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Chairman's Report for 2023 AGM

Chairman's Report for 2023 AGM

Tracy Wassall28 Nov 2023 - 17:54
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A review of 2023.

As before, we are circulating reports and papers before the meeting and if you have any questions or queries, these can be sent in beforehand or asked on the night.

After the great successes of 2022, 2023 proved to be more challenging than we had anticipated. Before the season started, we were hit by two thefts of machinery, which set back our proposed capital spend. Our hoped-for Overseas Player failed to materialise, and Darren Kok suffered an injury that only allowed him to play a few games. We were therefore always on the back foot and the standard in the higher leagues made for a difficult season. However, a number of positives were seen, with Paul Dipple stepping up to the plate as 1st team skipper and galvanising the team to produce some good results. Paul certainly has the respect of the players and I am delighted that he has agreed to stay as 1st team skipper for 2024. With many of our young players at university for the early part of the season, there were opportunities for others, and many younger players gained valuable experience; in total 16 juniors played senior cricket across the season.

I know that Dave Stokes had to work hard to put teams together, and thanks to him for all his efforts, particularly in giving opportunities to younger players to bat and bowl and not just make up the numbers. That long term strategy will no doubt reap rewards in the future. Dave has decided to step down as 2nd team skipper but has nominated Liam Clarke to take over, which will be put to the members at the AGM. I would like to thank Dave for his great work as Captain and as a member of the Committee, from which he is also stepping down.

Our Under 15s played in the Warwickshire Premier League and finished a creditable joint 3rd. Our Under 13s won their Warks Pairs Pool, as did our Under 11 girls in the CHL. We are always looking to recruit new players and late in the season, we welcomed Rob Stanley from Great Alne and Devlin Jacobs from Lapworth, who will both prove good acquisitions. Rob is constructing an Honours Board over the winter, which we will hopefully have much use for going forward! Paul Dipple is also hopeful of other players moving across to us and is progressing an overseas player/coach coming over. Even if that does not come to fruition, the Committee have agreed to use professional coaching in 2024, which can only benefit us.

Dave Swinburn, has agreed to remain as our Head Groundsman, having done a tremendous job, even after the loss of some of our equipment in the pre-season thefts. Our square continues to gain plaudits from visitors and members, but we will continue to need help from as many people as possible, to continue the ground works. We have now replaced the bulk of the machinery following the insurance payout and the committee will be looking at our capital spend going forward.

Security has become more necessary, and we are looking at both physical and electronic means of protecting our assets. The provision of an additional changing facility, which was voted as the priority at the last AGM, has proven challenging. We cannot use ECB grants to buy the building itself, but they can be used to fit out, so we are now looking at second hand, basic units, which will be cheaper. As always, we will need to liaise with Ragley and Heritage England as well as Stratford Council for planning permission. Sandra has regular contact with many people at Ragley, who remain very supportive of our Club. Expenses continue to rise but we now have much better controls of income and expenditure, following work by our Treasurer, Jason Lowe.

It would be good to hold more events, both to increase the social side of the Club and to raise funds but we do need people to step up to organise and support such gatherings. Amy Waters is looking to organise more events going forward and will hopefully be joining our committee. The Club Presentation Evening again went very well, this time at The Alcester Inn and the format will be repeated going forward. Ashlee Powell, supported by the burgeoning W&G section, made great efforts to boost our Fundraising and the “pledge wall” raised over £2,000 for the Club, very well done with that. Clubmark is due to be reassessed in 2024, which is effectively our licence to trade.

I have joined the Cotswold Hills League Executive Committee as League Safeguarding Officer. One of my first aims was to simplify the League regulations for Overseas Players and this was agreed at a recent EGM. We will be looking at all regulations to ensure simplicity, clarity and fairness are at the heart of the CHL.

Ian is remaining as Fixtures Secretary and has already filled virtually every Sunday with friendlies. He will be looking to organise some additional competitive fixtures on Sundays that do not clash with 100 ball fixtures, if League players want extra games. He is also establishing a coaching and management structure for our juniors, who continue to go from strength to strength. We now have around 140 kids at the Club on Friday evening training, so any help from members would be appreciated. In addition, there are now 6 of our girls and boys in County age groups. At the other end of the age spectrum, Dave Swinburn, one of 3 members playing for senior county teams, scored 830 runs for the Warwickshire Over 60s 2nd XI and Over 70s 1st XI at an average of 63.85 including 2 centuries, Dave was also awarded the Warwickshire Seniors Player of the Year at the County awards dinner at Edgbaston in October; there are therefore opportunities for other older members to still play competitive cricket, once they stop playing league.

There will also be opportunities to Umpire our League Matches and thanks to Dave Moulson for umpiring some of our games in 2023; hopefully Jonathan Barnes will be undertaking his umpire training over the winter. Our Women and Girls section continues to grow exponentially, due largely to the efforts of Ashlee Powell and Dave Magnall. We will continue to use Pitchero for all availability and fixtures in 2024 across junior and senior cricket; thanks to Adam Farrow for managing the administration of this. We will be presenting the Young Player of the Year and Club Person awards at the AGM.

Sadly, Karon Swinburn is stepping down as Club Secretary after many years’ service. It is an important and sometimes undervalued position, but I am personally very grateful to Karon for the support, while I have been Chairman; you will be sorely missed. We will need some to step up to this role and as always, we are looking to add members to the Committee, who can add to our skill set. If you would like to be involved, please let me know or submit a nomination form. I, together with other section heads, will be happy to provide more details of our future plans, and will be happy to field questions from members on the night.

I would like to sincerely thank the Committee members who have served in 2023, all of whom do much more for our Club than just attend Committee meetings. They are Dave Swinburn, Paul Dipple (who took over from Darren Kok), Dave Stokes (who is stepping down), Ian Biddle, Karon Swinburn, Jason Lowe, Sandra Stokes, Ben Lee, Russell Jones, Tim Foster, Ashleigh Powell, Dave Magnall and our Safeguarding Officer, Jenny Darby. In addition, a considerable number of other people, including many juniors, have helped in work on the grounds and pavilion, coaching and managing junior teams and with All Stars and Dynamos. They are: Darren Turner, Trevor (Ben Lee’s father-in-law), Richard James, Alan Powell, Paul Rowe, Lucia Cuttle, Alex Gretton, Pete Taylor, Kelly Austin, Leigh Ginn, Tyler Austin, Gemma Biddle, Katie Kavanagh, Dave Moulson, Adam Freeman, William Sallis, Adam Farrow, Sam Jones, Nick Campbell-Kelly, George Stokes, Phillipe Steele, Rupert Cross, Freddie Stokes, Pritam Mulari, Kobe Turner, Sam Jones, Charlie Taylor, Ed Taylor, Louis Newton, Alan Hobby, Amanda Hobby, Amy Waters.

2023 is now behind us and we are looking forward to a much more successful 2024.

Tracy Wassall - Chairman A&RPCC

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