Cheshire County Cricket League JANUARY, 2015 NEWSLETTER: 14 PAGES League plough £15,000-plus back into club coffers RESPONDING to past grumbles that the League tended to be miserly, it was revealed at the AGM at Bowdon on January 21 that more than £15,000 had been ploughed back into club coffers in 2014 - with more to come. The accounts presented by Treasurer Matt Beckley showed a profit of £2,540 against a £1,965 loss in 2013. This was despite a record £11,152 in hand-outs to clubs by means of a cricket balls subsidy (£6,862) and scoring tablets (£4,284). In addition, £1,961 had been spent on covering clubs’ individual coaching costs while the engraving of plaques and shields for presentation at the dinner had cost £2,216. Treasurer Beckley said that income was boosted by a delayed payment by ECB of £9,000 and total reserves now totalled £50,918 New stumps and bails There was to be a further windfall for clubs. Ian Buttress (Warrington) contended that stocks of match-day equipment urgently needed renewing and proposed that all full members should be provided with a set of stumps and bails carrying the logo of main sponsors Vivio for the 2015 season. This was agreed and the equipment will be ordered from Reader’s to be made available for collection at the April 7 management meeting at Warrington, together with cricket balls, handbooks and result sheets. Clubs were told by the treasurer that they would again receive 12 free balls in their 2015 allocations - as long as detailed orders were placed by January 31. The League’s main source of income in 2014 had been £8,000 from sponsors Vivio, Readers’ and RedInsure and from fines which increased from £3,660 to £4,785. The net cost of the handbook was down to £1,752 while officers’ expenses and printing costs were up to £2,936, all officers remaining unpaid. The deficit on the annual dinner was a record £1,737. Subscriptions were pegged at their present level, which means they have not been raised for 20 years. Welcome for President Bygate FORMER Deputy chairman John Bygate was elected President for a two year term at the AGM, succeeding Ian Brown. John joined Grappenhall as a boy and has remained loyal all his life. He played mainly for the 2nd XI as an opening batsman and captained the team in the ‘60s. A valued member of the committee he served as chairman from 1981-91, then President for 18 years. In 1982 while Grappenhall were still members, he joined the Manchester Association management committee and launched a Grounds committee to improve playing conditions, later serving as chairman. When the County League expanded and Grappenhall were elected in 1993, he was invited to become deputy chairman and he, chairman Douglas Bourne and secretary Mike Talbot-Butler resolutely toured the county to interview more than 20 clubs who wished to enter, the upshot being that 13 were admitted by 1998. John continued his favourite enterprise and developed a Ground committee which now has professional advisers and has forced up standards and ensured that promoted clubs have the necessary qualities, a post he will continues to hold.. John also ran the League Presentation Dinner committee for many years and was primarily responsible for its growing success. OFFICERS RE-ELECTED: Chairman David Humpage; Deputy chairman & 2nd XI Results secretary Brian Boys; Secretary Geoff Wellsteed; Treasurer Matt Beckley; Competition & Press secretary Mike Talbot-Butler; 1st XI results secretary Wyn Talbot-Butler; 3rd XI results secretaries Ian Sharrock and Peter Lawson; Assistant secretary & Registration secretary Tony Morris; Cricket committee (in two-year rotation): Paul Sperring and Jon O’Donnell. JANUARY NEWSLETTER: 2 Pyramid structure changes planned LEAGUE chairman David Humpage told the January management about a meeting which had taken place with the TACS Cheshire League and Cheshire Alliance to discuss a possible revision of the Cheshire Pyramid Structure from 2016. Together with Deputy chairman Brian Boys and Duncan Anderson, he had met representatives of the two other leagues to consider possible changes in the light of the 2014 ECB Players Survey. The main item discussed was that the future of 2nd XI cricket need not need follow their 1st XIs moving between leagues. The advent of computerised fixtures meant that the two teams could be accommodated in separate