Last night a quorum of our elected management committee met to discuss all club matters as we do throughout the year, but we had a special and in-depth focus on Saturday cricket last night. I/we want to share our conclusions with you all.
As all adult playing members will know, for some years we have had problems with selection, especially in terms of members being available to play each week. As a committee and with huge efforts from various club members we have tried to get more people playing with various initiatives including:
- Reforming our Junior section
- Advertising for players in various forums
- Special offers for new members joining
- Getting press in local papers and various magazines
- Promoting our website and regularly communicating with members via these mails
- Being founding members of the Enfield Cricket Development Partnership
- Changing match fees to encourage players
But we find ourselves despite having plenty of players who are members, with fewer and fewer people being available to play. This is not unique to us, it is a national cricket issue and less participation is not exclusive to only our sport.
However we cannot put our heads in the sand and this season matters have seemed to come to a head. Despite Herculean efforts from all our captains and their vices, chasers in these emails to air the issue and chasers on other forums, we simply do not have enough players to get two teams out on a Saturday. We have had to pull out of two 2nd XI games in recent weeks and with only 14 available to play on Saturday as I type this mail, a third cry-off seems inevitable. The problem is not going to get any easier with holidays coming up and some known work travel for some.
Ordinarily, the Management committee tries to leave running cricket to the captains and their vices but things have become so serious it has been discussed more and more over recent months.
So after last night, we propose that we take the following steps that we believe are in the best interest of our great club and all its members:
- In order to be proactive with the league and be seen to be taking a responsible stance / be on the front foot, we act now and write to the league and withdraw our 2nd XI from the league with immediate effect but.....
- At the same time ensure that we leave the door open with them to enter a second team / development XI (probably in a Regional East League) in the 2019 season. With what we know about the league we believe they will be more amenable to us for next year if we take sensible pro-active steps now
- We fulfil all 1st XI and Sunday games for the remainder of the 2018 season but....
- When we make contact with the league we state that is our intention to ask that the 1s are moved down to a mutually agreeable level for the 2019 season. This level is to be assessed at the end of the season with the calling of an EGM in September where all members can have their say in person. A date for the EGM will follow soon
- The development / regional leagues were set up to nurture juniors into adult cricket and have some benefits over the current arrangements in the 2s e.g. shorter 40 over games, more geographically concise, fewer games in the season, mix of ages etc
- These steps are proposed to act in the whole club's best interest. They are a collective decision made to assure all members and protect the club in the medium term both in terms of our reputation with the league and in other clubs' eyes
- We as a committee have calculated that not having a 2nd XI / team will not have a critically negative impact on the club's finances in the short term
At the EGM we ask all members to attend with all ideas and proposals to help decide on the path our members wish the club to take in 2019 and beyond. No topic is off limits and all ideas are encouraged.
We want to act quickly for all the reasons stated above and I ask that all comments are emailed in reply to this mail before 22.00 on Sunday 15th July. If necessary the management team will meet again on Monday to discuss compelling alternative proposals.
In conclusion, we do at the same time have so much to be positive about:
- We have invested considerably in our facilities and machinery over recent years
- We have a thriving junior section with older junior members making the step up into adult cricket - they are our future
- We are financially sound with income coming in from our newly refurbished pavilion
- We have lots of players who are paid up and registered with NECC, it's just that they have various reasons for not being able to play regularly now e.g. young families, change of job situation etc etc
I restate that the current situation of trying to make up two teams with 14ish players is unsustainable and not fair on anyone. Thus these steps are proposed with the whole club in mind and we feel it will reposition the club in an optimal place for cricket to be played at Strayfield Road for many years to come.
I say it in every mail because it is true; NECC is as much your club as it is mine and all of us on Management. If you have any ideas, suggestions, observations or thoughts about anything re. our club then please let me know.
Many thanks for reading my mails and with very best wishes
Chairman, North Enfield Cricket Club