Chairman's Message - February 2024
Been a while since my musings appeared so thought i’d treat you all and remind you all that the club is still here, what’s been going on and what we’re hoping to achieve going forward.
As we all know, the winter in England isn’t conducive to cricket. Fans can get their fix with overseas series played by other nations, take their pick from the parade of mercenaries who patrol the globe pledging allegiance to franchise cricket or as is currently the case, be gripped by the latest instalment of ‘Bazball’ taking place in India. As a spectacle, so far the series has been excellent, although it is a shame for fans not to see players such as Kohli and Brook taking to the field, those who have taken to the field are living up to the billing. Our former player – Walter Armstrong will be beaming with pride that one of Ormskirk’s finest – Tom Hartley has settled in nicely to the set up and already produced a match winning performance after being thrown to the lions by the media after his first ever spell in test cricket. Many across the globe rubbish the idea of ‘Bazball’ as mindless slogging and that it won’t work in whichever country. However, there’s more to it than that. It shows that both the head coach and captain have instilled a belief into the players that nothing is impossible and that they should be able to express themselves to play the game the way they see fit. From this we have seen some incredible test cricket, victories never thought possible and a few defeats too. Whether it is being praised or criticised, it is being talked about, surely the fact that this currently England Test setup is attracting attention can only serve well for the longevity of the purest form of the game.
The T20 machine rumbles on and will always attract viewers whilst raising much needed cash for counties when The Blast takes place. However, it is Test Match performances that usually stick in the mind of the avid fan. Think Botham in 1981, Stokes in 2019, you get the idea.
In my mind, anything that attracts attention to the game is fantastic for us at grass roots level as it will have the same sort of effect as the 2005 Ashes seeing more people wishing to participate in the game.
This leads me onto what we’ve already been up to!
Our winter sessions began in January with our Under 9 and Under 11 sides being first up at Consett Leisure Centre. Participation was up on previous years with new faces in attendance as well as many of those seen before returning for another year of cricket.
This weekend sees the U11 and U13 sides starting their sessions on Sunday morning at 10.30 while the ‘big lads’ get underway at Emmanuel College on Saturday at 2pm. The timing of these sessions might not be ideal for everyone but due to our usual venue being under refurbishment, choices were extremely limited for what we were able to book. We hope that most of you will be able to get some meaningful practice in before we move outdoors in April.
The winter is always a time when clubs are frantically trying to see what they can do better for the season ahead and gives committee members sleepless nights.
A pressing matter for us at the club is the replacement of the roof. We are delighted that we have an agreement in principle for matched funding from The Derwent Valley Partnership to enable us to be able to carry out this much needed work, although we still have work to do and questions that need answered before the final touches can be put to this and for the scheme to go ahead.
As with every winter, you always wish to look at ways to strengthen the club both on and off the field. Our new 1st X1 captain has asked many questions and mainly been given unsatisfactory answers to the questions but I was delighted that we are able to welcome a new recruit from the Southern Hemisphere for the 2024 season. Alex Corver will join us as overseas amateur for the season and will add quality and determination to a talented 1st X1 as well as being very keen to get involved with the fantastic work our junior coaches carry out throughout the year. There is already a separate article on the club news pages about Alex that you should cast your eye over. Well done to those who did the hard work in making this possible.
I was pleased to see some new faces join the club management structure at our AGM and have been delighted with the input received from people since then.
Sarah is settling into her role as secretary and doing a good job of trying to keep order at our monthly soirees. Prud (Steven Marshall) has taken up the task of work to do with buildings and grounds to help us continually improve our facilities. Mark Roe has been meticulously going through our files and folders to ensure we are compliant with regulations, H&S and much more. Alex Rawle is doing great job of fund raising initiatives through sponsorship for the season ahead. Many of our sponsors have chosen to renew their partnerships with the club for 2024, some former ones are back on board and we hope to announce some new partners for the season ahead in due course. The support of these people and businesses is vital to ensuring the club can push to deliver the best experience for people of all ages who play at or visit Blackfyne. As a club, everyone is extremely grateful for the support.
There are a couple of changes to match day sponsorship this season and we are looking to have players sponsored too. Players will have a profile picture created for them which will feature your name or business which will seem them regularly posted on our social media channels and websites, you can become one of these sponsors for just £30. There are also a couple of options for match day sponsorship, some of which include a bar tab which would be ideal for someone who wishes to be featured as the sponsor of a particular game as well as bringing a couple of friends along and enjoying a few drinks on a sunny day at Blackfyne.
Anyone who wants more information can check out the club website or send Alex an e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Social events are the biggest source of income to the club each year and help us to pay the bills. Unfortunately we have already seen an increase in our utility bills of several hundred pounds, which despite us having not been open much, is a concerning sign of whats to come. The bill for cricket balls is also up £400 from 2023. You get the idea.
The juniors came along to a FIFA night a couple of weeks ago which saw the clubhouse packed out with several consoles rigged up and excited youths everywhere. Well done Dicka for organising the draw and Stu for doing a great job as barmaid for the evening.
I am currently still recruiting for the 100 Club and the Club Bonus Ball. A number on each of these is priced at £5 per month and needs to be paid via standing order. The 100 club pays a £75 weekly prize each and every Monday and the Bonus Ball pays on the last Saturday of each month with a potential prize of £200 assuming all numbers are taken and paid for. There are numbers available on both of these at present, get in touch with me at - email@example.com or drop me a text/whatsapp to find out more. Thanks to those who have recently taken numbers on these.
We have several upcoming events taking place starting with a bag packing day at Tesco in Consett on Sunday 3rd March which will see our Juniors helping out the locals in the hope of raising funds for the junior section at the club. We do need volunteers to help supervise throughout the day, if you are able to help out for even an hour or so, please give Stu a shout so that he can get you involved – firstname.lastname@example.org
On Friday 29th March (Good Friday) we will be hosting an Easter Egg Hunt at the club, something that was a huge success in 2023. Charlotte has once again taken to doing a great job of organising this and tickets are now on sale. Further details of the event can be found here - https://www.facebook.com/events/939833091076435?ref=newsfeed If anyone is able to provide any donations for the raffle and tombola, Charlotte would love to hear from you –email@example.com
Aka hosts another of his quizzes on Sunday 31st March with an earlier start time of 5pm so that those who wish to bring kids along can do so and not feel as though they’re tied to a late finish.
Sunday 14th April will see a club sponsored walk taking place as everyone walks from Lanchester back to the club, the club will then be open afterwards for refreshments.
During the season we plan to have several events taking place where possible, these will be announced as they are finalised. The first of these will be a family BBQ day on Saturday 11th May, further details on this will be announced in due course.
The season itself looks a little different to usual. We start a week earlier than usual on Saturday 13th April, with both teams facing off against newcomers to the league – Washington. Washy have spent several years in the NEPL structure and elected to join the NTCL after relegation in 2023. our 3rd X1 have faced them on many occasions but their Saturday teams will be an unknown quantity. The 1st X1 will have new foes in Alniwck and Ashington Rugby this year too with the division carrying 13 teams this season instead of the usual 12, there are now 24 league fixtures including all of the Bank Holiday Mondays. The 2nd X1 also have a 13 team division and therefore 24 league games and games on the Bank Holiday Mondays. The 2nd X1 have several new opponents in Hexham Leazes, Rock, Washington, Stocksfield, Morpeth and Greenside as a result of promotions, relegations and restructure. The league fixtures are all published on our websites and the cup draws have just arrived this morning for league associated competitions so they will be added shortly.