leagues. This would eliminate undesirable instances of successful 2nd XIs being relegated because their 1st XI had been. There had been recent examples in the County League involving Brooklands, Upton and Heaton Mersey, the latter having their 2nd XI gain promotion in 2014 while the 1st XI had been demoted from the league. Conversely it would mean that weak 2nd XIs would not have to be promoted into a league above their standard. All three sets of representatives were in favour of this change. If the above was to be adopted it would mean 2nd XIs (or reserve teams) having their own (regionalised at the lower end) pyramid, which led to the second proposal. Third XI merger There was agreement in principal to consider merging the Saturday 3rd XI leagues into the reserve pyramid detailed above. The intention is to hold a meeting of Saturday 3rd XI clubs to discuss this in detail and find out if they approve of the concept and wish the plans to be taken further. The obvious advantage is that it would give the best 3rd XIs the opportunity to achieve promotion up the reserve team structure, possibly into the TACS League. He added: “Players have got to be convinced this is the way to go. It seems right that 3rd and 4th XI cricketers should aspire to reach at least the level of the TACS League”. The suggested plans maintain the current structure for County League 1st XI cricket. The Cricket Committee will debate these proposals in detail at their March meeting and draw up specific proposals to put before the April management committee, hopefully for approval in time for the 2016 season. New Associates NEW associate members admitted to the League for 2015 are Knutsford, Wilmslow and Wilmslow Wayfarers, with Tranmere Vics rejoining the Junior section. Junior section chairman Mike Carswell said there would be seven separate age groups operating in 2015 with an estimated 2,000 boys and girls engaged each week NEW RULES APPROVED PROPOSALS approved at the AGM and January management included the following: O Removal of reference to Cheshire County Cricket Club having a vote on management matters. O County contracted players status to apply only to England qualified players O When a team or club leaves the league mid-season they will be handled as follows: Where the number of League games played is less than the number remaining, their record shall be expunged with all points earned by other teams deleted. Where the number of games played is equal or greater than the number remaining all future games will be treated as 25-0 wins for their opponents. O Teams guilty of persistent maladministration may be subject to points penalties at the discretion of the Cricket Committee. This will only be enforced after repeated warnings and a significant number of failures to comply. The first instance within a season will incur a 5 points penalty, but subsequent offences can incur penalties up to 20 points. O New Home-Grown Contracted player category. Any player who has been at the same club continuously since age 15 shall not be counted as a Contracted player for that club if the player is given s professional county contract. Any such player shall be registered as a Home Grown Contracted player. The player must have played in at least 11 senior league games for the club each season since he qualified for Under 15 cricket. O When a match is reduced to less than 80 overs, both sides are guaranteed to receive at least the equivalent points awarded for an abandoned match. When a team batting second in a reduced overs drawn game receives 10 overs or more less than their opponents, they are guaranteed to receive at least the equivalent number of points as awarded for an abandoned match JANUARY NEWSLETTER: 3 The following proposals were defeated: O Starting times in the ECB Premier League to be brought forward from 12.30 to 12 noon and for all other 1st, 2nd and 3rd XI Saturday games from 1 p.m. to 12.30 p.m. This motion gained a majority vote, but not two thirds as required by rule.. O Fines to be increased from £15 to £20. O School Year 7 pupils be not admitted to play in the League unless they had appeared in County Under 12 cricket.. A complete list of all proposals approved at the two meetings, with full wording, will be distributed by League secretary Geoff Wellsteed NatWest Club T20 plans for 2015 THE League have formally