Secretary’s Report – 2012
2012 was a season where our five senior sides performed with credit. After recent promotions all have established themselves competitively in their new leagues. It should be remembered that all our sides are now playing in the highest standard of cricket that the Club has ever played in. We have raised our playing standards considerably in a short space of time.
After promotions achieved, the past two years have been seasons of consolidation at the higher levels. 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, Lee Tyrell and Hannes Vervey, who have been successful in our 2nd & 3rd XIs respectively.
Our colts system continues to provide us with players for senior cricket. This year saw Craig Duncan, Howard Lippyatt, Jordan McLeod, Ryan Finch, Sam Beacham and the Ogden brothers making significant progress and contributions to senior teams. Several more, most notably Tom McLeod and Freddy Lavers have been introduced to senior cricket with notable success.
One undoubted disappointment in 2012 was the continued levels of player availability in our lower teams. This does not affect 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. Also last season, 2ndXI player availability improved significantly which was reflected in their strong League performance. However, the 3rds and 4ths suffered badly with the varied levels of availability throughout the season. I don’t think we have lost any players... it is just that they are not available as often and if this continues our lower teams will struggle to push for further promotions.
The situation in 2012 meant that it was impossible to select consistent sides for much of the summer and sadly our 4thXI had to take the field with only ten players on one occasion. 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 consistent selection. Unfortunately this year, leaving aside the 1st & 2ndXI players, few players played more than 12 or more matches. Herein lays the problem.
Despite these problems our selection committee do a very difficult job very well. They do it with much care and consideration..... I thank them for that.
Back to cricket now. I will briefly touch on the seasons performance of our teams – The Captains reports available on the Club website go into details on individual and game performances.
We finally finished 6th in the HCPL with 233 points... a drop of 32 points and two places on 2011 which was disappointing. However, as I mentioned previously, we are now an established HCPL Club, something which very few promoted TVL Clubs have managed over the past ten years.
Performances and results proved more inconsistent this year :- There was an excellent battling victory over League leaders Dinton, followed swiftly by the all time low of being bowled out for 39 by Aston Rowant.
Results indicate major inconsistencies in our batting with a reluctance of players to dig in and bat time. This resulted in some embarrassing defeats being bowled out for very low scores. Much of this can be put down to youth and inexperience, however after three years now in the HCPL we should know what’s required and apply ourselves better. I expect to see significant improvements in our batting in 2013.
However on the plus side, our bowling and fielding is as good as any in the league and our battling qualities in the field have gained us many points and victories from seemingly impossible positions. Similar virtues in our batting will make us a formidable side.
Major individual performances this year came from:-
With the bat I was delighted to see Richard McLeod have such a successful season in the HCPL. He scored 354 runs and won the 1stXI batting cup for the 10th time. More notably, his century at Aston Rowant is the 40th he has scored for the Club (no one else has scored more than 15!)
On a personal note, I particularly enjoyed Luc Baldwin’s brilliant match winning innings in adversity v Dinton.
On the bowling front, Syke returned to form this summer and was leading wicket taker with 41. He was well supported by Doug King (30), Dale Morris (25) and Dan Evans, who with 20 wickets, showed huge improvement and established himself as a bowler of genuine 1stXI class.
Next season, especially if we can attract a new player or two – something that is being worked on, I would expect us to be near the top of the League challenging for the title.
The 2s this year showed significant progress from 2011 when we only stayed up by winning our final game. We finished the season in 6th place with 240 points. We were just one wicket short of winning three more matches which would have seen us in the shake up for promotion.
Our batting improved with Barry Webb and Tom Waite having high scoring seasons being well supported by the rest of the batting order.
Once again our bowling was exceptional with Scott Morris the leading wicket taker in the League with 62 wickets at 12.85. As ever he was well supported by Martin Webb with 39 wickets.
I would expect to see the 2ndXi pushing for promotion to level 2 next year.
The 3rdXI started slowly last season and after four or five games we were fearful of being involved in a relegation battle to stay up. We need not have worried, as from the middle of June performances improved and the side finished fourth on equal points with 2nd & 3rd, only missing out on promotion by number of victories. A great finish to the season under new captain David Cokeley.
The Ogden family was once again to the fore with Daniel scoring 310 runs and Simon taking 23 wickets. Ryan Finch did well taking 20 wickets in his first season of 3rdXI cricket. Our new South African all rounder Hannes was a successful addition to the team, scoring 249 runs and taking 14 wickets.
The team proved more than competitive in Level 5 and they really should be challenging for promotion in 2013.
The 4thXI suffered most from the appalling summer weather, only playing nine matches, half a full League programme. This did not help availability and reduced the competitiveness of teams we were able to field. Despite this we finished comfortably mid-table in 6th place.
Senior players held the side together throughout the season....
Mike Christelow as leading run scorer and Neil Parnell as leading wicket taker – his 14th bowling award for the Club in 22 seasons.
As is our policy, the 4ths continue, where at all possible, to promote young colts as the future of the Club. Already Ryan Finch, Jordan McLeod and the Ogden brothers who started in the 4thXi have progressed and established themselves in higher teams. I am sure the likes of Sam Beacham and Tom McLeod will soon follow them.
