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.