re-entered the NatWest Club Nationwide T20 in 2015, the competition won by Chester Boughton Hall last season. The NatWest (pink balls; no overseas players) T20 will follow the League’s own RedInsure T20 Finals to be staged at Upton on Sunday, July 26. The winners there go through to represent the League in one of eight Area Finals Days on Sunday, August 2 (clashing with Cheshire v Berkshire Minor Counties fixture at Alderley Edge) which will be staged on the ground of the North Staffs & South Cheshire League winners. FULL DRAW (home leagues shown in bold type) NS&SCL v Cheshire County League; North Wales Premier v Birmingham and District Premier. The winners then play-off. The other seven groups to be played the same day are as follows with the first named at home and in bold type: Central Lancashire League v Liverpool Competition; Northern Premier v Bolton League. Bradford v South Yorkshire; Lincolnshire Premier v Derbyshire Premier. North Yorkshire & South Durham Premier v North East Premier; Central Yorkshire v Yorkshire Premier. Middlesex County v Hertfordshire; Essex Premier v Home Counties Premier. Northants v Leicestershire Premier; Notts Premier v East Anglia Premier Cornwall v Devon; West of England Premier v South Wales Premier. Surrey Championship v Southern Premier; Kent v Sussex. The 16 area winners then go forward to play in the Regional Finals on Sunday, August 16 (again clashing with Cheshire v Herefordshire at Chester). If the County League win their Area final they will be at home to the Central Lancs group. The four emerging winners then qualify for National Finals Day on Tuesday, September 1 to be staged on a first class county ground yet to be chosen, probably in the midlands for convenience. Compared to the 2014 entry, when Chester Boughton Hall beat Ashford of the Surrey Championship in the final at Northampton, the Ribblesdale League have dropped out and been replaced by Hertfordshire.. Sky tv, who disappointed the ECB last year when they scrapped live coverage in order to televise the Lancashire v Middlesex county match at Old Trafford, have given an assurance that the club finals will this time be televised live, hence the earlier date. . REDINSURE T20 The League’s own RedInsure T20 competition begins at the group stages on Thursday, May 14. Clubs are reminded that they must notify the Competition Secretary of any mutually agreed changes to the published group fixture dates by Thursday, May 7. JANUARY NEWSLETTER: 4 Down to 8 clubs in National ko THE League will be represented by only eight clubs – the smallest entry on record – in the ECB’s Royal London National Club championship - in 2015. Compared to last season, Marple drop out. The decline is undoubtedly due to the increasing difficulty clubs are having in raising two full strength teams at weekends and also to losing their top players to Cheshire’s ever-increasing Minor Counties programme. Bowdon were the best performers in 2014, reaching round 6 before losing to Chorley. ROUND 1 DRAW (Sunday, April 26): Group 5: URMSTON v Ainsdale; HYDE v Clifton Dukinfield v Prestwich; Westhoughton v Tonge; Highfield v ALDERLEY EDGE; BRAMHALL v Maghull; BOWDON bye, then at home to winners of Littlebrough v Leigh. Group 6: New Brighton v Longton; Northern bye; NANTWICH v Caldy; Formby v Colwyn Bay; CHESTER BOUGHTON HALL bye, then at home to Knypersley or Sefton Park; Bootle v Wallasey; NESTON v Ormskirk. Round 2 in on May 10; round 3 on May 31; round 4 on June 21. Grappenhall to stage first county match GRAPPENHALL’s fine Broad Lane ground is to stage its first Dukes (formerly Minor) County championship match from Sunday – Tuesday, July 5 – 7, with Dorset the visitors. Cheshire’s amended list of Sunday – Tuesday three-day games under the new captaincy of Hyde’s Danny Woods is as follows: Sunday June 7 – 9: Shropshire at Whitchurch Sunday, June 21 23: Wales at Newport Sunday, July 5 – 7 Dorset at Grappenhall Sunday, July 19 – 21 Cornwall at St. Austell Sunday, August 2 – 4 Berkshire at Alderley Edge Sunday, August 16 – 18 Herefordshire at Chester Boughton Hall Sunday – Wednesday, September 6 – 9: Inter zone play-off on ground of Eastern champions As previously published, Cheshire’s home games in the Unicorns Knock-out trophy are against Shropshire at Nantwich on Sunday, April 26 and Northumberland at Hyde on Sunday, May 17. Should they