer’, but were a little short of funds. An appeal to members quickly raised the £1,000 shortfall in a matter of days. I record with thanks our gratitude to the generous donors. I also record our thanks to Trumpington Farm Company for their continued support and in particular to Antony and Richard Pemberton and David Knott.
The Orchard Tea Garden has once again been most supportive in its provision of tea for home matches. We are indebted to the manager Pauline Holmes for this invaluable help. We are most fortunate in that the new owner Charles Bunker is most happy to continue to provide our tea and is a big supporter of cricket at Spring Lane. We have had a couple of meetings with Charles to discuss areas of mutual interest.
Once again the largest part of our income has come from our own fundraising efforts, in particular the Charity Runs and the Quiz. This year’s Runs were the most successful we have organised. Last year I promised a new route, improved marketing, and a changed date to avoid clashes with other local Runs. All this was done and for the first time we had over 300 runners registered and paying. This was a 23% increase on 2014 and a 9% increase on 2013. This year the chosen focus for joint fundraising with ACT was a Nippy ventilator. We are grateful to Dame Mary Archer for graciously agreeing to start the Runs. For the improved route we thank Jerry Greggain, Christie Marian and Steve Bowller and for the improved marketing and larger numbers Steve Wilson and Justin Fairhall must take a lot of credit. We thank Francis Burkitt for providing the Village Car Park and Lizzie O’Beirne Ranelagh for letting us use her paddock for our assembly point, runner registration and refreshments. Again we thank our sponsors Flair Catering and Hotel Res. The Runs now have their own website at www.grantchester10k.org .
We held our popular Quiz & Curry Night for the third year and we will repeat the format for the fourth time in the Village Hall next February. Both of our major fundraising events are made possible and successful thanks in no small part to the generosity of Justin Fairhall. I should also like to take the opportunity to thank John Anderson for his ongoing generous sponsorship.
If there were an award for the best cricket club website I think we would be among the favourites. We thank Christie Marian for keeping our site up to date, witty and interesting. The tone of the site admirably reflects the character of our Club. This year we have launched ourselves into Facebook and Twitter. We thank Jonty Este for this initiative and urge more members to follow us. Tony Kennedy has maintained our good relationship with the Village with his contributions to the Parish Magazine.
The Club has 57 paying memberships of which 7 are family ones. This means that we have about 70 paying members. There are in addition 6 student members who do not pay fees.
Once again we were let down by unreliable opposition. Bassingbourn had double booked themselves for our first match then later in the season they simply failed to turn up without informing us. Both Ickleton and Sawston cried off at short notice. We have arranged Gents v Players fixtures to fill some gaps and even a double wicket tournament. We have taken a tough line with the above mentioned clubs and will not arrange fixtures with them again. It is difficult to arrange good friendlies and we thank Sam Ludford for his tireless efforts to produce the perfect fixture list. I am concerned that we have not quite managed to adopt a foolproof system for recording availability. The Committee needs to give this some thought. Another observation is that we sometimes struggled to put out 11 players in August.
This season we played 15 and won 12. Our Captain and Vice Captain cannot be accused of not leading from the front. AP topped the batting averages with 539 runs @ 107.8 and James Menzies the bowling with 15 wickets @ 6.4. James also took most catches with 8. The full lists will appear on the website.
There has been an improvement in playing standards due to the hard work put in by the team and to the recruitment of new players. Andreas Metzger, Teddy Kealey, Ben Curtis, Will Thwaites, Nick Thompson and William Barclay have all made their mark.
Andreas Metzger played 4 games and had his best figures away at March where he took 2 wickets in 4 overs for just 7 runs. Teddy showed great promise with both bat and ball, taking wickets regularly in all his matches, coming out with an average of 13.5 with the bat. Ben Curtis displayed great ability with the ball and after brushing off the cobwebs in the first few games he showed good control of line and length. On his return from America next year we hope he will continue to progress. Will Thwaites has come into the team this season to spice up the bowling attack, but he also proved that he can swing a bat very effectively, top scoring against Hare St with a quick fire 42*. We were delighted to welcome our first Olympian to the Club in the person of Nick Thompson. Nick came to the sport for the first time this year and after realizing that it was far superior to hockey managed to fit in 3 games. Sadly he found out that unlike hockey on all weather Astroturf, cricket is very dependent on the weather. He managed to score some runs and on his debut against the illusive Bassingbourn he took 2 wickets for 18. William Barclay is another one for the future. He showed great spirit and character on and off the pitch and in the final Players v Gents game he managed to skip up the wicket to score the winning runs off the penultimate ball of the game to get a second victory for the Players.
The batsmen this year have shown how some proper winter nets can really help kick start our season. Dan Farman and John Anderson were the rocks at the top of the order but sadly both missed out on centuries, partly due to the captain’s running calls. Guy Lane, Don Syme and Christie Marrian also did well at the top of the order when called upon. Christie was unfortunately the victim of some shocking umpiring decisions from your Secretary. The middle order had some strong fire power when needed, with Sam Ludford, Philip Myers, Jake Jones, Fergus Wilson and Jamie Menzies all contributing. Jamie Menzies as vice captain scored a well-worked century against March which was one of the knocks of the season, rescuing GCC from a disastrous start of 2 wickets for 0 runs after the first over. However the batting performance of the season was David Berman’s 22 against London Erratics, facing the pace of Jake Jones who was guesting for the opposition.
In the bowling department there were a lot of team contributions and wickets were shared around pretty equally over the matches. Martin Baker was prominent regularly and enjoyed the support of Jake Jones, Finlay Wilson and Will Thwaites who all took wickets when needed. Alex Stafford, Jamie Menzies and Chris Morrison also took more than 10 wickets. Dave Fox, Tony Kennedy and Jonty Este showed that it’s not just a young man’s game; all took wickets and bowled economically.
The Club went on its first proper tour this year to beautiful Derbyshire. There were many highlights on and off the pitch. Concentrating on the performances on the pitch, a memorable game against Chatsworth saw David Berman (Baggers) not only take a wonderful catch but also score his first ever boundary. After being thrown in at the top of the order due to popular demand David managed to whip the opening bowler off his pads for a delightful leg glance, sending the ball rocketing to the square leg fence. As the light was fading Tony Kennedy also found some form and took 2 for 14 runs off his 4 overs. Martin Baker has been a very valuable member of the side, taking a steady amount of wickets for very few runs. Figures like his at Great Longstone (7overs-3maidens-6runs-3wickets) were common over the season. And who will forget George Hill’s devastating spell of 4wickets for 6 runs in 1.4 overs that finally broke Great Longstone’s resistance? Both Tour matches were won and we owe a vote of thanks to Steve Wilson for organizing a most successful weekend. We are planning to tour again next June.
We thank Tony Kennedy for his role as kit man and match fee collector, our scorers Angela Wray and Sarah Fitt, our Umpires Nigel Heath and Frannie Wray and our tea ladies under the leadership of Maxine Este.
There are plans to encourage more junior players by running coaching sessions at winter nets and by putting on some special matches for them at Spring Lane.
Your committee met 10 times during the past year under the Chairmanship of Ben Travers.
It is with sadness that I record our final thanks to John and Karolin for their immense support for the Cricket Club over the past 5 years. We wish them a happy retirement. However we look forward immensely to the new management of Toby and Angela Joseph at the Blue Ball and wish them well in their new enterprise.
If I have omitted to thank anyone please accept my apologies.
I look forward to seeing many of you at our Annual Dinner on Friday January 8th at The University Centre.
David Foster – Secretary