A View from the Chair

March is one of my favourite months of the year. The long dark nights are behind us and more importantly the cricket season is just around the corner. The 2017 season was always going to be hard to match but the 2018 season was still a very enjoyable one. Lots of good performances, (some bad ones too), great weather, a full social calendar, lots for the club to be proud of. Unfortunately, there was one negative that came up on a regular basis. Player availability. Speaking to other clubs and reading bits on social media it’s clear that Reed is not alone in having this problem. With people’s lives increasingly busy, and cricket taking a high proportion of the day, getting players to commit is becoming increasingly difficult. Membership levels seem to have remained constant, but the number of games people are playing in a season has dropped. Poor availability affected our Third team most. Some games were forfeited and some were played with 10 players or less. So what does the future hold for Reed and the 3rd team in particular? We have a lot of good Colts coming through but most of them won’t be old enough for Open-Age (or “Adult”) cricket for a few years yet. Will there still be a 3rd team when they are old enough? I really hope so. (We all remember that we had a Fourth Team until 2 years ago and look what happened to them.) So here’s the challenge to the playing members. Please try and do everything you can to increase your availability. However many games you played last year please see if you can up it by 2 or 3 games at least. Make [...]

By |2019-04-15T10:19:23+01:00April 15th, 2019|Categories: 2019, A View From The Chair, News|Tags: , |0 Comments

Going, Going, Going Gone!!!”

“Once upon a time …..” there was a FUN game called Cricket. It was exported around the world to whichever continents the dastardly British chose to land on and exploit! It was simple and easy to play with basic equipment – a cudgel (or bat) a rolling object (or ball) and some sticks as a target to try and defend. It was a simple game, great fun, and hugely enjoyed by all who chose to play it. I started playing Cricket, taught by my Dad, at around the age of 5, on a coconut matting wicket, based on a concrete slab, surrounded by a dusty grassless outfield within a British RAF base on the island of Cyprus. By 11 I was back in England, now at a boarding school and I started playing competitive Cricket matches for the school age group teams. Free time in summer evenings and weekends could be spent utilising the college’s nets practice areas, and every school break-time there was an old bat and tennis balls, and playground cricket to be enjoyed by anyone (usually 30 or 40!) who joined the throng! One hand one bounce is out, wicket-taker takes over as batsman, etc etc – great fun!! I was never a top grade batsman, and barely a bowler, but I could catch well and I loved my Cricket. By 16 I was playing for the School 2nd Xl on Saturdays and occasionally on Sundays for local area men’s Cricket teams that were “short”. Our resident school Cricket Master frequently got calls from some local adult sides – “have you got any reasonable lads who will help us make up our Sunday Xl”? I often helped out and that was great [...]

By |2016-12-27T13:10:29+00:00November 23rd, 2016|Categories: 2016, A View From The Chair, News|Tags: , |1 Comment

“Call of Duty! Is it waning? Is it fair to expect?”

John Heslam writes:- As we move into August another Cricket season is rapidly moving towards its close, and if we want to be frank it hasn’t been a great season at Reed! Most of our League teams currently seem to be achieving “mid-table mediocrity”, bar our hard pressed, and hard done by, 3rd XI for which that would, at this stage, be an achievement! Our midweek Cricket has been abandoned and dispensed with and now does not exist – withdrawal from a newly established midweek League without playing a single match (!), and letting down a touring side by failing to honour a booked and agreed fixture. Pretty shameful stuff! Sunday 1st XI Cricket focuses on the National Village Cup where we threw away an excellent chance of making another Lord's Final with a below par display at the last 16 stage. Add this to barely tolerated appearances (or non-appearances!) in the Herts 20/20 competition. Sunday 2nd XI Cricket is one of the few thriving and well-supported areas of our Club's current operations. This current weekend has been a nightmare for selection and availability – unfortunately not for the first time this season – and when one sees 3rd XI players volunteering to act as “fodder” to make up a Herts Championship 1st XI, and pro-rata selection quandaries littering all the other teams, then it is indeed a miracle (well done to Lloyd Bowman – AGAIN!) that we managed to actually put out a 4th XI on Saturday. Saturday's weak teams, subsequent below performances, and poor results beyond the 1st XI, might have put paid to our 2nd XI’s chances of another promotion, and might have sealed the further relegation of our 3rd XI? Time [...]

By |2016-12-27T13:11:08+00:00August 3rd, 2016|Categories: 2016, A View From The Chair|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Sunday Cricket – Dying in front of our eyes!! Are League Cricket formats and “attitudes” to blame?”