win their group Cheshire will stage a home quarter-final at Alderley Edge on Sunday, June 14. Also as published earlier, Cheshire will be taking part in a new Unicorns T20 tournament in 2015 in a group alongside Shropshire, Cumberland at Northumberland to be staged at at Chester on Sunday, May 31. The final is at Banbury on Sunday, July 12. JANUARY NEWSLETTER: 5 ASHLEY GILES TO SPEAK AT DINNER FORMER Warwickshire and England spinner Ashley Giles, who was awarded the MBE with his team mates after the 2005 Ashes Test triumph against Australia, will be guest speaker at the League Presentation Dinner at Mere on Friday, October 2. Ashley, who is 42 in March and stands 6 ft. 4 ins. tall, missed out to Steve Moores for the England coaching job last September, but was then appointed Director of Cricket and Chief Coach by Lancashire, whom he will be attempting to steer out of the County championship Second Division next summer.. Surrey-born, Giles played in 54 Tests and 62 ODIs from 1998 to 2006 when he was forced to retire with a hip injury. His 100th Test wicket was that of West Indian Brian Lara at Lord’s in 2000. The spinner’s testimonial committee produced the notorious misprinted ‘King of Spain’ tea mugs in 2000 and many football fans will know that he has been a life-long QPR fan. Ashley lives at Droitwich, who made him an Honorary Citizen in 2006, with his Norwegian wife Stine and two children. Cheshire Over 50s’ fixtures CHESHIRE’s fixtures have been announced for their bid to regain the National Over 50s county championship in 2015. Secretary-manager Paul Freedman laments that the two-day double header away to Durham and Northumberland has been broken up, but has plans to surmount this for his eager tourists. The programme is as follows (all Wednesday dates): May 6: Shropshire at Grappenhall (friendly for annual CAT Trophy) May 13: Yorkshire at Neston; May 20: Derbyshire at Alvaston & Boulton; May 27: Cumbria at Alderley Edge June 3: open date June 10: Northumberland away June 17: Lancashire at Widnes; June 24: open date July 1: Nottinghamshire away July 8: Durham away. Provisional dates for the knock-out rounds (all Sundays): Last 16: July 26; Quarter-finals: August 9 Semi-finals: August 23 Final: September 6 provisional. Not forgetting the ‘Wrinklies’ … CHESHIRE Over 60s – or ‘the Wrinklies’ as so described by skipper Chris Lees – will have the following 12-match programme in the 2015 National championship (all Tuesday dates): April 28: Lancashire away May 5: Shropshire home May 12: Yorkshire away May 19: Durham home May 26: Lincolnshire away June 2: open date June 9: Derbyshire away June 16: Lancashire home June 23: Yorkshire home June 30: Durham away July 7: Lincolnshire home July 14: open date July 21: Derbyshire away July 28: Shropshire at Frankton. JANUARY NEWSLETTER: 6 Third XI divisions re-jigged after Middlewich quit MIDDLEWICH have quit the Third XI premier division, causing a fixture list re-shuffle The upshot is that Bramhall’s relegation is rescinded and they will continue in the Premier division to replace Middlewich. There will be 58 teams in six divisions which include new North/West and South/Central sections. The revised line-ups as notified by Peter Lawson are as follows (with new teams in bold type): PREMIER DIVISION (10 teams): Bramhall, Cheadle, Didsbury, Grappenhall, Hyde, Marple, Northwich, Stockport, Toft, Urmston. EAST DIVISION 1 (10 teams): Ashley, Bowdon, Cheadle 4, Didsbury 4, Hale Barns, Heaton Mersey, Marple 4, Romiley, Sale, Stockport Georgians EAST DIVISION 2 (10 teams): Ashton on Mersey, Bollington, Bramall 4, Bredbury St. Mark’s, Brooklands, Hyde 4, Timperley, Trafford MV, Woodford, Woodley EAST DIVISION 3 (9 teams): Ashley 4, Bowdon Vale, Cheadle Hulme, Cheadle Hulme Ladybridge, Bredbury St. Mark’s 4, Heaton Mersey 4, Macclesfield, Stockport Trinity, Urmston 4. NORTH/WEST DIVISION (9 teams): Alvanley, Chester Boughton Hall, Neston, New Brighton, Oxton, Runcorn, Tattenhall, Warrington, Winnington Park SOUTH/CENTRAL Division (10 teams): Alderley Edge, Alvanley 4, Haslington, Elworth, Knutsford, Nantwich, Prestbury, Sandbach, Wilmslow, Wistaston Teams who have dropped out are Christleton, Congleton, Middlewich and Widnes. The revised fixtures were scheduled to be posted on the League website over the weekend January 24 – 25. O Ian Sharrock will run the