WUSGCC - Chairman's Report, 2014.
There were more than half a dozen tributes from leaving players sent either to me or to the whole club. In all cases they talked of the rich experience of playing for WUSGCC and the pleasure they got from the company of our variety of players - defined by age, cultural background and pretty well any other variable you might like to name, except gender - whom they met while playing. It's good to remember that when oppositions seem obnoxious or comrades fractious, weather bad or teams difficult to raise. We still offer extremely interesting experiences of cricket to our constituency.
The 2014 season was a mediocre one: in the old OFSTED terms it was on the borders of "satisfactory" and "good" rather than anything approaching "outstanding". The best performances were probably in the Saturday league, but they were haunted by bad luck, especially with the weather. In this respect July 19th v Byfield was the extreme case: Byfield were on the rack when a violent storm waterlogged the square causing the match to be abandoned. Unfortunately, it was a highly localised storm and most of our other rivals gained ground at our expense. In fact, though the summer was generally perceived to be a pretty good one the record shows we lost 14 matches rained off - nothing like the 42 in 2012, but not really good.
The overall record of 28 wins and 19 defeats (and a tie) was fairly good, but no more. It would all have felt much better if we had won the Wardington Cup Final on August 3rd. There were consolations for this: it was a great recovery from 14-6 to reach 118 and make a game of it. AND this time we managed to fulfil our normal Sunday fixture as well, losing to an Offchurch side for whom Guy Mander rolled back the years to score 96. Actually, raising teams seemed to get easier as the season went on. One particular blessing was the revival of games against an Intra-Mural League Select XI. This was a double blessing as we not only achieved revenge for a previous defeat in our local challenge match, but we gained very useful contacts and players as well.
It is worth remembering that we are the sole staff and graduate sports club that has maintained a competitive existence throughout the University's history. This hasn't happened by accident - it has happened because we have worked hard and been very flexible. Our turnover of players is now higher than ever and recruitment more important than ever. We face challenges from an administrative environment that constantly changes. As I write we are adjusting to Sunday nets, a re-classification as a Warwick "Activity" Club and the appointment of a new Director of Sport. All of these developments can be treated, for the moment, with cautious optimism.
Lincoln Allison, Chairman, WUSGCC
Notes for a cricket agenda . . .
1. KEEP THE FAITH
I have several times joked this season to the effect that of all the things I do (most of which I'm paid for) my role as chairman and sometime skipper of WUSGCC is the most like work. Delivering a team to the right field (plus tea sometimes and lots of drinks on a hot day) is more stressful than delivering an interview or an article by a factor of N where N is a very large number. But if one sometimes wonders if one is bovvered then the sort of emails sent by Ivan Cordero and Ahmed Puri restore the faith that it is all worthwhile. Clearly, to the newcomer we look an interesting bunch of guys - cosmopolitan, multi-generational and quite good at cricket. Perhaps they wouldn't have said that if they'd played against Marston Green or MK Afro-Caribbean, but I wasn't there either. In any case, there was something, for everybody - a decent set of results played out in good weather (except on Saturdays when the weather was freakishly bad) and some sort of personal performance to take pleasure in for most of us.
2. LEAVING THE DEAD IN PEACE
I take it:
- we are highly unlikely ever to tour again.
- a revived Saturday 2nd XI is almost equally unlikely (I think you need in excess of 40 regular players for this if you have Sunday games and we're way off - quite apart from the demands on grounds staff).
- we now seem to have lost our midweek day game fixture list, essentially because of unsuitable membership.
Is there any point in talking about Bank Holidays? There are up to 6 in the season; most people are free on them and a lot of clubs organise events on them.
3. "FRIENDLY" AGENDAS
Given 2 (above) friendly fixtures are more important than ever. The 2014 picture was not too bad - raising teams was sometimes difficult, but seemed to get much easier. It is important to integrate all kinds of player within the club and with this in mind I would hope that league selection could be more eclectic (difficult, I know) and that some Saturday players could play on Sundays and Thursdays (Ali was a star here). I think players have generally been very good about this, but we must resist a tendency to split into 2 or more squads.
Intra-mural: I propose that we play the select League XI 3 times - at the beginning of the season, in July and in August - and for a trophy. These games are easy to set up, friendly but competitive and offer us very important contacts with potential players. We might explore contacts with the undergraduates for similar reasons. In the past this has only worked when there is a good, essentially social 3rd XI - a crack BUCS squad is unlikely to be much interested.
Sunday captain: I propose that we abandon the system of monthly volunteers which seems to have run its course in favour of a rolling committee of Lamb, Allison & Davidson (acronym LAD) since I think those are the chaps prepared to put the work in. This would include April & September for integrative purposes.
4. RECRUITMENT AND MEMBERSHIP
The difficult issue! Our categories of membership are now so labyrinthine that nobody really understands them. We have to be very flexible bearing in mind that we must remain competitive and we must offer cricket to anyone who joins. To achieve our aims we must maximise our communication with potential members in the University: I am fairly optimistic that Danny, Andy etc have learned some vital tricks in this field.
Dealing with WS: I propose:
IF there is new permanent head of WS we (me or the whole of LAD) go to him with an agenda, including, for instance, how opponents are getting a bad impression of the University through closure of facilities, but also some carefully handled membership issues.
IF there isn't we should carry on as before with flexibility as the key word.
I propose it be done as far as possible by Steve, myself and similarly experienced players - better from every point of view. but we probably need to organise it further in advance than was done this season.
6. DISCIPLINARY MATTERS
There is the question of what happened v. Afro-Caribbean as well as the issues arising from the Marston Green game, discussion of which has only ever been suspended. I think the latter are par of a broader problem which has caused me some grief: I have had players complaining about others (including me behind my back) without being able to say anything very specific about how they have been wronged. Also I've been accused of ruining peoples lives & even racism. The general problem seems to be an inappropriately high level of emotion! (&!)
Lincoln Allison, Chairman, WUSGCC