In my first report as Chairman I am pleased to be able to reflect on a successful 2019 season right across the club with 2 of the men’s teams winning promotion, one of those as champions and the ladies finishing 2nd in their league (arguably deserving better).
Before I go into details I would like to give a special thanks to the captains and selection committee this year who worked tirelessly to ensure that on the men’s side we were able to put teams out every weekend of the league season. This required them to have conversations and chase availability from people literally every day particularly in the early part of the season when we didn’t have a 2nd team captain in place. I know it was particularly disappointing for Craig last year after the 4th team had to concede 3 games so to turn this around so emphatically is deserving of recognition. I am delighted that all of the mens captains are remaining in place for next season. On a similar note thanks also to Rachel who has been trying to step back from organising the ladies team for a couple of years now but in a league where conceding games unfortunately happens all too often it is to her credit that we only had to conceded once. I am also delighted to hear that Maria and Cath have stepped up to take the reins from next season and I look forward to welcoming them onto the new committee.
The first team led the B&D senior division from the first weekend of the season and despite Bristol YMCA keeping Stuarts team looking over their shoulder throughout, promotion back into the WEPL pyramid was secured with a game to spare and the league title followed on the last game week despite suffering only the 2nd loss of the season. Early season momentum was built on strong performances with the bat from Alex Harris and Chris Phillips and with the ball from Stuart and Gareth. fresh impetus was provided when the youth became available with particularly notable performances from Ollie Meadows with his maiden 1st team ton with 109 vs Shirehampton and Fin Yates who carried his bat to score 81no to complete a tough chase vs Coalpit Heath. A special mention goes to Gareth Griffiths who along with 2 6 wicket hauls took wickets consistently throughout the season to finish as the B&D’s leading wicket taker with 38 scalps – the first time a male player from our club has won an award from the league.
So dominant were our 1st team this year that 4 members of the squad were selected to represent the B&D in the inaugural representative match against the Gloucester League. These being, Rupert Swetman, Chris Phillips, Stu MacArthur and Gareth Griffiths. With Gareth and Stu unfortunately unable to take up their place, Chris put in a man of the match performance as the B&D won the first of what is hoped to be an annual fixture.
A lower mid table finish for our 2nd team was pleasing given that the team started the season without a regular captain. With Dan taking up the post the team was able to settle and with runs and wickets shared around I look forward to seeing what Dan can achieve with a full season in charge of the team in 2020. My thanks also go to Alex Lee, Simon Pratt and Steve Jacobs who led the side before Dan stepped in.
The 3rd team also had a change in captain mid-season as Dimi starting the season in charge before leaving to take up an opportunity in America and Jon Sheeran taking the team to a mid-table finish. Highlights were the large hundreds scored by Randal Leonard with 158no and James Diamond 159no and a 5 wicket haul for Bibek Khanal.
Craig Strachan’s 4th team benefitted from excellent availability from a blend of youth and experience with consistent runs from Nathan Williams as well as 2 hundreds scored by Mark Beach and another by Dimi Naeem in addition to a career best (according to play cricket) 7 wickets for 7 runs from Phil Thorn in securing promotion from division 14. Deserved success for Craig Strachan who continues to lead the side with a focus on bringing young players into senior cricket while ensuring that they are always involved and enjoying their cricket.
Our Ladies team had an excellent season losing only once and winning 5 of their 7 games, finishing runners up to Bath ladies who undoubtedly benefitted from getting maximum points from 4 games that their opposition conceded against them! Special mentions have to go to Maria Fowler and Vicki Crocker who won the league’s batting and bowling awards respectively – Maria finished with a seasons batting average of 91.5! and Vicki had a seasons strike rate of a wicket every 6.09 balls and best figures of 4-0-5-7!.
Off the field, the club ran a superb All-Stars programme with not only 60+ youngsters being introduced to the game but also raising awareness of the club and hopefully word of mouth will see this grow next year. My thanks go to Gareth Griffiths for picking this up and running with it and developing ideas that have also made this a money making venture for the club. Thanks also go to the volunteers; Clarissa Griffiths, Jon Sheeran, Rupert Swetman, Alex Harris, Auden Barnes, Will Penny, James King , Jake Wylie and Reegan Davis who all turned out each week to ensure the kids had a wild and enjoyable time. The club annual golf day also took place in early August and was not only a hugely enjoyable day but also raised important funds for the club. My thanks to Will for coordinating that and to all of those who took part and made the day a success with a team lead by Alex Harris taking victory in the 4-ball competition.
There are a great number of people to thank for the work they put in throughout the season – some of whom have already been mentioned, some of whom I will have forgotten and some who’s contribution I was not made aware and I truly can’t thank all of you enough. The club relies on its volunteers from those who take up committee roles to those of you who take the flags in after each game and all are important. That said there are some special mentions to make and I’d like to start with your committee consisting of Stu MacArthur, Dan Langan, Jon Sheeran, Dimi Naeem, Craig Strachan, Rachel Evans, Alex Harris, Will Penny, Steve Jacobs, Nick Merrick Joe Colebrook, Peter Matthews, Phil Thorn and Randal Leonard who have all provided consistent support throughout the year and while not always easy to get you all in a room the sheer volume of whatsapp and email traffic in the last 12 months has been meteoric!.
Also special mentions to Nick and Lisa Merrick who have taken care of our catering needs not only on match days but also after training and at social events. To all of those who turned out for the pre and post season works parties with the Harris family and Ollie Meadows getting to have the first go with the new scarifier that the club bought during the year to redress our pitches before putting them to bed over the winter. On that note, Gareth, our groundsman, and also to Steve Jacobs, Will Penny and Alex Harris and all others they roped in also deserve thanks for the countless midweek hours they spent rolling our pitches to ensure that we all benefit from consistent and true strips on match day.
Thanks also to Phil Thorn and Rupert and Lucy Swetman for opening their homes up to not only our overseas Jake Wylie, but also his great mate Reegan Davis throughout the season and finally to Randal Leonard who’s donation allowed the club to purchase a car for Jake to get around in and although it never got above 3rd gear, it was better than the pushbike we gave our overseas player last year.
You will see from reading this report that several names are repeated several times as they put in so much work behind the scenes to ensure we can all enjoy our cricket each year. Their passion and support allows our club to thrive but that doesn’t mean that we couldn’t use a few extra pairs of hands to help either in official or co-opted capacity. Dan Langan had volunteered to be our secretary this season but has taken on the 2nd team captaincy instead so this important position therefore needs to be filled in addition to a needing a new social secretary as Joe Colebrook leaves us to take up a new job in London. If you feel that you would like to take on one of these executive roles please speak to me or any other member of the committee.
I look forward to seeing you for the clubs 25th year next season which we will kick off with a club dinner at Glouc CCC in February/March 2020. Details will follow.