Club Cricket Conference
Annual Report on the 2013 Season
As we approach the historical landmark of the Conference’s centenary in 2015, we have reached an important agreement with the ECB to launch a countrywide club cricket organisation; the National Cricket Conferences, which will offer a range of highly practical assistance to clubs. It is now the main way the CCC will carry out its core aim – helping cricket clubs and club cricket and standing up for their best interests.
The key service will be to run a national on-line bureau for fixtures, ground sharing, and ‘find a player.’ Fixtures, of course, were our founding aim in 1915, and the CCC has made a huge contribution to club cricket through its fixtures service. The ground sharing bureau will help clubs with grounds to make fuller use of them, especially on Sundays, and to increase revenue by making it easier to find teams to hire them. It is vital for clubs and club cricket to make the very fullest use of their costliest assets at a time of more challenging financial circumstances. We hope, too, it will draw into the mainstream of the club game wandering or casual teams or clubs more used to hiring pitches in council parks or recreation areas. A new ‘find a player’ part of a national bureau aims to match up clubs seeking players, or needing a last player or two for a coming weekend fixture, with players seeking clubs or teams. The ECB and the CCC believe this could increase participation in recreational cricket.
After years of talks, the four-year agreement with the ECB was signed last November. Under it the ECB will help fund the services for cricket clubs. The National Cricket Conferences (formed by the CCC, the Midlands Club Cricket Conference, and the Northern League Conference) is now set up. The chairmanship will rotate through the regional conferences (the first chair is Bill Tansley of the MCCC) and will be based in the CCC’s office. The CCC’s Simon Prodger (Watford Town CC) is its first managing director.
The CCC, in a busy year, has been able to launch yet other helpful initiatives, all aiming to do more for club cricket and bring the game closer together. The Conference’s own charity, which will raise money for cricket purposes and donate to charities carrying them out, has been formed, with Robbie Book (Totteridge Millhillians CC) as chair. Robbie has also led our efforts to be more professional about the CCC’s own fund-raising and commercialisation of its assets. Our development manager, Gulfraz Riaz, has signed up further South Asian Leagues to the CCC and helped form a potentially nationwide South Asian Cricket Leagues Forum, as well as the Afro-Caribbean Cricket Association. The idea of this work is to draw together all parts of the cricket community and keep the game alive in communities where it was once stronger. The ECB values this work highly.
Our cricket programme continued to expand, with the Rep side playing three matches against county second elevens and a tour to Italy to help development there, more fixtures for U-25 side (including a weekend tour to Jersey last September) and additional Women’s matches. This provides more opportunities for club players and new pathways into higher cricket. The Women’s team won a three-way tournament against the MCC and the Combined Services, with young Sophia Dunkley (Finchley CC) the outstanding player.
My thanks go out for all the voluntary work by board members and others for the CCC, as well as for the sterling efforts of the CCC office staff. Our annual cricket lunch at Lord’s has now established itself a ‘must’ event in the cricket calendar, and for that we owe particular thanks to Stuart Whitehead (Hayes CC), Charlie Puckett (Finchley CC) and John Poore (Ealing CC). I am also pleased to welcome Paul Hooper (Addiscombe CC) as this year’s President.
Many events are already in place for our centenary year. On the same day at Lord’s, the CCC men will play the MCC on the main ground and the women the MCC on the nursery ground, with dinner in the Long Room the evening before. The year will also see a match against an ECB Xl. Our President for 2015, I am delighted to say, will be the ECB’s chief executive, David Collier (Eastcote CC). It will be a fitting year to mark a century’s contribution to the club game and also our efforts in recent years to revitalise the CCC and to be of greater direct help to cricket clubs and club cricketers.
Alf Langley, CCC Chairman (Shepherds Bush CC)