The support we had during games last season was fantastic and it would be great to see a good number of spectators again this season. I hope that I will see both of our Saturday sides challenging at the business end of their respective divisions, just have to cross everything that we can avoid the spate of injuries we saw in 2023 to get our best sides on the field more weeks than not!
Our 2nd X1 do have the David Greener finals day to compete in which was carried over from 2023 due to the appalling end of season weather, not sure on the date for this at this point.
Simon is doing a top job with the role of fixtures secretary and I am pleased to see that more teams will be competing in the Topham Trophy this season, something the lads will be looking to defend after last years thrilling final win against Tynedale.
On a personal level, I am delighted to see the enthusiasm for the club from the people involved in key roles and have had some very heart warming conversations lately with people who have praised what we are doing at the club. As frustrating as grassroots sport is for volunteers, it’s always great to hear about how they have made a positive difference to other people with their hard work.
I could write a long list of all the things that go on behind the scenes from our volunteers but I am aware of how long i’ve waffled on for already!
We do still need a new Designated Premises Supervisor (licensee) at the club with me stepping down from this role in the not too distant future and a new Chair of the club will be needed come November, anyone who is interested, then do shout up!
Hopefully in a few weeks time, The Barmy Army will be cheering another huge series win in India, although if Azim still reads his club e-mails, he might not share this sentiment. The weather will hopefully have dried up and warmed up more importantly and things will be looking great ready for the season ahead. I look forward to seeing (most of) you again in the coming weeks at the club and hopefully seeing a successful year for the club both on and off the field in 2024.
Take care in the meantime everyone, Ian
Chairman's AGM Report - November 2023
The time has arrived for me to give an assessment of how the club has performed over the last 12 months. Some of it is very positive, some of it not so much.
As always, I begin with playing matters.
Our 1st X1 again began the season with optimism of a strong league campaign and some anticipated success in cup competitions. Despite winning the Eric Topham Trophy in a nail biting final at Blackfyne, the league campaign faltered. Breathtaking victories were paired with disappointing and unexpected defeats as the side finished in 5th place, some 140 points behind runaway winners, Newcastle City. Lee, John and Aron all made sparkling centuries, while skipper Chris finished top of the pile for both runs and wickets but injuries would play a major part in seeing the side struggle to field it’s strongest X1 on most occasions.
Chris has returned to Hetton Lyons, I think him for his efforts over the last two seasons and wish him well going forward. At present, the team will remain the same for 2024, although if the option of strengthening the side presents itself, we will look to do just that.
The 2nd X1 made a good attempt at life in Division 4, they finished 6th in the end but were in the hunt for promotion right until the last few weeks of the season. The telling sign was the fact that 29 players were used in league games this season. Call ups to the 1s, injuries, holidays and so on made it extremely difficult for the side to maintain any sort of consistency of selection. They did reach a finals day which has been carried over to 2024 and with the return of Jamie and Nathan, the side should hopefully push on again next season and challenge at the top of the division.
The Academicals performed admirably despite consistently lacking in numbers from senior players. Injuries to the older gents, myself included, meant that extremely young sides were fielded most weeks. However, our juniors who made debuts this year should be applauded for their enthusiasm for the game and do show that the future is looking bright as they gain more experience. I’d like to congratulate Seth, Ed, Ryan, Noah, Hayden and Oscar who all played senior cricket this season, despite all being U13.
As mentioned, our junior section continues to make excellent progress. Stuart and his team of volunteers have again done a fantastic job of organising sessions indoor and outdoor throughout the last 12 months to ensure that our junior members are given the best chance to develop their skills as they move up through the teams and push toward senior cricket.
For the first time ever, the club fielded a girls team at U11 level and will continue with this next season and beyond. Well done to Fos as he heads this up!
At junior level, many of our U13 players are now too old so for the first time in a while, we will field an U15 team next season.
At all levels, it is great to see so many players competing, right down to those 5 year olds taking part in our All Stars programme, right up to those who have been playing for at least 40 years longer than that who still do a great job in our senior sides. We should always look to do our best to encourage new people to take up the sport and welcome them to our Blackfyne home if possible. One thing I have learned during my years at Consett is that there is never such a thing as having too many players….
The club owes an enormous amount of thanks to those who give up their time to run our junior sessions and take charge of the games in which they play, without them the club has no future.
Off the field of play, not a day goes by without some sort of challenge for the club or myself.
Socially, the club has been very well supported on match days and practice evenings, although the behaviour of a minority of patrons has left a lot to be desired at times. The club has joined the local pubwatch scheme in an attempt to eradicate these issues but it does need the support of ALL of our members in calling out instances of unacceptable behaviour and ensuring that they are dealt with appropriately.
Our bar will again show that we have beaten our previous best year in terms of takings, however, this brings challenges of it’s own in the form of stock management, purchasing, accounts, staffing, training and legal compliance. While better sales look great, they do bring more demand on those who carry out these tasks, which at times can be difficult to fit into the balance of work and family life for those involved. We are now no longer supplied by Heineken who we have been associated with for several years now and will begin the new 12 month period using LWC. Some products will be changed to reflect demand and sales while we have changed how we purchase from the cash and carry after I found I could drive to Birtley and back with my eyes closed, such was the frequency of my visits to Batleys. We will do all we can to ensure the club remains competitively priced but our hands are ultimately tied by the ever increasing cost price of products and ever increasing costs of utilities.
This poor behaviour has not been limited to the bar. The club have had to deal with several instances of poor conduct on the field this year, which is extremely disappointing. It is embarrassing for myself when contact is received from the relevant league and frustrating for those who have to deal with the situation and provide a measured response and take action. We all know that people will get frustrated during games and things won’t always go their way, but they must remember that there is an acceptable level of conduct applicable to all who play the sport and that those who repeatedly fail to adhere to this will be thanked for their efforts at the club and asked to continue their playing career elsewhere. The roles undertaken by the committee and myself are challenging enough without having to babysit adults and remind them of how they need to behave.
There are some positives. I attended a dinner at Durham CC in August which was for their annual awards scheme at grassroots level, formerly knows as the ‘OSCAS’ Our team of wise men were rewarded for their years of hard work as Geoff, Gordon and Keith were awarded grounds team of the year. There was also a retrospective award for David Graham, a fitting tribute for all his hard work for both club and county over the years.
My thanks go out to them for the great work that they do in providing us with a great place to play, especially during the period of July and August this year where rain made their efforts almost impossible at times.
We are currently looking toward fund raising for the club in order to fit a new roof as the one currently in place is more sieve like in it’s ability to prevent the elements from entering the building. Things like this don’t come cheap, and when you mix this with difficulties in getting responses from the council over planning permission, it becomes a frustrating process for grant applications and access to community funds. We are pleased that our local councillor is now on board and trying to assist us with this process and we hope that we might have some positive news on this in the near future. After all, the building is 100 years old and certainly showing signs of it’s age despite our best efforts to keep it in good shape.
A big thank you is needed to all of our sponsors. It is great to see that so many local businesses are willing to support the club. Without their support we would struggle to provide a great environment for our players and spectators. We are always looking at ways to improve the facilities we have, whether that’s updates to our buildings and machinery or the purchase of new kit and training aids, we would struggle to do any of this without this help. I hope that we will be able to welcome these sponsors back in 2024 and hopefully add some more going forward.
A big thank you from me to all of those at the club who have helped out during the last 12 months. Whether that be on match days, training nights, days when the club isn’t open doing the mundane tasks such as emptying bins, ongoing repairs, preparing accounts, making teas and so on. Amateur clubs like this are unable to function without these people. As is asked every year, if you feel as though you are able to support the club in any way, your input would be warmly welcomed.
