This year we have had successes both on and off the field, with the second XI winning division seven and achieving promotion for Marcus Martin in his first season as captain. An excellent team spirit soon replaced the despair of last years relegation.

The First XI played exceptionally well to finish third in a very competitive Division One, and we won the Isobel Hospice Cup for the first time. We were unable to repeat our 2012 heroics in the National Village Cup, with the opposition fired up to beat the defending champions. Our status as the best village side in the country also proved to be highly motivating to the opposition in the Keatley Cup, and the desire to take the scalp of Reed CC limited our progress. We have dominated this competition for many years, but our early demise cannot be a bad thing as it might encourage greater participation from local clubs.

Looking at the financial position of the club, we are now in a very healthy position, with income in 2013 exceeding expenditure by almost £10,000. By coincidence, this is the same figure as the record amount of profit generated by the bar, which benefited from the excellent weather and the extra social events taking place at the club. We cannot ask Robbo to repeat his retirement party again next year, or Ruth Dunn her 30th birthday party, but the pavilion on a balmy summer’s evening is an attractive venue, so all club members please note, we are open for business. Matt Bowles also ran a very successful Quiz Night, and villagers supported the Bank Holiday BBQ, a collaborative effort with the Village Hall Committee which saw many families enjoying games supplied by the village school.

Another highlight of the year was the new format President’s Day, very successfully organised by Andrew to ensure that more than £1,100 was raised for charity. Over £700 was spent at the bar, and an excellent game of cricket was enjoyed by all. A great success on all fronts. Paul and Marion’s two curry nights and the tour game were also very profitable for the bar. The money in the bank will be put to good use, with a new electronic scoreboard planned for next season and money allocated to the re-surfacing of the drive and car park.

Our bank balance is helped by the numerous club members who give their time and more importantly their expertise and thus save the club money. This year, that money can be counted in the thousands of pounds. Just as the committee signed off on the new electronic scoreboard, the 25 year old bar shutter packed up. A new shutter would cost £3,000 but Roger Bowcock managed to repair it and we were spared that bill. Paul Watts repaired the sightscreens in some very cold April weather.

Paul has stepped down as Fixture Secretary. He deserves the thanks of all the players for organising our fixtures. It is not an easy job and one he has done exceedingly well for many years.

As always, a big thank you to all our tea ladies who provide refreshments of the very highest order, and not only for the players!! My Mum retired from teas after 19 years. I know how much the captains appreciate the effort the tea ladies put in. It certainly is one less thing for them to worry about.

The Sunday teas are an established tradition for many non-playing members, who enjoy the family atmosphere, the socialising, the cricket, and the drinks afterwards. Real village cricket at its best.

Equally pleasing has been the continued commitment of members to the development and coaching of our junior players. A quick glance at all our team sheets will confirm the importance of youth development to our current and future success. One negative note is the lack of U15s. We only have 8 at the moment for next season. If anyone knows of players in that age group they know where to point them. And where would we be without the enthusiasm of our groundsman, Richard. In constant battle with the elements, the rabbits and the moles, his commitment is unsurpassed. This year he was helped by the return of Ray Kingshott on a visit from Australia. Freman has never been as flat as it was this year with Ray happy to roll it whenever he could.

Our new website was launched a few weeks ago. It is still missing a lot of the old content, but there is a link to the old site. Over time I will be moving more of the old content to the new site. Going forward the new site will give us more flexibility in this digital world. Please take a look at – The old fundraising ads page has gone for the time being, but the Amazon link is still on the front page on the right hand side. Please click on that before going to Amazon. This is a nice money raiser for the club and doesn’t cost you a penny.

Following a membership drive spearheaded by Matt, profits are also up from the 100 Club. This monthly draw costs just £5 a month, produces three winners each month (£80, £40 and £20), costs us virtually nothing to run and all profits are invested in the club. If you are not already a member and wish to join, please contact me.

Baz Curtis