Chairman's report

Well that was an interesting season. 

With winter nets going well and events being planned to celebrate the clubs 25th Season, the global pandemic stopped everything in its tracks and for a long while it seemed that the restrictions put in place to keep us safe would prevent us from playing any cricket in 2020 at all. 

However with more than half of the season lost, the ECB announced that they had reached agreement with the government that would allow us to play again, which I am sure, was a huge relief to you all.   

As I am sure you will appreciate, this announcement wasn’t a go ahead and get going while pretending nothing had happened and a huge amount of work had to go on behind the scenes to get the games on and I would like to give special thanks to the captains who had to be particularly vigilant that each game was played in adherence with the sanitation requirements placed on us.  To this end the clubs facilities manager Nick Merrick also deserves special recognition for working through our risk assessment and making the club facilities Covid compliant.  

Because of the non-competitive structure of the local pod fixtures that the boards organised for us I’m not going to go into huge details to report on how each team faired other than to single out Jon Sheerans 3rd team who finished top of the B&D Pod N with 3 wins from their 4 completed games.  

As mentioned above, it was the 25th anniversary of the Old Bristolians merger with Westbury On Trym cricket Club this year and one of the events that did take place was a fixture against the MCC which was able to take place in August and although the club didn’t put up much of a fight the MCC thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality we put on for them and the fixture will now be repeated every other year.  My thanks to all involved however particular mentions to Will Penny for organising our flag and to Nick and Lisa Merrick for providing catering for the game within the guidelines.

Due to the restrictions on gatherings we will also not be having a club dinner this year and so the committee have decided that for the senior section there will be no individual awards presentation.  While this is disappointing from a social and recognition perspective I think the important thing to take from this season was that actually playing games at all was a significant benefit that we were able to enjoy and we are seeing that as the pandemic goes on other sports have not been as fortunate.  It is however important to recognise special performances so in the written version of this report which will be sent around shortly and uploaded to the club website there will be a list of all the notable batting and bowling achievements in games played this year. 

Our youth section is planning to have a presentation event in the spring and further details will follow.

There are always a great number of people to thank for the work they put in during a normal season but this year in particular I am extremely grateful to everyone who overcame the challenges presented in this unprecedented season.  Last year I wrote that 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.  While this is still the case I want to also add you, all of the members, to this as I want to again express my gratitude to all of you who sent subscriptions and donations, took part in the quiz and purchased tickets for the hamper raffle.  Thanks to your generosity and support the club is currently on good financial standing and the committee have been tasked to come up with ideas for an event to thank you and acknowledge your support when we can safely gather again.

There are however some special mentions to make and I’d like to start with your committee consisting of Stu MacArthur, Dan Langan, Jon Sheeran, Craig Strachan, Maria Fowler, Mike Dodson, Alex Harris, Will Penny, Steve Jacobs, Nick Merrick, Peter Matthews and your president; Phil Thorn who have all provided consistent and valued support throughout the year.  Stu MacArthur is stepping back from captaining the 1st XI after 5 years committed dedication to the role and I know he is looking forward to re-joining the ranks to help keep the team in WEPL next year.   I am delighted that all other committee members are remaining in place for next season and I look forward to welcoming Russ Baker to the new committee as Stu’s replacement.   

Thanks also to Will for administering our Bonus Ball competition, to Stu and Jack Harvey for organising and hosting the quiz.  To Stu again putting together the hamper for the raffle prize and to Jon Sheeran for issuing the tickets. To all of those who helped get the ground ready for cricket and the post season works party who put our gear away.  To Gareth Yandall, our groundsman, for keeping the grass cut when we weren’t playing and then keeping our pitches playable into September when rugby weren’t able to use them and to the rugby section for allowing us to continue playing into September.   I have no doubt forgotten about assistance given by others and there will be contributions made that I was not made aware – I truly can’t thank all of you enough.

I mentioned earlier that the club wouldn’t be making individual award presentations this year however one award that I will be handing out is for the Clubman of the year.  This year, no one has been more instrumental to getting cricket played at the Old Bristolians Westbury Cricket Club than Craig Strachan.  Any of you that booked the clubs outdoor nets or provided availability for games were using tools that Craig designed, Craig put together the match day rules to ensure we complied with the ECB and Government guidelines, Craig put together our bid to Sport England for the grant we were awarded that also helped keep the club running and Craig also spotted that we could continue to play into September given that Rugby would not be allowed to start their season given the restrictions in place.  All this whilst also doing an exceptional job captaining the 4th team which is also an essential gateway for youth players to transition to adult cricket.  Congratulations Craig, I am sure you will all join me in appreciation of the work that he has put in that we all have benefitted from this 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.  We have been trying to fill the social secretary role for 2 years now for example.  If you feel that you would like to take on this role or have any other ideas which you think could benefit the club then please speak to me or any other member of the committee.

I am hoping that things will return to normal for the 2021 season however in preparation for this we have already been told that we will not be able to use Bristol Grammar School for pre-season indoor nets.  We are in the process of scouting other facilities to see what we can arrange so please keep an eye on your WhatsApp groups for further information. 

I look forward to seeing you, government restrictions permitting, for the start of the 2021 season however in the meantime please be sure to check out the fantastic piece of work by Tom Beach who has put together a visualisation of players batting and bowling statistics throughout the 25 years since the OBCC and Westbury on Trym CC merger which can be found here –