Personally, I have struggled to enjoy the last 12 months as much as I normally would have done. A bad back prevented me from playing for most of the season, while never being a strong player, I still enjoy taking to the field and being part of the team. I have also needed to work more on weekends than in previous years meaning that I haven’t attended as many games as I have done in the past and have maybe taken my finger off the pulse in terms of trying to manage to the running of the club as well as I would like to. This isn’t something that I envisage changing too much in 2024 which means that first and foremost the club will need a new DPS (licensee). I cannot commit to being in attendance at the club regularly enough when the bar is open to satisfy the criteria laid out for a DPS. I will remain as the named DPS until 31st March 2024, at which point someone else will need to take over. I will pay for the course and license for someone to become qualified to do this, as the club had paid for me when I did so in 2018 so wouldn’t expect the club to be paying for this again. I will happily give more details and support to anyone who expresses an interest in this.
This will also be my final 12 months in any sort of senior role within the club. I will be standing down as chair of the club at the 2024 AGM, assuming i’m voted back in for the next 12 months of course. This has not been an easy decision to come to as I have put a lot into the club over my 26 year of involvement here. Unfortunately putting so much time and effort into this has had a negative effect on my personal life at times and this cannot continue. I have begun the process of writing up a user manual for everything I can for the running of the club to ensure that the committee can easily continue to run the club beyond then and will have all the of the information and contacts required to do so. This will take time however so don’t expect to see it any time soon!
Over the next 12 months, I hope that the club can continue to grow in the right way and we can see success both on and off the field for all our members and visitors. I hope you all winter well. Please keep an eye out for updates around winter training, social events and of course the all important release of the 2024 fixtures. So long as we perform better than England have done at the World Cup, then we should be alright….
Chairman's Message - April 2023
It's April and the season is less than 2 weeks away. The field would be better suited to a canoe than a set of stumps but our ground staff assure us all will be well come 15th April.
In the meantime we've been busy behind the scenes as always. We managed a certain amount of tidying up at the weekend to get nets, covers and various bits ready for the season. The paint brushes and rollers very much still need an outing on a dry day however!
Good Friday will see approximately 175 children and parents join us for what might possibly be the first Egg Hunt carried out at Blackfyne, we may have to stand corrected on that one. Eggs will be hunted down as well as faces painted, castles bounced on, raffles and tombolas imposed on the visitors and refreshments available to all. Well done to Mrs Pyke for pushing to get this one out there and brilliant to see that the idea has proven so popular. Easter Sunday sees the now customary quiz hosted by Sunday slogger Aka as he welcomes club members and his Tesco colleagues for one of his fund raising evenings from 7pm, all are welcome to attend.
The club would like to welcome 19 year old Max Fletcher, who will join us for the first half of the season. He currently studies at Durham Uni and will be available until the mid point of the season. The leg-spinning all-rounder will give added options and depth to an already strong looking 1st X1 squad. Best of luck to his spinning fingers when it inevitably snows during his debut game...
Our final indoor training session takes place tonight at the lousia centre at 7.30 and it has been great to see some members have already taken to using the outdoor facilities too. You will all notice that the scruffy end of the net has now had astro turf laid thanks to MB Driveways and will make for a much tidier and safer surface for the bowlers when running in!
We are thrilled that the club will field it's first female team in 2023. Our under 11 girls team comes as a result of the hard work put in by our coaches through All Stars and Dynamos. The fixtures haven't yet been released but they will appear on our website shortly. A huge thanks to new sponsor AGH Engineering for sponsoring the team. Whilst a mention goes to them, a big welcome to our new sponsors for 2023; Eclectic Coffee Roasters, The Derwent Manor Boutique Hotel, AW Construction, Joseph Page Solid Fuels and Lorimers Sports. We thank them and our returning sponsors very much for their support. To find out more about these new sponsors or any of our existing ones, just click on their logos on our home page which will redirect you to their websites.
The majority of the cup draws are now in and the two Saturday sides have come up trumps with home ties in most! In the Hedworth Williamson cups both our 1st and 2nd X1 play host to Burnhope, in the Roy Coates the 1st X1 host Tynedale, in the David Greener the 2nd X1 host Durham City. After finishing runners up in the James Bell in 2022, the 2nd X1 get a bye in the first round and then play host to Lintz in round 2. The 1st X1 start their league cup campaign on 26th April against Clara Vale who are in the same division as our 2nd X1 (we've no idea either) and in the Charity Bowl face a trip to Tynedale on 10th May. The 2nd X1 start their league cup campaign on 24th May hosting the winners of Stocksfield or Allendale. Great news for those who enjoy a weekday T20 at Blackfyne, heads in hands for our ground staff as they work out if the square will be big enough for so much cricket.
Oh and on top of all this, the 1st X1 play host to Woodhouse Grange of the North Yorkshire Premier League in the ECB National Knockout on Sunday 30th April in a 40 overs per side contest. A great way to spend your bank holiday Sunday with a few cold ones watching some top quality cricket being played at Blackfyne!
Anyway, off to bed for me, another of our sponsors - Magic Carpets is due at the club at 9am to work some magic and have our clubhouse carpets looking brand new again.
See you all soon, Ian
Chairman's Message - March 2023
Hope you’re all keeping well. I know it’s been quite a while since i’ve posted an update but hopefully quality over quantity might suffice.
We are only 6 weeks away from the start of the 2023 season and there is still plenty of preparatory work to be done at Blackfyne. The field is looking in good condition as a result of the hard work put in at the end of the season by our members, all being well, the weather will remain favourable so that Keith, Gordon and Geoff will have the place looking it’s usual resplendent self come 15th April for the visit of Annfield Plain 1st X1.
The 1st X1 will be hoping for a stronger showing than in 2023 and have fresh faces in the side to help reinforce their strength. We have opted against an overseas player for this season but have been able to welcome Lee Whitfield, John Meadows and James Radcliffe. These are 3 proven local lads who will be popular among their team mates as well as all having the required desire to win. The team will be lead by Chris Winn after Stuart Graham stepped down from captaincy duties at the end of 2022.
The 2nd X1, who collected their league winners trophy on Saturday evening at the NTCL dinner at Newcastle Racecourse, begin life in Division 4 with a trip to Stobswood Welfare. The team will again be lead by Andrew Ray, who felt he had to go again with the team having been promoted. Sadly, John Stokoe and Nathan Smith have made the short journey down Durham Road as they will line up for Shotley Bridge in 2023 after being integral members of a successful side in 2022, I wish them both all the best. Lewis Fletcher has made the journey in the opposite direction, having already played for Consett during the Covid hit season of 2020. He is well known to the lads in the team and is a great all round addition to the team.
The 3rd X1 fixtures have not yet been released but they will be putting a lot more focus on junior participation in 2023. (if selected) I will be part of the side lead by Harry Davison who will be looking to encourage several of our Under 13 players into senior cricket during the more friendly nature of Sunday cricket in the HLSCL.
Our junior section is shaping up well ahead of the season lead by Stuart, Ste T, Ste G, Dicka and others and have been training since New Year. We will again field Under 9, Under 11 and Under 13 teams thanks to their hard work and all being well will field a girls junior team this year too! Their fixtures have just been released at the weekend and will appear on the website in due course.