The governing bodies of most sports are wringing their hands and worrying about participation levels falling. Cricket is no exception, and whilst the major Cricket Leagues and the ECB fret mainly about the state of Saturday League Cricket, the state of Sunday Cricket is far, far, worse!! In our local area of North Herts and South Cambridgeshire we all know that on most Sundays you will struggle to find a Cricket Match being played on the majority of the grounds where Saturday League Cricket is still regularly played. At Reed we are one of the exceptions in that a match is played by at least one Reed Xl every Sunday. In addition to the regular players, there is also a hard core of spectators and families that come up to the ground each Sunday for a bite of tea, a picnic, or an early evening aperitif from the Club Bar! An appearance from the sun always helps to swell the crowd – but so far the sun has been absent for most of summer 2016!! Even the National Village Cricket Cup, with the tantalising prospect of playing in the Final at Lords Cricket Ground, does not seem capable of motivating many village clubs to play on even a few Sundays of the early/mid summer! Some of the NVC Cup entry figures for counties that consider themselves “strong” Cricket playing Counties ought to be an embarrassment to their County Cricket Associations! Look at these local “Two Counties NVC Group”  Club participation numbers! Cambridgeshire and Norfolk (5 Teams!):           Cambs 3 !!!                Norfolk 2 !!! Essex and Suffolk (14 Teams!):                            Essex 12                   Suffolk 2 !!! Herts & Beds. (11 Teams!):                                    Herts   9                   Bedfordshire 2 !!! [...]

By |2016-07-01T14:00:23+01:00July 1st, 2016|Categories: 2016, A View From The Chair|Tags: , |4 Comments

Robbo Rant Reaps Results! – but is the future “Orange” or Bleak!

The operational and management format of our Club is volunteer led. We have a long and proud history and heritage of “self help” club development that has taken us an enormous distance since 1975, away from no pavilion and changing and eating in the Village Hall. Superb Club facilities, a great wicket and well drained outfield, use of a second ground, 4 x Saturday Xl’s, a 1st Xl well established on the very edge of the Hertfordshire Premier League (without a £30K p.a. Budget!), a National Village Cup “in the locker”, and the DVD footage of our Lords Final win based on a team comprising 3 x pairs of brothers and 10 x ex Colts brought up through the club to reminisce over for all eternity!! This is my 36th Year of membership of Reed Cricket Club since my wife Annette and I moved to Royston in 1980. This is my 35th year of sitting on what has always been a responsible, hard working and vibrant General Committee of Reed Cricket Club. I have been Club Chairman, in 2 spells, for a total of over 30 years. In those 36 years we have overseen significant ground, pavilion and facilities improvements, and have always been prudently managed and had money in the bank. In addition to all that, Subscriptions and Match Fees at Reed are ridiculously amongst the very lowest in the Saracens Herts League – but is everything in the garden rosy? Both the Cricket grounds that we maintain and manage play well and always “look a picture”. We are hugely fortunate that somewhere along the line Richard Robertson, who joined the Club within a couple of years of myself, developed an interest in cricket [...]

By |2016-12-27T13:11:36+00:00May 30th, 2016|Categories: 2016, A View From The Chair|Tags: , , |0 Comments

As my Granny would have said……

My Grandmother was a product of the early 20th century, and was renowned in our family for her “wise old sayings”. My own children will confirm these were often repeated in our home as they grew up, and many have thus passed down another generation. “A stitch in time saves nine” – but who stitches anything these “Primark” days! “Better Safe than Sorry!” – the forerunner of the Health and Safety Executive! “A Bird in the Hand is worth two in the bush”, “Charity begins at Home!”, “Blood is thicker than water”, There’s no point crying over spilt milk”, “Like father like son!”, “You may as well be hung for a sheep as a Lamb!”. “Spare the rod and spoil the Child” – Shock Horror! - ring for the Welfare Officer and Social Services!! “You’re only as young as the woman you feel” – or have I got that one wrong? I have been specifically reminded of several of the old sayings in these first few weeks of the Cricket season when our Club has limped, rather than burst, into life in terms of player availability. Despite the herculean and laudable efforts of last years new skipper Lloyd Bowman, some of us have at times debated whether we really have the depth of playing numbers to operate a Saturday League 4th Xl. Lloyd went well above and beyond the call of duty to get together the teams to meet last years fixtures and not only that – he managed to win the 4th Xl League with them!! Ultimately the prevailing wisdom was that we do have the numbers, and it was also stressed by some what an important outlet and breeding ground the 4th Xl [...]

By |2016-05-19T17:57:08+01:00May 19th, 2016|Categories: 2016, A View From The Chair|Tags: , |0 Comments

Working the cycles of Consumer Contempt

It’s our usual dank, dark, damp, close season, and this is not really an article with an awful lot to do with Cricket, but it is some food for thought, and an explanation as to how I raised almost £200.00 for our Club in the last 2 years – whilst saving money for myself – and without costing myself a penny! As you all ought to know by now – making online purchases via links on the Reed CC website can earn our Club substantive accumulations of sales commissions. This process has been going for years and is known as affiliate marketing. Our Reed CC website constructor Baz Curtis was a pathfinder in recognising the availability of this field of prospective Club fundraising, and as long as 10 years ago brought many specific corporate links to the Club website for members to use to benefit our club. Unfortunately, bar a few stalwarts, support of this initiative never really “took off”.  However, in 2015, online purchasing is now much more widely undertaken, and there is a now a much simplified user format of commission raising being offered. This is called “Easyfundraising”. The Easyfundraising mechanism is so easy to use that you can actually upload either an App to your mobile phone or tablet computer, or a programme to your PC or laptop that shows if websites that you are visiting to make a purchase are already “Easyfundraising member sites”. If that is the case then you just need to click on the Easyfundraising logo/signage to get a “no cost to you” donation made to Reed Cricket Club. So the mechanism is very easy – IF you can be persuaded to register with Easyfundraising and nominate Reed [...]

