Harefield Cricket Club - Secretary's Report - 2011

  Cricket Secretary   (Michael Woodwards)
Realistically 2011 was never going to be as successful as 2009 & 2010 in terms of Championship and Trophies
  but despite some doubts during the season I think we can be proud of our teams final achievements in
  the consolidation of our position in higher Leagues than we were competing in only two summers ago.
At the start of the 2011 season I felt reasonable targets would be for :-
The First XI to get more points in the HCPL and to challenge for the League Title - Both these were achieved.
Our Thames Valley League teams, all playing in higher Levels should at the very least maintain that status.
  I felt at least two of the teams should be challenging for a further promotion and a really successful 
  campaign would see one of the sides promoted.
Again this was largely achieved ………………………. All teams stayed up !
The 4th XI were one cancelled match short of promotion
The 3rd XI finished comfortably mid-table 
The 2nd XI stayed in Level 3 by winning the final match of the season.
As I eluded to earlier we had our doubts during the season, mainly due to the 2ndXIs poor form with the bat
  but in the final analysis the Club has had a reasonable season.
We should be proud of the progress Harefield has made in recent seasons. We now play in a higher 
  standard of cricket than all local clubs except perhaps Eastcote and we should remember that a lot of them
  are paying players which puts us at a considerable disadvantage.
Our continued progress has seen us attract new players to the Club. Most notably this year
  Simon Macey who joined us from the Birmingham Premier League. 
  Simon you are most welcome and we have enjoyed your cricket.
Our colts system continues to provide us with players for senior cricket 
  This year saw Craig Duncan, Howard Lippyatt, Jordan McLeod, Ryan Finch and the Ogden brothers making
  significant progress & contributions to senior teams. 
One undoubted disappointment in 2011 was the levels of player availability.
  This rarely affected the 1stXI whose players committed themselves for the full season as you would 
  perhaps expect with them playing at the serious level that they are.
  However the 2nds, 3rds and 4th suffered badly with the poor player availability throughout the season.
The 2ndXI in general fielded weaker teams than they did during their championship year in 2010.
  I don`t think we have lost any players ….it I just that they are not available as often and if this continues
  our teams will struggle to push for further promotions.
The situation in 2011 meant it was impossible to select consistant sides for much of the summer.
  Leading to problems with some players being asked to move between 2nd & 4th XI for example.
  Whilst this looks totally illogical from the outside. I`m afraid it is the inevitable outcome of poor player
We need players to be available more often…in a League season of 18 games a committed player should be
  available for at least 14 matches to give us the base for consistant selection. Unfortunately this year
  leaving aside the 1stXI players only 10  players played 14 or more matches. Herein lies the problem.
Selection issues even prompted an anonomous e-mail to be sent to me asking for fair selection. This was
  much discussed but I felt it did not warrant reply if the sender could not be bothered to identify 
As explained you can not simply just look at individual cases when considering the selection of 4 teams 
  week on week........... you have to look at the wider picture.
I am happy that our selection committee do a very difficult job very well. They do it  with much care and 
  and consideration…………………..I thank them for that.
Back to cricket now I will briefly touch on the seasons performance of our teams - leaving the Captains to 
 go into detail on individual and game performances.
First Eleven
We finally finished 4th in the HCPL with 255 points……two more than last year when we finished 3rd
  The penultimate match being abandoned when we were chasing only 85 to win probably prevented us
  finishing 2nd.
We started the season in great form winning our first four matches to be joint top of the table for a few
  weeks and challenging for the title for the first half of the season before falling away to finish 4th.
Overall we again competed well in this League apart from on a few occasions when losing our discipline
 most notably in the match with Burnham in June............   but more of that later.
Major individual performances cames from :-
Our new opening batsman Simon Macey…… Simon had a great season with the bat finishing as second 
  highest run scorer in the league with 576 runs at an average of 48…. Occupying the crease for long periods
  Simon enabled the team to post consistantly higher totals than we achieved in 2010.
Also Doug King who continues to work and train very hard was outstanding last summer. Often forced to 
  bowl more than his fair share of overs he finished as leading seam bowler in the League with 57 wickets at
  an average of 16.96.
Our captain Syke after struggling with fitness and injury early in the season put in some fine bowling 
  performances towards the end of the season when bowling resources were low.
It was great to see Macca in the twilight of his career finally getting the chance to play Premier League
  Cricket, which his performances for Harefield over the past 20 years richly deserved.