Off the field, there is always work to be done. At our AGM I was happy that Simon Wilkinson took on the role of fixtures secretary, I’m sure he will do a great job of getting our games organised and is currently in the process of registering teams for the Eric Topham Trophy which returns after a hiatus in 2022. My thanks to Simon for putting his hand up. I’m also pleased to welcome Charlotte Hamilton onto the committee. ‘Mrs Pyke’ is keen as can be to improve our family friendly nature and is already hard at work organising our inaugural Easter Egg Hunt and has other firm ideas around fun days and activities for all. We hope to see many regular faces and plenty of new ones at the club over the course of the season.
My thanks go to all of the committee for their continued hard work to keep the club heading in the right direction. One of our long standing chiefs, Lesley, took the decision to stand down at the AGM and her straight talking, no-nonsense approach will be missed. For anyone expecting an easy time, she will still be at most games with David, giving their positive reviews of team performances on any given day. I’ve become quite partial to these conversations myself….
I have ideas of my own which will hopefully see a few more faces at games over the course of the season. I have been organising for street food vendors to come along on match days and have so far secured dates with PiggyBlinders, Slackjaws GBC, La Cabina and Crepe Expectations. Keep an eye on the website and our social media pages for dates and make sure you come along and sample some great local street food vendors! I hope that we will be able to offer other social events during the year and already have an Easter quiz hosted by Aka, music from Miranda Newton on 9th June to coincide with our All Stars and several other ideas in mind which I can hopefully implement.
During the winter, the club very sadly lost two life-long supporters. David Graham, a member of 50 years who had been heavily involved with the club both on and off the field left us. The club are hosting a memorial bike ride on Saturday 25thJuly from Parkhead Station near Stanhope to Swalwell to raise funds for our juniors. The money raised will be used to purchase a new bowling machine to assist our coaches in their work to help our juniors realise their potential and make 1 to 1 sessions much easier when needed. The club will be open from 5pm that day and we wold love to welcome as many people as possible back to the club even if they aren’t taking part in the fundraiser as we have something planned in memory of David.
We also lost another long-time supported as Joan Topham passed away just before Christmas. Joan was always a keen supporter of events at Consett, even after her husband and former player Eric passed away some years ago. As a keen supporter of local sport, Joan will be missed and remembered by many people associated with cricket and football in the Consett area.
In comparison with the last couple of winters, there hasn’t been much change in the fabric of our ground. We are however aware of the need to replace the clubhouse roof which will be a costly affair. We will be looking into grant funding to assist with this and hope that the club will be as popular socially throughout the season as we look to get this done later in the year. We do have some other ideas of things we would like to improve around Blackfyne and as funds become available, we will look at ticking these off our wish list one by one. Anything we can do to make our home more welcoming to players and supporters alike is well worth the money. I can hear members of the opposition asking for warmer weather but we sadly don’t have a big enough budget for a giant halogen lamp!
I do have to say a huge thanks to all of the returning sponsors for 2023 and a warm welcome to the new ones that have been kind enough to engage with the club. Well done to Stuart for the leg work involved in securing these. I am hopeful that there will be some more new additions to announce before the season begins and hope that all of our members will check out our sponsors page on the club website when needing any kind of services as all of our sponsors come recommended from our club members.
Our 100 club has had a refresh as of the start of March. It has been run by Mark Roe for the last 2 and a half years and I must thank him for keeping on top of what has often been a difficult task. I’ve managed to rope Jenna into taking this on and it’s only a matter of time before she sees sense and maintains silence when I start on about cricket related matters. She has changed the format going forward which will see us pay out much higher prizes on a weekly basis. It’s great to see many new people taking up numbers and we will try to be more efficient in keeping website and socials up to date with winners and dates going forward than I was previously on behalf of Mark. There are still a couple of numbers available so give Jenna a shout if you’d like to be in with a chance of the £75 weekly prize. Full details on the club website.
Winter nets for seniors have been reasonably well attended in comparison with previous years, the genius fines system of the new 1st X1 captain may have had a bearing on this but I would hope that it’s more that the lads are keen to hit the ground running once things get underway.
We will again be entering a good selection of cup competitions as we know how popular the mid week games are on a sunny evening and will be playing in the ECB National Knockout on 30th April at Blackfyne against Yorkshire Premier League outfit Woodhouse Grange. That should be a great day for people to come along and support the club and enjoy refreshments on the terrace!
At this moment in time, i’m very much looking forward to seeing the season beginning. I’ll see how long my optimism lasts this time around and have to ask myself if this will be the season that the beard turns fully grey or if it will hang on until 2024!
You can access all of our social media outlets for updates by clicking the Linktree below which also gives direct access to things like our club shop hosted by Lorimers.
Look forward to seeing you all at Blackfyne some time soon, Ian
Chairman’s Message - August 2021
Hello everyone and welcome to this months edition of my thoughts and observations concerning the club. Apologies for my absence over the last couple of months, I’ve been pretty busy!
As I write this latest edition, I am sat on the balcony watching out final All Stars edition of 2021. The programme has been a massive success, with the children and parents enjoying it so much! The coaches and volunteers have been a credit to the club so massive thanks to them, especially Stuart for co-ordinating the whole thing.
Whilst on about juniors, our Under 9 team have won silverware! They participated in a 6 week summer festival series involving teams from the Derwentside area and won each and every one of the 18 games that they played to finish on a maximum 54 points. This is a fantastic effort and they deserve much praise. One of our players, Louie Graham was voted player of the tournament. Something made all the more impressive by the fact that he has only just turned 7, well done Louie!
A couple of weeks ago we held a presentation day and BBQ for our juniors which was very well attended and it was great to see people presented with their All Stars certificates and trophies from All Stars up to Under 11 level. The kids played for hours on the bouncy castles, while the adults enjoyed some food and beverages while watching the Academicals romp to a 10 wicket win over Littletown.
The entire junior programme has been a massive success this season, my thanks go out to all of the coaches and junior committee for ensuring everything has ran smoothly throughout the year. We aim to have an Under 13 team next year too now that some of our Under 11’s are ready to step up so we can’t wait to see how they get on in 2022. Keep an eye open for updates about winter coaching on our socials…
At the start of August, we were eventually able to host a memorial match for my predecessor - Alan Waters. We hosted an old timers game between Shotley Bridge and ourselves on a damp Friday night. Despite the weather, the event was exceptionally well attended, the only down side was that our lads allowed Shotley to stroll to an easy win! The event was designed to raise funds for charity and thanks to the generous nature of those in attendance, the raffle and auction raised in excess of £3,000 for Macmillan and the Foundation of Light. The two clubs are aiming to do something similar next year down at The Spa to raise funds for the Air Ambulance, another worthy cause.
At this point there are only four Saturday games remaining in the season. The 1st X1 sit in pole position after a nail biting win over Morpeth at Longhirst last weekend, while the 2nd X1 sit in fourth place in their division, something that could have been much better if they had won some tight encounters and not had such horrendous problems with availability in the middle part of the season, often playing with 9 or 10 men and somehow still managing to win some of those games!
The 1st X1 have 3 of their 4 remaining fixtures at home as they push for what would be a first league title in 40 years. The 2nd X1 have left too much to do for a promotion push but could still finish strong and aim for a third place finish, a marked improvement on previous seasons and an indicator that they should be playing higher up if they could consistently turn out full strength teams….
The Academicals have had a difficult season and currently sit bottom of their division, however they’ve had some excellent wins and strong performances but they can avoid the drop if they pull out the stops in their final two games against Brandon and Lintz. Got everything crossed hoping for the right results!
All in all another very positive update, we are already holding discussions with regards to the 2022 season and beyond both on and off the field. As always we will look toward keeping our playing staff as strong as possible and we have a couple of projects in mind to continue to improve the club over the winter, we will share these updates as and when they happen.