By |2016-12-27T13:13:26+00:00November 18th, 2015|Categories: A View From The Chair, News|Tags: , |0 Comments

Come on SHPCL – Time for decisions and clarity

Another League Cricket season is behind us and for players and spectators alike it has been a rather strange one in the Saturday league we play in. During the 2014/15 close season our SHPCL Leagues were reduced from 20 teams to 10 with some future prospective promotions and relegations of up to 2 x Divisions at a time, and with League matches played under two different sets of Match Formats and Match Rules! As a player you now need a fixture card marker and a change of mind-set one third, and two thirds of the way through the season, to take account of the switches from “Overs matches with Draws” to “Limited Overs matches – Win or Lose” As a spectator you turn up to watch a match and cannot be actually sure what is going on, and what the tactics really are/ought to be, until you have met and interrogated a player or official! A marvellous testament to confused thinking and indecision! TWO SHPCL club surveys last year asked Clubs and Members what they wanted – presumably the first answer (pretty clear decision as I recall!) was not what the SHPCL hoped for, or wanted. So then they launch a second survey! Same answer as the first as I believe, and then ultimately the powers that be slide through a hotchpotch proposal at the winter AGM when most players are switched off, not in Cricket mode. Players tend to leave the “boring stuff” of AGM’s and other Meetings etc. to their club stalwarts/administrators – who are in the main, especially in the higher leagues, more likely NOT to vote against a League Management proposal. So now, in summer 2015 – we have just had [...]

By |2016-12-27T13:13:58+00:00September 15th, 2015|Categories: 2015, A View From The Chair|Tags: |0 Comments

“Cricketing Ethic flounders in confusion – and why our “Jonno” needs to play International Cricket!”

Ageing Colonels and other “old boys” who enjoy watching our great sport at various levels have been choking on their sherries for many years now as the structure, rules and past ethics of the game are dismantled at the very top, and much of the resulting debris provides unnecessary fallout and confusion much further down the great games performance levels. “The Umpire is always right!” has of course been a misnomer for as long as the game has existed, but by and large it was accepted as a mantra, however reluctantly, and however many tongues were being bitten!! Of course Umpires have not always been right, some have been downright cheats, but in recent years with the advent of DRS at the highest, most visible levels of our game, the phrase has been totally devalued. Cricket Officialdom (at levels below international Cricket) still insist that Umpiring decisions are afforded unflinching acceptance and respect, even when their confusing actions provoke unnecessary controversy. (Rein yourself in Mr Chairman!). However at International Level it is all so different. The Umpire is always right, until DRS proves him “Wrong” (unless you are playing India!). The Umpire could be “Wrong” but is still declared “Right” if the DRS fractional analysis eventually declares the incident to be “Umpires Call”. Additionally, the Umpire could be “Right” on the decision, but then the whole issue is declared void because the bowler has overstepped the popping crease and a “No Ball” is declared as an afterthought! This latter issue occurs very frequently at the moment because the Umpires (who are always right) no longer choose to pay deference to, or implement, the front foot No Ball rule of the game they are adjudicating! They will [...]

By |2015-08-24T13:36:22+01:00August 24th, 2015|Categories: A View From The Chair|Tags: , |1 Comment

9.9.12 – Is the scale of the Achievement only now beginning to sink in?

Summer Solstice Day 2015 arrives – but where is the summer? Pretty bleak and unpleasant this cricket season so far! Yesterday saw 73% of the Saracens Herts Cricket League Fixtures washed out, but incredibly, from the 27% that survived, ALL FOUR Reed League teams managed to play – AND WIN!! So a second “120 Point Weekend” for the club this season, which yesterday included a 400+ run match for the 2nd’ Xl at Reed, and an almost 550 run match at our 2nd ground in Buntingford for our 4th’ Xl!! Brighter Cricket if not brighter weather!! Mostly things are going well in 2015. Our 1st Xl are in a respectable position in the Herts Championship League, the 2nd Xl bar, a single aberrational batting performance against Ickleford have won all their matches and are well placed for another promotion, the 3rd Xl after early season availability problems are turning a corner, whilst the 4th Xl under the inspired and enthusiastic leadership of yet another ex-Reed Colt, Lloyd Bowman, are undefeated in all matches played to date. In the Herts Reader 20/20 Cup Competition we have beaten 2 x Premier League teams in Harpenden and Sawbridgeworth, and are through to the County Quarter Finals (at Reed Sunday 5th July). In the sadly disintegrating Keatley Cup, after a good win against Foxton, and a series on concessions by 2 x sides that are “big in Cambridgeshire” but unable to raise sides for midweek fixtures over the border, we seem likely to play Foxton in the Final after only 2 x qualifying matches. The only disappoint of the season to date was last weeks defeat in the 2015 Herts and Beds County Final of the National Village Cup [...]

By |2016-12-27T13:14:46+00:00June 21st, 2015|Categories: 2015, A View From The Chair|0 Comments