Premier, North/West and Central/South divisions and Peter Lawson the three Eastern groups. OLD TRAFFORD PRO CONTRACT FOR PARKINSON URMSTON leg-spinner Matthew Parkinson, 17, has been given a full professional contract by Lancashire for 2015 following his successes with the county’s 2nd XI and age group teams, for Staffordshire and his club last summer. Matthew took 58 wickets in the Premier League, but failed to save Urmston from relegation. Toft’s Rob Jones has been upgraded from the Academy to a Scholarship contract and is currently playing grade cricket in Melbourne. Rob played for England Under 19 last season. Newly-drafted into the Academy is another Urmston youngster, Calum Turner, 18, a left hand opening batsman who scored 638 Premiership runs in 2014. Toft’s James Drummond is retained for a third year at the Old Trafford Academy. England programme in summer of 2015 FOR those who enjoy following England, below are the bare details of the 20 confirmed fixtures for the summer of 2015: ONE FRIENDLY v Ireland: Malahide: May 8. TWO TESTS v New Zealand: Lord’s: starts on May 21; Headingley: starts on May 29 FIVE ODIs v New Zealand: Edgbaston: June 9; Oval: June 12; Southampton: June 14; Trent Bridge: June 17; Durham: June 20 ONE T20 v New Zealand: Old Trafford: June 23 (floodlit); FIVE TESTS v Australia: Cardiff: starts July 8; Lord’s: July 16; Edgbaston: July 29; Trent Bridge: August 6; Oval: August 20. ONE T20 v Australia: Cardiff: August 31 FIVE ODIs v Australia: Southampton: September 3; Lord’s on September 5; Old Trafford on September 8; Headingley on September 11; back at Old Trafford: on September 13 JANUARY NEWSLETTER: 7 CLUB NEWS FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE (not in alphabetical order) HYDE ONE of the best spin bowlers in Minor Counties cricket, Old Boy Danny Woods boosts the Premiership champions at Werneth Low by returning to his former club and will lead the Cheshire county side while remaining a teacher based in Yorkshire,. Paul Chorlton continues as the driving force chairman, but secretary Eileen Bowden has stepped down and has yet to be replaced. Martyn Coyne replaces Steve White i/c the 2nd XI. Clubman John Lofthouse is currently missing the foul UK weather and acquiring a tan watching a Match of the Day throughout his annual January football sojourn in the Algarve. ALDERLEY EDGE AFTER spells in the Birminghan & District Premier League with Barnt Green and at Neston, former Cheshire all-rounder Richard Wilkinson returns to boost the Alderley Edge ranks in 2015. Wicket-keeper/batsman Adam Worrall takes over the 1st XI captaincy from Alan Day, with Jon Usher leading the twos. ALVANLEY AFTER the much improved results attained in 2014, Chris Charles continues as 1st XI captain. Dave Jones takes over the 2nd XI with Mike Roberts continuing to lead Third XI affairs. John Alberquerque steps up to take charge of the 4th XI MAJOR CHANGES AT WEAVERHAM NEWLY-promoted to Division One, the Wallerscote Road club reveal wholesale changes, although they are delighted to have Antiguan all-rounder Wilden Cornwall back for a third season. Tony Woods takes over from former Northwich Vics chairman Rod Stitch in the chair, with Helen Butler becoming secretary, allowing Jon Llghtfoot to run the junior section. Mark Emmerson succeeds Neil Tirley as treasurer. On the field, Stuart Hayes stands down in favour of Ian Eaton as 1st XI captain as he is still nursing a serious hand injury suffered last summer. Doug Pennington will lead the twos in succession to Rob Harrison. Weaverham have ordered two new sight-screens and have launched a project to replace their outdoor nets. MOBBERLEY BACK in the League after a three-year absence, Mobberley have a strong administrative line-up with Rick Mountney in the chair and Tom Boyle secretary. After winning the TACS Cheshire League title by 15 points in 2014, Mobberley make a change in 1st XI captaincy with Will Beresford-Ince taking over from Phil Burrell while Jimmy Litherland continues to skipper the twos. David Potts will lead the Forties. NESTON AN informative midwinter Newsletter circulated by Mark Garrett reveals that Brad Donelan has been appointed Head Coach with Andy Crick, Don Hurst and Bern Thorpe providing support as the 1st XI aim to avoid a repeat of the poor start to the 2014 season. David Hurst continues as 1st XI captain and