Keep an eye on our socials going forward for news of our winter social events and the start of the darts & dominoes.
If you are willing and able, we would encourage you to come and support our teams for the final four games of the season, as always it will be great to see you all and having that 12th player available might just give them the edge that they need. Look forward to seeing you all soon!
Chairman’s Message - May 2021
Hello everyone and welcome to the May edition of my thoughts, ramblings and complaints…
Again, plenty has been happening since I last communicated with you all!
The weather has turned British on us and provided much frustration. Practices and games alike have been cancelled and our poor ground staff are having a nightmare trying to keep out field in tip top shape by dashing to the club in between rain showers. Although when the sun eventually does come out, the grass is likely to grow out of control very quickly and they’ll soon be shouting for rain again.
Our All Stars programme managed to get underway on Friday 7th May in amongst the showers and what a great sight it was for me to be able to see 60 children taking part in the first session. The hysteria levels between them were certainly audible and the feedback from parents has been fantastic. It’s no secret that I don’t have much to do with junior teams these days due to work commitments but I’m always keen to know that our future stars are in good hands. Therefore, it was great for me to be able to get down and see a session in action and appreciate the fantastic job that our team of coaches have done to both plan and execute something on such a large scale while making sure everyone in attendance is fully engaged and enjoying themselves. A huge thank you to all involved! Thanks to Amy, Rachel and Sarah for looking after the tuck shop too as well as Charlotte for running the bar to make sure everyone was fed and watered.
Our Under 9 and Under 11 sides have also made impressive starts to their games on Sunday mornings. I have had feedback from team coaches notifying me of some outstanding individual performances which give us great hope for the future once some of these players are ready to start playing senior cricket!
The 1st X1 lost their second game, away at Newcastle City. Our professional, Azim, was tracked and traced after someone on his flight had tested positive on his flight to England so had to complete a full 10 day isolation. Perhaps the sanctuary of a house 15 miles away wasn’t such a bad thing after our team slipped to 16-6 (no that’s not a typo) batting first, eventually scrambled to 100 thanks mainly to a 50 from John Chapman. Skipper Stuart Graham ran in hard in claimed 5-26, but the game slowly drifted away. Better news next time out, Stocksfield were inserted on a damp wicket, however steady accumulation and late order hitting saw them post a challenging score of 184. The pro was on the field however which everyone was happy to see! He came to the crease with the score on 16-1 and after working hard early on to overcome alien conditions he began to find his way. He shared in a 143 run partnership with Gary Hunter (56) to guide the team to the brink and then capped a dream debut in reaching a century off 102 deliveries which saw the team record a 7 wicket win!
The 2nd X1 overcame an opening weekend defeat to turn in strong performances thereafter. They hammered Benwell & Walbottle by 130 runs, with a special mention to Nathan Smith who battered an unbeaten 70 from just 24 deliveries as they posted an impressive 235 from their 40.
The following week they dismissed Riding Mill for just 116 and chased their target down without too much alarm to see them run out winners by 5 wickets with what looks an impressively strong side!
Long may this continue…
The Academicals started with a bang at Littletown as they won by 8 wickets chasing 114, Littletown had been 110/3 before the experience of Barry Mitchell (3-3) and Mark Roe (4-7) blew them away. Ian Atkinson making an unbeaten 72 during the chase.
The following week saw them turn in a decent bowling performance against Brandon as they restricted them to 167 but things could have been so much better if less butter had been applied to fingers before taking the field. Perhaps glue should be used instead of sanitiser every 6 overs. In reply they got off to a steady start thanks to Barry Mitchell’s 40, but the middle order fell away as only 129 runs were managed en route to a 38 run defeat.
Our new bar is as good as finished, with just some cosmetic touches are required to seal the deal, thanks to SGS construction for their efforts in getting us open on time. It has been open since the 17th April and has been very well received where we have been able to offer table service and drinks to people during matches. If anything we have seen more people choosing to join us than usual and if this is maintained then the future is bright for us as we plan our next projects and ideas to keep improving the club. Thanks to Laura, Charlotte H and Charlotte C for their hard work getting used to all the new rules and systems as well as providing top service throughout. We also saw a large number of people join us on bank holiday Sunday, and it was fantastic to see so many groups of people enjoying the freedom to meet up with people that they had not seen for such a long time.
We hope to keep seeing you all returning and trust that you all have a keen eye on our planned social events going forwards.
The strength of our Saturday sides and competition for places means that at present, I am surplus to requirements which enables me to get to the club on match days and get feedback on what people think of what we have been doing. It’s great for me to be able to hear so many visitors, opposition players and junior parents passing on their well wishes and compliments for the work we have carried out. I know that I have driven the committee to despair at times over the winter but I am extremely thankful for their support in helping to realise the ambitious plans we have and have carried out so far.
I hope that when people see me around the club that they feel they can approach me and come to me with any feedback - good or bad. It’s great to hear all the positives but it can be even better to hear the negatives. This may seem a little strange, but without being made aware of the negatives then we might not be aware of them and therefore won’t be in a position to do anything about them. I’m always happy to have a chat over any concerns that people might have or would love to hear any ideas people have that we may not have came up with. No matter how small your idea may be, shout up, it might just be a stroke of genius!
All in all another very positive month for the club both on and off the field which could be made even better if the rain could kindly locate itself elsewhere until mid September! As of 17th May, spectators are allowed back into the ground, so you will legally be allowed to wander round the field and chew the fat with your favourite folks on your pursuit of laps. Although as licensee, I must remind you all for the time being that your alcohol can still only be consumed in the designated area whilst sat at your tables. No it doesn’t make all that much sense to me either but we’ve only 5 and a half weeks until total freedom hopefully.
I’d apologise for the lengthy update, but as there’s so much positive news, I think it’s only right to share it with you all. Looking forward to seeing you all soon if I’ve not yet seen you at the club this season.
Take care until then, Ian
Chairman’s Message - April 2021
Hello everyone and welcome to my latest monthly update. Apologies that it is a little later than usual but it’s been a hectic few weeks!
I will start by saying that I am delighted that our hard work has paid off and that our professional made it into the country in time for the season. Azim has been very excited to come and play his first season in England, and I have been in regular contact with him since the beginning of November when we first agreed to secure his services. Since then we have had Covid spikes, lockdowns, travel bans and even as recently as Monday, India was put onto the red list - effective from Friday. As the time grew closer, travel bans meant that daily flights turned into weekly flights, but after two cancellations, Azim arrived in England on Saturday morning. Due to quarantine rules, he was unable to take the field against Ryton for out first game but should be good to go against Newcastle City on Saturday. I have no doubt that he is an excellent addition to the team.
Onto playing matters. There seems to be a real buzz around the players for this season. Coupled with the 1st X1 having a top class professional and a renewed thirst after months of lockdown, we suddenly find ourselves leaving players out rather than asking the retired ones to hunt their gear out of the garage. As much as this is a welcome situation, it makes it an almost impossible task for the selection committee to have to decide who misses out. Our most recent think tank resulted in over an hour being spent on how best to assemble our 2nd X1 and even once we had made our decision, we had doubts.
The team captains and myself are hoping that competition for places will make players hungry to want to do well and I think this is reflected in seeing that there have been people training at the club almost every day of the week rather than the previous once a month. I can only hope this commitment will remain for the season and that results will reflect this positive attitude.
