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Club Captain’s Review of 2021 - Jody Lawrence

Club Captain’s Review of 2021 - Jody Lawrence

10 Dec 2021

First off I would like to say how proud I am to captain this club, it’s allowed me to get fully immersed in the club as a whole and in general I have great hope for the future, but we do have a lot of work to do to improve how we run the club both as a committee and as playing and non playing members. A lot of thanks are in order.

A huge thank you to Will Bathurst for his commitment to administration, without him we would be in a much worse place without his expertise.

Big thanks to Wayne and Gramps for their work on the ground this season, I think the vast majority of players across the club have enjoyed playing at home and that’s testament to their work.

A massive thank you to the bar committee for their work, it’s been a real struggle for them to operate in COVID times but they have done a great job in trying to keep things safe.

Also a huge thank you to Lucy Ireland, Claire Kilby and all other helpers for their work on very busy Sunday mornings in the kitchen and bar area.

A big thank you to James Bryant for his work at Ampney Crucis along with anyone else who has helped him, the development of that ground is crucial for us going forward.

A huge thank you to Charlie Tuke-Hastings and all the team involved in making sure All Stars and Dynamos ran smoothly, it was a roaring success and was a huge income for the club this season.

A big thank you to the chairman for his largely unnoticed work behind the scenes, particularly in building our bridges with the village which is a continual struggle for us. A big thank you to all the coaches involved in junior cricket this year, as one of them myself it is a real privilege to help steer our enormous pool of youth talent, but should not be discounted how much work it is and how vital it is to our success as a club. We need more coaches desperately, so any support is welcomed and trust me, it is worth your time!

A final thank you to Liam Smith, who after 4 years at the club is leaving us. Although this year has not been what we wanted, we thank Liam for his work over the years. His knowledge of the game, his innovative fielding drills and general lifting of match day standards was something all first team players who have played with him are hugely grateful for. Replacing him will be a huge challenge for us and one we must get right.

The 2021 season was a real challenge for the club in all facets, but hopefully one we can use as a springboard to make real positive change. Off the field we faced many hurdles due to COVID, with many restrictions meaning we couldn’t operate as we would like to. Creating more of a volunteer atmosphere across the club is something I aspire because at the end of the day that’s what we all are, for everyone to take pride in what we have whilst also realising how much work it is to maintain.

On the field it was a real struggle for the senior section. The 1st XI had a real up and down season, availability and injury issues in what is a very thin squad has pushed us to the limits. We spent the large majority of the season looking over our shoulder at the relegation places but we put in enough good performances to maintain our status in Division 1 of the County League which is a great achievement. If we can recruit a few new players for next season I think we get back to being able to push for the top end of the league. 

Unfortunately the 2nd XI had a real torrid time and ended up relegated from the County League Division 7 back into the CDCA. As 2nd team captain myself I take full responsibility as my individual performances were nowhere near good enough, unfortunately too many people will also share the same feelings of their own performances. Availability issues really hampered us but ultimately we just came up short too many times. I think a lot of people felt the pressure and ultimately meant that not only did we lose matches, we also lost the fun and that’s what upset me the most. Hopefully 2022 will see a return of the fun in the 2nd team. It wasn’t all doom and gloom though as we saw alot of juniors show glimpses of what they can do and I believe the talent is there, we just need to harness it. If anyone doesn’t know, I am stepping down from my role as 2nd XI captain. I believe it is the time for change and I wish my successor the best of luck.

This year saw us enter a 3rd XI into a league for the first time and I must say it’s been the most successful part of the club in my opinion. We had 11 players in every game, which is testament to it’s success as this year and how well we have grown the club as we saw a lot of other clubs struggle to put 2 teams out at times.

The work that Mark Leadbeater and Fred Bayliss have done with the team has been nothing short of sensational. All I have heard is positive things, mainly regarding the opportunities they have given to junior players and the atmosphere they have created.

The ladies had an indifferent season in terms of results, but we had some real positives to look back on. The progression of our junior players was the most pleasing aspect, with some of them making a real breakthrough this year. The general spirit of the team was good, it’s a great atmosphere to be involved in. We need to recruit players next year to grow the squad. We also had some very positive feedback in the surveys about what the ladies want to help improve things for next season and both myself and Rob Watson will strive to put that into place.

The junior section had an up and down season in terms of results, but it seems like the great majority enjoyed the season which is fantastic. The Under 9s were a revelation under the management of Rob and Lucy Ireland, with help from Gaby Reeves and Matt Harman. All feedback from parents was positive and the children looked like they were having the time of their lives whenever I was at the games or training. Likewise the Under 11s had a fantastic season. Expertly guided by Dunny, they won the Gloucestershire Youth League winning every game along the way. The talent pool in this age group is enormous, I have huge hopes for them and we must maintain these players as they head into adult cricket. The Under 13s is a small age group in terms of numbers and was often supplemented by Under 11s coming up which naturally had an effect on results, but the atmosphere was fantastic and they have some real talented players of their own. Big thanks to Neil Cheesewright and Mark Robbins for their help over the course of the season. The Under 15s had a tough season in terms of results in their age group, but the vast majority of them played senior cricket during the season and that is the real bonus of having a 3rd XI. They all improved over the season and that will only enhance our senior section as they move up. A big thank you to all parents who helped with umpiring/scoring, it really does make the difference to us coaches. Our general atmosphere among our parents is far superior to other clubs in my opinion, we are the envy of clubs across the county and long may that continue.

I hope everyone stays safe over the winter and looks forward to returning in 2022 with a bang, where hopefully we can return to former glory, both on and off the field.