Next season I again expect us to be near the top of the League challenging for the title.
Second Eleven
The 2s struggled for most of the season in Level 3 only stayinig up by winning the final match of the
  season helped by a fine hundred by Jack Shiel.
That we were in this position is entirely down to the sides lack of form with the bat throughout the season.
The team far too often produced totals way below what is required to be competative in modern cricket.
All our batsmen scored below what can be reasonably expected of them.
Batsmen really must take personal responsibilty to post challenging totals and not leave it up to your
The consistant posting of low totals meant our season was saved entirely by some great bowling
 performances from our spin attack of Martin Webb and Scott Morris with occasional help from 
 Steve Quinn and Dan Evans
Martin had an exellent season with the ball…...taking 29 wickets at the outstanding average of 10.19.
But at the end of the season we did manage to stay in Level 3 and there is much room for improvement in 
Third  Eleven
The 3rdXI always suffers from poor availability more than most with players having to move between 
  different elevens. Shown by 30 players batting and 24 players bowling during the season
Despite this inconistancy the side spent most of the season in the top half of the table finishing in 5th place
The highlight of the summer was 14 year old Matt Ogden, who in his first season of 3rdXI cricket finished 
  as leading run scorer with 479 at 34.2…….. Fortunately he bats in a style much more pleasing on the eye 
  than his father.
  I have great hopes that Matt will progress to 2nd XI cricket in 2012 and be equally as succesful. 
There was an overdue return to form for David Cokeley in 2011. Cokers scored 379 runs and chipped
  in with 14 wickets.
The team proved more than competative in Level 5 and they really should aim to be challenging for
  promotion in 2012
Fourth  Eleven
After a slow start to our season in Level 8 the team thrived under the leadership of Craig Collett finishing 
  third and only missing out on promotion due to the penultimate match of the season being rained off.
Senior players Craig Collett and Simon Ogden held the side  together throughout the season 
  …. Craig scoring 433 runs and Simon 267 runs & 30 wickets
As is our policy we the 4ths continued to promote young colts as the future of the Club.
 There were many appearances and significant improvement in performances by the likes of 
   Ryan Finch, Josh Brazier, Jordan McLeod and especially Dan Ogden 265 runs including two half centuries. 
  All indicating a bright future for HCC.
Sunday  Eleven
The Sunday team suffered most with the appalling summer weather having half their matches cancelled.
Our side finished fourth just missing out on consecutive promotions, so we stay in Division 3.
The side has continued its aim to blood young players in senior cricket. Indeed we had hoped to 
  introduce a Sunday 2ndXI to give even more of our colts a chance to experience senior cricket.
Unfortunately this was not possible in 2011. We remain hopeful this can be done in 2012 but as ever it 
will only be possible with support an availabilty of the players.
I attended the Chess Valley League AGM and presentation on Tuesday and was delighted to learn that 
  despite playing only four matches one of our players was the leading wicket taker in Division 3.
  Scott Morris took nine wickets and has been awarded a new Dukes cricket bat.
Finally on Cricket
Despite problems with availability We should be proud of the fact that we always managed to field 
  four elevens on a Saturday something that a lot of Clubs struggle to do these days.
It would appear 2012 is to be a season of change with three new captains. I understand that Syke, 
  Barry Webb and Rob Evans are standing down after all too brief spells in charge and I thank them for their
  time and effort on the Clubs behalf.
  I hope our new captains get better support from the players in terms of availability and I wish them well.
Club House Redevelopment
I am happy to report real progress this year with regard to the redevelopment of the Club House and new 
  Changing Rooms.
We have secured planning permission,. we have had the new works designed………the drawings are posted
  on the corridor wall as you enter the Club.
The works are currently out to tender and once back they will be sent to the ECB who are funding part of 
  Project for their approval. If all goes according to plan the work could start in the new year.
I know only these basic details of the project but Craig Collett can give us more details later at this meeting
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Craig, Paul Jennings, Barrie and Finchy for all their hard work in progressing this 
  this very time consuming project.
League Cricket
Nothing to report so far on the HCPL their AGM is not until January.
We did have a number of issues with the Chairman of the League Disciplinary Committee during the 
  season which are well documented. I have written to him on behalf of the Club several occasions but 
  he has chosen not to reply and answer any of my observations or questions….. So nothing to report there.