The season began on Saturday 17th April. Again, there are a set of rules as long as a piece of string, some of which are born out of common sense and some which maybe don’t make so much sense. At present we aren’t allowed spectators, however, interpreting what counts as a spectator, isn’t quite so easy. If someone is sat in our hospitality area and have a view of the match, then that’s fair game, but if they want to sit on their own on one of the benches by the score box, that isn’t. Confused yet? We are.
The league also decided that only a week before the season that our 1st X1 would play 45 overs instead of the usual 50. Much grumbling ensued from our usually beaming skipper…. Again it might not be a rule we wholeheartedly agree with, but it’s the same for everyone. One positive of this is that we might see the players in the beer garden earlier which can only be a good thing when David is reviewing the finances.
The 1st X1 kicked off the season with a solid 6 wicket win against Ryton. Jack Murray with 4 wickets and Mark Dixon with 3 wickets leading the way. The bowlers were certainly happy when they realised that the usual thorn in the side, Mo Ali, was nowhere to be seen. They made relatively short work of their target of 81 and picked up a full 30 points which is a great start with Azim still to come into the team.
The 2nd X1 played an even and well contested game at Tynemouth. Batting first they posted a competitive 173/7 from their 40 overs, Andrew Ray top scoring with 60. Despite 2 wickets each for Ewan McCabe and Stephen Gray, the hosts reached their target with 3 overs to spare. An encouraging start from a team that should be looking to challenge the top end of the table this season instead of playing like Steve Bruce is in charge….
As for the 3rd X1, they hosted Tantobie in a friendly on Sunday. Mark will be happy if I spare the details but in summary, runs were at a premium and they scored more than us.
Our juniors have begin training ready for their first games in a few weeks time. Their first session back was very well attended and the feedback was excellent from Ste and John as to how well the children had done and how keen and determined they all were. The future of our club is looking in great shape if this continues.
A lot of time and effort has gone in over the winter to try and improve the club. For those who have been to the ground, they will have seen that the net facility is finished and tidied up, the new patio is now furnished and illuminated, work has been done to tidy the score box and make it more user friendly for the scorers as well as lots of other little jobs being carried out.
One final big project was the conversion of ‘Davey’s Shed’ into a fully kitted out bar. It wasn’t quite finished for our first game, but thanks to some hard work from SGS Construction, Heineken and Innserve, we were able to serve drinks and begin to create some of our own revenue. The majority of the work will be completed this week construction wise, then it is just down to the arrival of some equipment (delayed due to someone not being able to drive a boat allegedly) and for the finishing touches to be added by the two Davids - Dixon and Wilkinson as they put their painting equipment to work.
We saw a good start to the life of the new bar in the new normal despite the slightly chilly temperatures later in the day and we are grateful to our patrons both old and new that supported us! We will now be emptying a bar person for every home Saturday game to provide the best service we can. Yes this costs us a little money, but there is only so much you can do as a volunteer with both your time and your patience. Make sure to say a friendly hello to your servers when you see them as they are now an integral part of the club.
We had some teething issues with our app ordering system but we are working with the company to get these ironed out ASAP and I was happy that once everyone had their half hour screaming in my ear and used the system, that they agreed it was the best way to proceed. We will never find a solution that suits both us and every single individual but I stuck my neck out and deiced this was a good happy medium for the time being to allow us to comply as fully as possible with both the council licensing section as well as the PHE guidance.
Apologies if any of the less technically minded folk struggle. One good bit of advice though, make good friends with the younger members and then guilt trip them into helping the aged for your next free drink at the club!
Going forward, the bar will be staffed from 2pm every Saturday when a hame takes place and all you have to do is sit at a table and have drinks brought to you. We haven’t advertised this to the wider audience just yet as we only have a dozen or so tables which will be available on a first come, first served basis. We can only apologise if we don’t have a table available to offer you service but it’s best we walk before we run. We do plan to host a series of social events as restrictions ease further, pending feedback from the council so please do keep your eyes peeled for these happening.
Well done and thank you to those of you who have made it this far before hitting the delete button but it’s difficult to be brief when there is so much positive news to share. I look forward to seeing you all over the coming weeks and hope that my May edition is as positive as this one was.
Take care of yourselves in the meantime, Ian
Chairman's Message - March 2021
Hello everyone and welcome to this month’s edition of the Chairman’s message. Again we’ve had a busy month despite being closed due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions. I will outline below where we are and where we are trying to go and hope that it gives you all something to look forward to.
We are now only 5 weeks away from the scheduled start of the season! We still await final guidance from the ECB and NTCL as to what conditions will apply to our games once we get underway, and if we will definitely start on 17th April as the original draft of fixtures suggest. The government roadmap allows organised outdoor sport to resume from 29th March, which includes cricket but there will of course be final guidelines which need to be communicated to ensure safe practice and Covid secure playing conditions.
Some encouraging news for the future of the club is that the ECB All Stars programme will soon be open for bookings! Previously registered participants will be able to sign up from 16th March, with new faces encouraged to sign up from 22nd March. The course costs £40 - payable to the ECB, and sees children aged 5-8 embark on an 8 week course of fun based skills learning and team building, all relevant to cricket of course. They also receive personalised kit included in the price of the course, provided by the ECB.
This year we have made a change and are running our sessions on Friday evenings at 6.30pm, starting on Friday 7th May pending further information from the ECB and the government. This is a move from our original Sunday morning slots and we hope that people will find this an accommodating move as they unwind from their week in our Blackfyne ground with a beverage in hand and conversation flowing whilst now being able to spend an extra half hour in bed on a Sunday!
We have continued on with our projects and are seeing some very pleasing results. MB Driveways have done an excellent job in installing a patio area round the net side of the pavilion, this is due to be furnished with picnic benches, sourced from John Miller, to facilitate outdoor drinking once it is allowed to take place as per government guidelines.
SGS Construction have fitted a stud wall and door to the downstairs shower area, ensuring that players will have privacy from visitors using the toilets and provide us with comfort in knowing that we are able to avoid any possible safeguarding issues that could have arisen. They are also tasked with the modernisation of our score box, the old shutter will be gone and replaced with a toughened perspex screen. This will eliminate the previously dangerous operation of opening and closing for the match day scorers and will provide a much more aesthetically pleasing structure.
We have also just commissioned work to take place starting ASAP for the conversion of one of our old storage rooms into a downstairs bar facility, something which will prove essential in being able to offer outdoor table service once allowed. A project we are excited to see the end results of.
Fred Holliday and his team have competed their project to allow us to install a secondary net for use at junior training sessions and for open use on match days with soft balls. A valuable and welcome addition for our future stars.
Work is ongoing to add some finishing touches to our outdoor areas and nets, thanks to JT Dove for their supplies, Stu and Robbie for their woodwork skills and to the rest of those who have helped out with painting, tidying and labouring when required.
Thanks to SKL Roofing for fixing our leaky roof too!
We are still a long way off, but we hope to have the club looking brand new, or as close as possible once we can welcome people back in April!
On the playing front, our 1st X1 professional, Azim Kazi, had an exceptional Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign as he scored runs for fun! If he can bring these high standards to the UK, everyone will be in for a treat seeing such a talent perform at Blackfyne. The rest of the players are excited to get back underway, after all it has been a long winter locked away in our houses for many.
I am delighted with the response that we have had from Sponsors. Many of our existing sponsors have chosen to renew for the 2021 season and as a club, we are extremely grateful for their continued support.
I would also like to welcome a series of new sponsors;
Mortgage Bureau North East
D Bowman Roofing Services
GMB Union - Northumbrian Water Branch
Fusion For Business
Global Fire & Security Systems
We look forward to welcoming all of our sponsors to the club throughout the season, so that they can see what a difference their support makes in taking our club forward at all levels.