with his dad Don as Team manager, while Mark Garrett leads the 2nd XI. New 3rd and 4th XI captains were to be appointed at the AGM on January 9. The pre-season dinner in the pavilion’s Cranston Suite on Friday, March 6 will be addressed by former England and Hampshire spinner Shaun Udal. Tickets at £25 can be reserved by contacting any senior officer. The overseas player is to be Pakistani opening batsman Ovais Youssuf, who scored 981 runs in 2014 at an average of 65 playing for Walsall-based Aldridge in the Staffordshire League. Also incoming will be Oxton duo Simon Stokes and wicket-keeper Marc Debrabender and Byron Cooper (ex-Caldy). Leaving are Jack Smith (coach at Irby), Richard Wilkinson (Alderley Edge), Dane Williams (Formby) and Alan Millington (Brooklands). Fine servant Chris Finegan is again available. Willaston Physio and Sports Rehab continue as one of the club’s main sponsors. JANUARY NEWSLETTER: 8 More club news .. GRAPPENHALL AMBITIOUS work is to go ahead on the complete replacement of the playing area turf at Broad Lane in September following a £39,000 grant. The club’s partners Sport England are coordinating the scheme. Wicket-keeper Liam Parkinson, who played regular Minor Counties cricket for Cumberland last season, takes over from Richard Green as 1st XI captain CHESTER BOUGHTON HALL ALEX KEGG has been lured back to Filkins Lane as groundsman and will - naturally- carry on playing. Jim Gillson and Jon Legry continue their successful association as chairman and secretary respectively, while Lee Dixon, Dan Riley and Dave Fisher remain 1st, 2nd and 3rd XI captains. Steve Henshaw takes over the fourths and the new Sunday Academy side will be led by David Atkin. Chris Fleet has yet to be confirmed as Forties skipper. Top arrival on the field is the outstanding Oulton Park and Cheshire batsman Rick Moore. IRBY FORMER Neston captain Jack Smith becomes non-playing Head of Player Development to spearhead an ambitious programme devised by the Wirral club who are determined to throw off their reputation as Division 2 strugglers. He will work closely with skipper Martyn Smith and his 1st XI squad and with junior cricketers. Jack, who runs his own Sports Psychology Consultancy, is a former Canberra grade cricketer in Australia who played regularly for Neston from 2007-2013 and now lives at Irby with his wife and family. TATTERS SKIPPER STANDS DOWN NEWLY-promoted to Division One, Tattenhall will be obliged to appoint a new 1st XI captain to replace Robin Mulvihill who is recovering from cancer treatment. He remains club captain and hopes to play some 2nd XI cricket. Successful New Zealand all-rounder Dan Power is to be registered as their overseas player for a third season. Joining the senior squad under re-elected skipper Robin Mulvihill is Malpas fast bowler Phil Johnson, but 2nd XI batsman Matthew Spann has emigrated to live in Western Australia. Re-elected chairman Alex Sandland is to captain the 3rd XI. CHEADLE MEMBERS attending the AGM expressed their satisfaction at the club’s promotion to the ECB Premier League by re-electing all senior officers and team captains. Thus Tony Brady continues as chairman, Alison Ives as secretary and the League’s Junior section chairman Mike Carswell as treasurer, while the captains from 1st to 4th XI will again be Paul Sperring, Aaron Wall, Simon Orton and Ricard Browne, with Ian Hall continuing to lead the Forties. BRAMHALL NO major changes at Bramhall with Nick Cantello vowing to take the 1st XI further up the Premiership table after another winter watching his beloved Stockport County under achieve. .New 2nd and 3rd XI leaders are Jack Harris and Dave Bridgeman respectively Ian Millington and Andy Reynolds continue as the club’s chairman and secretary respectively while groundsman Rick Cragg promises that the tracks at Church Lane will be better than ever MIDDLEWICH ALEX GILL takes over the 2nd XI captaincy from Andy Tutt, with Nick Gill continuing to lead the 1sT XI. There will be no 3rd XI cricket at Seddon Street in 2015. JANUARY NEWSLETTER: 9 More club news … TOFT THE annual club report presented by chairman Nigel Muirhead at the Toft AGM was full of glad tidings. He outlined a healthy financial situation thanks partially to £30K mustered in one-off fund-raising. Close season plans include developing a BBQ area, a new kitchen/bar and a