Chess Valley League AGM was on Tuesday nothing to report from there other than we remain in Div 3 along 
  with  -  Uxbridge, Broxbourne, Langleybury, Radlett, Ruislip, Chipperfield, Highgate, Preston & Amersham.
TVL AGM was yesterday evening  -Chairman Neil Doody has stood down after 30 years & has been replaced by Jeremy Davis of Bagshot.
A number of minor changes have been made for match days which I will convey to our Captains in due course.
The Club was very lucky this year to aquire in the region of £4.5K in sponsorship from :-
  - A three year deal with Cleshar
  - One year deals with ClancyDocwra and JB Construction
  - Several Match Day sponorships.        We thank all our sponsors for their generousity
Thanks are due to Steve Finch & Craig Collett who have done most to secure these deals.
We have reached an optimum income from bar takings and subscriptions and can not expect any significant
  increases in these in the forseeable future. 
So sponsorship is vital in these difficult financial times.
Staging cricket matches is getting more and more expensive :
For a 1stXI match Umpires cost £120 - balls £35 and teas £100 - You can see that match subscriptions don`t
  cover even 25% of this cost.
Other ideas for sponsorship would be most welcome from any of you.
Finally I must speak of what I consider to be the one major problem to our Club in 2011
One which we have never encountred before - DISCIPLINE
Player and team discipline has been a major issue this season.
Of course I am talking of a very small minority of players here….. They know who they are
I have been a player at this Club for over 40 years and player discipline has never been a problem until
  this season….
This season we have had a player banned for 8 matches
Umpires have had occasion to warn players on the pitch about their behavior during matches
I have had to attend disciplinary hearings 
I have had to correspond in detail with the HCPL Diciplinary Chairman
I have witnessed and heard comments on the field in 1st & 2ndXI matches that I am uncomfortable with…
What I have heard is quite frankly childish and pathetic. 
Those that indulge in it really need to grow up.
I`ve really no idea who these players think is being impressed by such behavior
I`m afraid this is just not acceptable - there is no excuse - It has got to stop and it has got to stop now !!!
Sledging or whatever you choose to call it these days has been around for years.
  but it has been subtle and has not been heard from the boundary and certainly not heard by Umpires
All this recent "in your face confrontational stuff" is just ugly and there is no place for it on the cricket field !!
A team without discipline is no more than a rabble
A team without discipline is not a winning team - The 1stXIs dip in form after the events at Burnham 
   is not a coincidence
Indiscipline is not acceptable, you are letting down not only yourself but your team, your capain and the game of cricket
  Most of all you are letting down Harefield Cricket Club. 
Indiscipline has damaged the reputation of our Club and has dragged the Clubs good name through the gutter and we do not deserve it.
This seasons disciplinary problems must stop now.
I am convinced that with with some stronger captaincy in 2012 indiscipline will be not a problem. Remember the laws of cricket are crystal clear it is the responsibility of the Captain to control his players !!
I really want nothing to do with the HCPL Discipline Committee again - they are very difficult people 
  to deal with.
Remember we all have a duty to the game of cricket and above all to this Club.
I would like to thank on behalf of all the players :
Steve & Tracyfor their excellent cricket teas without doubt they are the best on  the circuit
Timber , Mike Christelow & Phil Evans for umpiring the 2nd & 3rdXIs
Paul Dean for his efficient scoring, administration and statistical works. ... No administration fines from the TVL again this year is almost entirely down to Pauls good work.
Vic Devers for his scoring and administration for our 2ndXI.
Steve,Tracy, Bob and the staff for pouring our beer. 
Thanks to all those who are involved in our expanding colts organisation :-
    to Steve Finch our Colts Manager, all the team mangers and to our qualified coaches and
    to the parents for their help and support of youth cricket.
Special thanks again to Mluleki Nkala our popular overseas player for the time he has spent coaching
    senior Club players as well as our colts.
We are also very lucky to have such active and valued support from parents of our colts and young
   players - paticularly Sue & Steve Shiel, Mike & Heather Lench, Richard & Wendy McLeod, Pete Morris
   Tony Day, Lyn Andrews...............Thanks for all you do for Harefield CC
Momentum continues in the right direction here at Harefield, while many Cricket Clubs are stuggling .
Its taken a lot of hard work to get the Club where it is today lets make sure we maintain the high 
   standards that have been set.
Custer 24.11.11