From my point of view and despite being a regular but not remotely good member of the relegated 2nd XI, this has still been the most phenomenal season in many respects. The club has considerable work to do in order to capitalise on it and plenty to develop and improve for the 2022 season and beyond in order to fulfil our potential. I do think heads drop when results don’t go our way on the field but that just means we can’t see what we actually still have regardless of league positions. Thanks to the efforts of Dave Dunn (whose involvement in Poulton CC can be traced back to cave drawings in the Neolithic period), Simon Gordon-Walker, Geoff Chapman, Wayne “turbo” Tinson (who needs to be wrapped in cotton wool and never allowed to buy himself a drink) and then numerous other grounds volunteers and families over the years, we play and practice at one of the best pavilion and ground combinations in the county and no matter the league level played on the square, that will always be the case. Results will improve and leagues can be climbed but it is far harder establish the quality of facilities that we are lucky enough to use.
I doubt there are too many clubs in Gloucestershire that could have suffered storm damage to their nets and replaced them not just in the same financial year but ahead of the vast majority of the new season. This was done to budget, with the support of 1) an excellent charitable organisation called Enovert who granted us £18.9k and 2) a benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous but donated £5k. Without the support of these people, we could not have raised the required funds and would not have had nets. I just want each player to realise for a moment how lucky we have been to put in place a £30k project without material negative impact on the cash flow of the club. In fact the accounts, will end the year stronger than they started it. Much of that is due to the record financial and attendance performance that Charlie Tuke-Hastings and his Activators achieved in the Allstars/Dynamos while Liam Smith also ran incredibly successful camps.
On top of this, we fulfilled every league fixture refusing to let COVID-19 get in the way of that despite isolations/infection from non-Poulton CC events. To do that in the first season we operated three senior league sides was frankly incredible and Jody needs a massive pat on the back for this achievement. For 2022 we can all help him by making ourselves more available for more games, leaving him to do less when raising 33 players every Saturday.
Following trials, amongst our youth Florence Miller (u11s), Bethan Manning (u15s), Emilia Powell & Gaby Reeves (u18s) have all made the Winter County Girls Squads and in the boys zonal winter squads Harry Johnson (u10s), Etienne Malherbe & Joshua Price (u12s) have been selected. Others are being considered but this is a great start. Amidst fierce competition Gaby Reeves was also selected to the ECB’s Coach Development Scholarship and deserves huge congratulations for this.
For the wider club, although Sport England has ceased its Club Mark Accreditation scheme, the England and Wales Cricket board has chosen to enhance its version and we fell down on just the one assessed point of 34 related to a course we could not attend. The club will have resolved this point by early 2022 and we will gain the accreditation status as a result.
Next Season brings all sorts of things to look forward to alongside that accreditation. All our youth players will be a year older, ready to assume new levels of cricketing challenges. The season will hopefully bring the return of the cricket tea (personal favourite) and the opportunity to restart socials at the club and bring in new ones. We’ll have a new website, aimed at bringing the clubs various squads together more and make it easier to work out what is going on where & when. We will hopefully be able to use our pavilion again and invest in our new leased one at Ampney, as well as the ground there. The club’s development plan sets us on a steep upward curve which will require the buy in of every club member to achieve over the next five years.
What I would like every senior player to do is step back now and consider what they can contribute to the club next season. Ideally the more of us who can do coaching courses and then coach, the better but there are also socials to organise and club roles and jobs of all sizes that need doing. The turning up and pulling on the shirt does not keep clubs going let alone developing.