Michael Vaughan Social Evening. It is also hoped to sign a new 30-year lease which will provide the background for a plan to construct a new pavilion within the next five years. The Chairman and archivist Jeff Tenner have produced a splendid colour report of 2014 activities both on and off the field. MARPLE WORK expected to last 16 weeks is well under way on ambitious modification plans at Bowden Lane. Marple are spending an estimated £290,000 on new players’ changing-rooms with a separate entrance; a relocated kitchen and extended bar area. A new scoreboard has been designed and may be moved to a new location. Mark Bennett continues as captain, with George Clark taking over the twos. Chris Lees remains in the chair, but with a new secretary in Dave Tomlinson. . BOLLINGTON SOON BACK BOLLINGTON are back in the fray after an absence of only 12 months after finishing runners-up in the TACS League with a largely unchanged administration on and off the field. Rob Murdoch continues as chairman and Rick Paterson secretary. The three team captains will be Rick Hough, Joe Buckler and Callum Madden with Ged McKernan - who else? – continuing to lead the Vets. TIMPERLEY NEW captain is Craig Grindley who succeeds the retired Steve Bramhall. Craig’s brother Ian Grindley returns after a 12 months ‘retirement’ New Zealand all-rounder Matt Macquet is to be replaced by prolific Nelson opening batsman Daniel Cooper. Cumbria fast bowler Curtley-Jack White is another notable close season signing and will open the attack with Chris Page. White, 23, made his Minor Counties debut for Cumberland in 2013 and has played most of his club cricket at Kendal. Mark Maddocks will captain the Over 40. Former Arsenal footballer Paul Merson is guest speaker at the Sportsman’s Evening on February 3 with tickets available from chairman Adam Horan at £35. The already excellent second ground will be improved by the acquisition of double sight-screens purchased from the now defunct Burnage CC and an electronic scorebox. UPTON NO great upsets to report from this corner of the Wirral, although Jaz Lamb takes over as chairman from Graeme McGowan. Rob Chapman continues as secretary and Andy Roberts as 1st XI captain. Work on the smart new tearoom has continued and the facility will be fully operable from April. BROOKLANDS A WONDERFUL send-off by his family, former club mates and friends was given to Bill Brown at the funeral of the League’s oldest player on Tuesday, January 6. His death was briefly reported in the December Newsletter A long-serving wicket-keeper, umpire and general factotum at Georges Road, Bill died two days after his 84th birthday on December 13. A South-West Manchester and Cheadle Hulme player before joining Brooklands in 1979, Bill was a craft teacher by profession and was responsible for many items around the ground at Georges Road, performing miracles on their repair and upkeep which will make him sorely missed. . He played one game for his revered Over 40s last season and umpired in 2nd XI cricket. His closest friend Jim Harper presented a fine eulogy at Bill’s Memorial service with many amusing stories about his life and times. Now down in Division Two, long-serving chairman Jeff Marland and 1st XI captain Dave Madden continue to hold the reins, with Ben Atkinson taking over the 2nd XI leadership. JANUARY NEWSLETTER: 10 More club news … DAVENHAM DRESSING-rooms for players and umpires and female toilets are being improved with a disabled toilet installed. following intense winter work at Butcher’s Stile . A second phase of a much-needed outfield drainage scheme has been completed and new canvasses bought for the pitch covers. A £1,000 grant from builders Bloor Homes is being used to modify the practice net area and a section of the narrow driveway leading into the Butcher’s Stile ground is being widened. DIDSBURY AFTER narrowly missing out on promotion back to the Premier League, Didsbury have indicated their confidence in doing so in 2015 by re-electing outstanding all-rounder Nick Anderson as 1st XI captain Shabbaz Quasim becomes the new 2nd XI leader. Duncan Anderson continues in the chairman and Dave Ashworth as secretary. WARRINGTON WARRINGTON are to replace Aussie fast bowler Kyle Adams by registering fellow Melbourne paceman Nathan Green from the Victoria Premier League. He will have to go some to do better than