Don’t forget to check out the sponsors and partners section of our website, where you can find an array of local tradespeople and services which we would highly recommend as a club to provide solutions for you in every day life.
Again a big thanks to my committee for their continued work, much of which goes unseen and unnoticed but is essential to the smooth running of the club, and for putting up with my sometimes over-enthusiastic views and ideas. The 100 club and Bonus Ball continue to be well supported, we do occasionally have spare numbers show up for the 100 club, keep in touch with Mark Roe and get your name down for when they do become available.
Hopefully my next edition will be one with news of more completed projects and excitement for the first fixtures of the season. In the mean time, I hope you are all keeping well and managing to stay positive as we finally see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
Stay safe and well and I look forward to seeing you all soon, Ian
Chairman’s Message - February 2021
I’m back again as promised, with the aim of keeping you all updated and hopefully able to provide a little bit of cheer to you all with regards to developments around the club.
6 weeks into the year and it continues to be a frustrating time for all. Many of us have not seen our friends and loved ones for a considerable amount of time. As I write this, it is -6 degrees outside and there has been considerable snowfall. You wouldn’t think that the season is a mere 9 weeks away (hopefully). The first Saturday fixtures are scheduled to take place on Saturday 17th February with the 1st X1 playing host to Ryton and the 2nd X1 making the trip to Tynemouth for their opener. We don’t yet have the 3rd X1 fixtures, however they always start 2 weeks after our Saturday league begins. We do however know that there is now a four division format, meaning that teams will now play home and away in divisions of 8, with our own team beginning life in division 3 for this new structure.
As vaccines are rolled out and lockdown continues, we do seem to be seeing a decrease in positive cases on a daily basis which hopefully bodes well for the future. Many of the most vulnerable have now been offered and taken up their initial vaccinations, and as much as we all have our opinions on the government handling of the pandemic, we have to be impressed with the speed at which vaccines are being rolled out.
We wait with baited breath for the PM’s roadmap announcement on February 22nd, and hope that it can help us to know if the season is likely to begin on time, what social events we can begin to plan for and most importantly when we are able to see familiar faces again. We just hope it does not resemble that of an outdated Tom Tom picked up on the cheap from a Sunday morning car-boot sale.
Behind the scenes, I would like to thank my committee for the tasks they are undertaking to keep the club running. Our monthly bonus ball continues to be sold out, and our weekly 100 club - now run by Mark Roe is fully sold old and working well after it’s resumption. My special thanks to Mark for his efforts in sorting this out.
Stuart and his junior committee have been meeting behind the scenes and discussing how to take the junior section forward during 2021. Originally we had hoped to hold some indoor training over the winter but that now seems to be altogether unlikely. They have attended an online seminar just this week which is full of positivity! The hope is that ECB All Stars registrations will soon be open and available, with the aim of starting this programme in May.
This year the decision has been made to switch the sessions to a Friday evening instead of a Sunday morning to avoid a clash with other junior fixtures.
They have also made a commitment to running and Under 9 team (who we must thanks JT Dove for their sponsorship of) and TWO Under 11 teams (who we must thanks Rock & Roll Campers for their sponsorship of). These are big steps in the right direction for the future of our club, and Stuart is hopeful that over the course of this season and next, that we will be able to enter a girls team too.
My thanks to Stuart, Mark Roe, Mark Dixon, John, Ste T and Ste G for their efforts in organising all of this.
As for preparing for the season, there is always much to do. Much to the chagrin of my committee, there have been some lengthy debates at our monthly meetings about what our aims and objectives are. These conversations are very healthy for our future and are well balanced by the various mindsets we have involved. As ever, we aim to be as ambitious as possible, but it requires the occasional moment of caution to stop us (me) from getting carried away and spreading ourselves too thin. Stephen Horn has done an excellent job with the paperwork side of the recruitment process for our professional - Azim Kazi, the only member of our club currently enjoying cricket as he currently prepares for his Vijay Hazare Trophy games back home in India. Thanks to Wilk for his spreadsheets (I appreciate them even if his family don’t) and Ron for keeping the books up to date.
There is always an endless list of tasks that need to be performed to keep the club up to date. We are delighted that we have been able to enlist the services of our sponsors and club members for these tasks. We have completed the replacement of the dated and worn out lighting in the clubhouse bar thanks to Shorco Electrical, for whom club member Bob Graham Works.
Going forward we have enlisted the assistance of MB Driveways to construct a patio area, designed to be a beer garden ready for the start of the season, as well as tidying up around the existing practice net which was installed in 2020.
Fred Holliday will be doing some groundworks for us, which will enable us to have a second net alongside the current one, something that will be a huge asset at junior and senior training sessions alike.
The score box shutter will be removed and converted to a clear fronted affair, making life much easier for scorers and the box itself far less draughty. We will also be getting a dividing wall and door to separate the shower and changing area from the communal downstairs toilets, to avoid any unfortunate incidents arriving while the public use the facilities at times while players are changing and showering. These two tasks are being undertaken by one of our sponsors - SGS Construction.
My thanks to Stuart for his work in co-ordinating these projects and ordering the majority of the materials required.
There is also general tidying up of the club to be done, as well as a wish list of other things we would like to see. These are being monitored on a month by month basis, so that we can be assured of the amount of funds we can spend with confidence based upon current income and expenditure, so keep an eye out for further projects…
As for club funding, we have signed up to two fantastic initiatives which allow us to have the potential to gain rewards. Our utilities are to be sourced by Consett based Fusion For Business, an energy sourcing company who are keen to form community partnerships with sports clubs due to the sporting background of some of their employees. They have already penned a deal to save us money on our utilities and specialise in the business sector. If you do have a commercial premises and pay business rates, then get in touch with us for a referral and we can get one of their advisors to give you a call to see if they could save you money. In turn for referrals, we as a club would receive a referral fee as part of their community ambassador agreement. Its free of charge to get a quotation so don’t be afraid to recommend anyone you know who is in this position, or if it applies to you, drop us a line.
We have also signed up to the fantastic Easyfundraising scheme. Quite simply put, we can gain cash back from your online purchases. All you have to do is sign up to their website and any time you make online purchases with over 4,000 partnered companies, you select Consett Cricket Club as your cause and we receive whatever the current cash back offer is on your purchase at that time. We do ask that you spread the word for us on this one as it will again enable us to continue to make the club secure and keep us forward thinking with our ambitions. Please visit their website - https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/consettcricketclub/ and shop from there each time!
Quite a lengthy update this month, and I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoy trying to provide you with positive news to keep us going during lockdown. I hope to be able to bring even more positive updates in my March edition with regards season starting, bar opening and further progress to getting our lives back to some kind of ‘normal’.
In the meantime, I hope that you are all keeping well, that those home schooling aren’t on the verge of needing a liver transplant and that all the key workers among you are keeping safe. As ever, if you have any concerns or questions, my phone is on, my e-mails are read daily and a text can be answered as quick as is practicably possible and I hope to see all your faces again soon!
Take care everyone, best wishes, Ian
Chairman’s Message - January 2021
Hello everyone, and a very Happy New Year to you all. As promised, I’m back with another update. I will endeavour to provide a monthly brief, where possible, after our monthly management meetings to let you know what we are doing to take the club forward and what’s going on behind the scenes.