Such progress indicates a bright future for HCC.
I understand Captain Craig Collett is standing down and I would like to thank him for his four year stint which has seen the 4thXI firmly established as part of the fabric of our Club.
The Sunday team had a successful season, winning the Chess Valley League Division 3 and next season will play in Division 2. We won six of our nine matches.
The side has continued its aim to blood young players in senior cricket and now having reached the top level of the Chess Valley League, the Committee feels it’s now time to expand our Sunday cricket programme. To achieve this we have entered a 2ndXI in the Chess Valley League Division 8 for 2013 in order to promote even more younger players into senior cricket. Fir this to be successful we need all senior players to buy into Sunday cricket and make themselves available on 1 or 2 Sundays during the 9 game League season. In recent years whenever the Club has expanded the cricket fixtures by introducing the 3rdXI, 4thXi and the Sunday XI, our playing membership has always responded making these new teams a success and I fully expect the Sunday 2XI will be no different.
Club House Redevelopment
After outlining our hopes at last year’s meeting, we now see the magnificently improved facilities which have been achieved. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Craig, Barrie, Finchy and especially Paul Jennings for all their hard work and time in progressing and achieving completion of this very time consuming project.
You may also have seen that the square has been levelled and re-seeded since the end of the season and it is also planned to have the nets levelled and re-laid in the Spring.
There is nothing to report so far on the HCPL as their AGM is not until January. However, most of you will be aware that Hertfordshire Clubs may be withdrawing from the HCPL. Their final decision is expected tomorrow. Until this is finalised the structure of the HCPL and the TVL will not be resolved. No matter what is decided, it will not affect the League position of our four sides. Fixtures will not be published until the New Year.
Chess Valley League AGM was last week and attended by Russell Petley in his new role as League Rep. We have entered a 2ndXi in the League for 2013 in order to promote even more younger players to senior cricket. For this to be successful, we need all senior players to buy into it and make themselves available on one or two Sundays during the 9 game League season.
TVL AGM was held on 22nd Nov – The one significant change sees matches at levels 8 & 9 (which will affect our 4thXI) reduced to 90 overs (split 47/43).
The Club was very lucky this year to find some new sponsors. We have received nearly £6K over the past two years. Craig is currently negotiating with sponsors to fund new covers for next season.
Our principle sponsor Cleshar, are two years into a three year deal which we hope to extend.
We have secured match day sponsorships for all 1stXI matches for the past two season.
We thank all our sponsors for their valued support and generosity
Thanks are due to Steve Finch & Craig Collett who have done most to secure these deals.
The Club has reached an optimum income from bar takings and subscriptions and cannot expect any significant increases from these in the foreseeable 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 or input for sponsorship would be most welcome from any of you.
Sadly I must again report about on field discipline of some of our players.
After last year’s incidents, suspension and warnings, I was hoping the issue of discipline would not arise again. Indeed until the penultimate match of the season, this was the case. Our markings from umpires throughout the season were either good or very good. Unfortunately events at the 1syXi match with Slough have resulted in two of our players being suspended for two matches for swearing at and abuse of umpires. One view is that this was a harsh penalty... Indeed we may well have suffered from a reputation gained from last year’s incident at Burnham. However, it remains wrong and against the spirit of the game to question umpires and abuse umpires. Why would you indulge in this practice? Umpires are never going to change their decisions. I’m afraid this behaviour is just not acceptable – there is no excuse – it has got to stop and stop now. As far as the HCPL are concerned, Harefield now has a discipline issue and we run the risk of severe penalties like points deductions for any minor transgressions in future seasons.
I would remind you all again that indiscipline is not acceptable, you are letting down yourself, your team, your captain, the game of cricket, most of all you are letting down Harefield Cricket Club.
The Club’s good name is being damaged and we do not deserve it.
I really want nothing more to do with the HCPL Disipline 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 Harefield CC
I would like to thank on behalf of the players:-
Steve & Tracy for their award winning cricket lunches and teas – without doubt they are the best on the circuit.
Timber for umpiring the 2ndXI matches despite emigrating!
Paul Dean for his efficient scoring, administration and statistical works.
Vic Devers for his scoring and administration for our 2ndXI.
For the second season running we received no administration fines from the Leagues, mainly due to the efficiency and reliability of our two quite excellent scorers... Thank you gentlemen!
Steve, Bob and the staff pouring our beer.
Thanks to all those who are involved in our expanding colts organisation:-
Steve Finch, our Colts Manager, all the team managers 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.
To Finchy again for his work towards the renewal of our ECB ClubMark status.
We are also very lucky to have such active and valued support from parents of our colts and young players – particularly Pete Morris, the Shiels, the McLeods, the Lenchs, the Richards’ and to Lyn Andrews, who regularly scores for the 4thXI... Thanks for all you do for Harefield CC.
Momentum continues in the right direction here at Harefield while many Cricket Clubs are struggling. As I have said before, it has taken a lot of hard work to get the Club where it is today and remember it is up to us all to maintain the high standards that have been set.
Michael Woodwards - Cricket Secretary