As we all know, Covid is still wreaking havoc around the country. I won’t politicise the club and engage in any opinions regarding the matter but we are fully aware that it isn’t ideal for many people, especially those who have had loved ones or businesses effected by the situation. As we are in currently in Tier 5/Lockdown 3.0, we still remain very much closed for business from a social club point of view. We had been hoping to start and host some junior training sessions utilising the facilities at Shotley Tennis Club, however all of these things are currently not allowed under current government guidelines. Our junior committee, currently headed by Stuart Graham, will continue to endeavour to provide something for our junior members but our hands are very much tied by what the Government put in place.
Time for some positive news, yes there is some available!
Firstly, our pro for 2021, Azim Kazi, has made an encouraging start to his first-class season in India. He has put up good numbers in Maharashtra’s first 3 games of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, so if this continues then he should arrive in good form come April.
As a committee, we are still constantly liasing with each other via zoom, e-mail, text, phone call, smoke signal and carrier pigeon to ensure that the day to day running of the club is still being taken care of.
The 100 club will be back up and running from the first Monday in February, my thanks go to Mark Roe for taking up the mantle on this, which I’m pleased to report finally has all 100 numbers spoken for for the first time in my memory, and provides the club with a steady trickle of income alongside the also successful bonus ball.
As a committee we have also given the seal of approval to a number of projects to improve the club and are looking forward to being able to reveal more details of these in due course. These are designed to make the experience for all visitors to the club that much better and also safeguard the financial capabilities of the club going forward too!
We have also managed to secure a new shirt sponsorship/club title sponsor deal courtesy of Movin’ Legal. As a result of this deal, all senior players will be receiving match shirts with their company logo on and means that all teams should look nice and smart for the new season and beyond with the help of our kit suppliers at Lorimers too. Don’t forget that they currently have a 10% sale on all club branded items which is available until the end of January when ordering through their website should you wish to purchase any game or leisure wear.
We will also be seeking sponsorship of our junior sides for 2021 if possible, meaning that junior playing shirts would display the company name or brand on the front of these as well as a sponsor board and advertising on all club social media going forward. If you think you know anyone who would be interested in becoming one of these sponsors then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
As ever thanks to our merry band of committee members for remaining positive throughout these challenging times and hopefully enabling us to be in an excellent position to welcome you all back to the club in April.
I hope that you are all keeping well and coping ok with the current restrictions. Don’t forget that as a club, we aren’t just here for you on Saturdays in the summer, but all year round. If you do have any concerns or worries, then we are only a text, e-mail or phone call away. Don’t be afraid to get in touch.
I wish you all well in the meantime and look forward to a time where I can see you all in person again soon. Best wishes, Ian
Chairman’s Message - December 2020
Hello everyone. I’m writing to you all after what has certainly been one of the most difficult years in living memory for me and so many others. Firstly let me introduce myself, my name is Ian Cox. I was elected chairman at the 2020 club AGM. I have been a member of the club for 23 years and previously held various roles, some of which I still do today. I have been a team captain at various levels, ran the Under 18 team for several years, been a member of the committee and more recently have taken up roles as the fixtures secretary and the Designated Premises Supervisor (licensee for those old school folk among you).
Unfortunately this was done in particularly heart-breaking circumstances for us as a club as out long standing chairman Alan Waters sadly passed away just over a week after standing down having spent 14 years at the helm of the club. Firstly I’d like it to be known what a fantastic job Alan did during his tenure. He did everything around the club with enthusiasm and a smile on his face. He was always extremely welcoming to members, supporters and opposition alike. He worked with juniors and seniors alike and was always around to pass on his wisdom to anyone who required it, nothing was ever too much trouble. He also contributed so much off the field as part of the club committee. I certainly have enormous shoes to fill in attempting to carry on and progress his great work.
Also within the club management structure, we saw the departure of another two long-standing committee men - Colin McPherson and Mike Rodgers. Colin and Mike had been involved in various roles between them ranging from secretary, president, chairman, bar treasurer and club treasurer. They also enjoyed successful playing careers for the club spanning several decades. Their experience and knowledge will be sorely missed, although I’m sure they will still be happy to advise should we need to call upon them at some point, as they still hold the club interests in high regard.
As a committee we have Stephen Horn taking up the reigns as club secretary and David Williamson taking over as treasurer. We also have Mark Dixon, Nathan Smith and John Stokoe joining the committee going forward to assist us with the running of the club, something which is done entirely on a voluntary basis. I appreciate the time given up by all of the members who do their bit to keep the club running in the best interests of everyone. Details of who does what within the club can be found on the website by visiting the officials section on the menu on the home page.
Going forward we hope to do out best to carry on the good work done by our previous members, and I hope to oversee some exciting projects that will benefit the club in the long term. We are delighted to retain the services of 1st X1 captain Stuart Graham, who despite interest from elsewhere has committed to his boyhood club. We are also very pleased to be able to welcome the permanent signing of youngster Jack Murray who joins from Leadgate and provides a strong 1st X1 bowling option as well as useful lower order batting which he demonstrated during his guest spell in 2020. Also joining our ranks for 2020 is Indian professional Azim Kazi, a left arm spinner and top order batsman, he will certainly add strength to our side. See the news section of the website for a more detailed report of Azim’s credentials.
All in all 2020 has been a hard year both on and off the field. The playing side was cut to only a third of our usual games with cup competitions all suspended and we as a club failed to turn out strong sides at times. We can take heart though, our Sunday Academicals side lead by Mark Roe and Stephen Horn, reached the play-off finals of the HLSCL, suffering a narrow defeat in the final at Blackfyne. Some bright performances in our 2nd X1, especially from youngster Will Marshall shows that the future is bright. Hopefully we will one day see him follow in the footsteps on his father Steven and represent the 1st X1 in future. We must also thank those who guested for the club over the shortened season - Jack Murray, Luke Fletcher, Adam Golightly and Alex Manning who allowed us to fulfil all but one fixture in challenging times.
More disappointingly our social calendar was decimated. Some of our regular features such as Ladies Day, Summer Spectacular and Conny Bongo Bingo could not go ahead and some one off events we had planned also had to be shelved. The bar was however, well supported during the short time we have been permitted to open this year and I would like to thank those who did so.
The clubhouse remains closed for the foreseeable future due to our region being placed under Tier 3 restrictions at the start of December. We will of course be monitoring the progress of this and seeing how we can again adapt to being able to open. Unfortunately as a ‘wet pub’, we are only able to do so once the region reaches Tier 1, so it may be quite a while yet before we are able to welcome you all back. We will of course be looking to plan ahead for the summer and deliver a range of social events, something which not only sees new faces come to the club but goes a long way toward securing the financial viability of the club as the bar is our main source of revenue.
Under Tier 3, organised sport is allowed to take place. Bearing this in mind, we are planning for a full fixture list to take place starting from April. All being well we will be in a much lower Tier by then, if at all so will be able to welcome families and supporters back to watch the sport we all love come the start of the season.
Apologies for lengthy update, however I will endeavour to provide regular updates for everyone as to what is happening within the club. By doing so regularly, I should be able to keep them brief if possible. Don’t forget to keep an eye on our website and socials for updates for all things Consett CC.
If you feel at any point that you are able to contribute toward the club in any way, don’t hesitate to get in touch. As a wise man once said to us, “Don’t ask what your club can do for you, but what you can do for your club”
It’s your club, not mine. All ideas and suggestions are always welcome.
I will sign off by wishing you all the very best over the festive period. One which will be unlike any you’ve experienced before. I will be back to provide an update in the New Year and hopefully I might get the chance to start seeing some of you in person once again. Take care of yourselves in the meantime.
Best wishes everyone, Ian.