the popular Adams whose remarkable three-season return in 2012 / 2013 / 2014 was 87, 93 and 76 wickets respectively – total 256. Adam Green, a left-hand batsman from Toft will also be playing at Walton Lea . The building extension work which includes new dressing-rooms and as viewing balcony, will be completed during the winter. A party of players including skipper Richard Heaney, vice captain Liam Heaphy and chairman Gary Musker will attempt the Yorkshire Three-Peaks Challenge in March. This consists of a walking/climbing Pen-y-Ghent, Whearnside and Ingleborough in under 12 hours. Their aim is to raise funds for the Cricket section. NANTWICH ROB SPROSTON has stepped down as chairman after a successful 14 year term in office which includes the secretaryship. New chairman is Wayne Morgan with Andy Newton as his deputy. Rob Sproston will continue to organise the Presentation Dinner. CHRISTLETON PAVILION RESTORED RESTORATION work on the section of pavilion badly damaged by fire last season, has been completed with the aid of £25,000 insurance money. After a busy winter’s work, Mike Hollindale continues as chairman as does secretary Jacqui Gittins. Mike Gaynor, who takes over from Iro de Silva as 1st XI captain, will not be able to call on long-serving fast bowler Matt Parkinson who has retired. Russ Crowley leads the twos. .Christleton have withdrawn their 3rd XI from the League and plan to play Sunday friendlies with an emphasis on fund-raising home matches. SALE AFTER having more than one captain in 2014 – starting with Keith Wellings – wicket-classy keeper Chris Canning takes over the reins . Paul Battersby continues as chairman and Ian Dixon as secretary. OXTON SUCCEEDING Mark Cashin as chairman is John Fennah, while Andy Gibson becomes 1st XI captain to replace the departing Simon Stokes. Remaining captains elected are Ian Gauntlett (2nd XI), Dave Perry (3rd XI), John Mitchell (4th XI and Over 40s) and Dave Grisenthwaite (Sunday XI). Phil Mathias continues as secretary CONGLETON GUY BAXENDALE will continue the dual role of chairman and 2nd XI captain at Congleton, who will be running only two teams in 2015. Remaining in office are 1st XI captain Paul Beaumont and secretary Alex French. JANUARY NEWSLETTER: 11 More club news … OULTON PARK OULTON Park have lost one of Mid-Cheshire’s most talented batsmen following the decision of left-hander Lou Bentley to emigrate to Australia. Locally-raised Lou, whose father is Davenham groundsman Martin Bentley, formerly played for Lancashire 2nd and Cheshire. One of his closest pals, former Cheshire wicket-keeper Jonny Kettle moved Down Under 12 months ago. Cheshire wicket-keeper Pat Roberts succeeds Chester-bound Rick Moore as 1st XI captain with Mark Johnson leading the twos. Park plan to announce a major signing shortly. When they do, Newsletter will be reporting it. MACCLESFIELD TOM PARFETT has been elected as 1st XI captain in succession to the outstanding Aussie Nick Ross, who will not be returning for a third season. Dave Cowan continues to lead the twos. The club plan to relocate their net practice area and improvements to the giant scorebox are also on agenda of a working committee led by re-elected chairman Simon Griffiths. BREDBURY ST. MARK’S DAVID DOWNES steps down as chairman to help his recovery from a hip replacement operation. ECB coach Steve Amison takes over, with Graham Barlow, Geoff Mountford and Paul Wilkinson continuing as 1st, 3rd and 4th XI captains respectively, Chris Bailey succeeds long-serving Daren Evans in charge of 2nd XI affairs. NORTHWICH’S STUART PLANT IN OZ ALL-ROUND sportsman Stuart Plant has flown out to Australia to keep goal fort Singleton Strikers in the New South Wales League. The former Crewe Alex and Witton Albion player, who is 19 and stands 6 ft. 2 ins., expects to be back for the new cricket season at Moss Farm. The League’s webmaster, Darren Sutcliffe, has been re-elected chairman WIDNES THE Beaconsfield Road club will be operating in Division 2 for the first time since they entered the League in 1993 – and with only two teams after switching their 3rd XI to the Liverpool Competition for geographical reasons. All officers have been re-elected, principally Peter Hewitt chairman; Mark Hignett secretary; Andy Woods treasurer; Sean Moore 1st XI captain; Tim Wearden 2nd XI captain. POYNTON AFTER 33 consecutive seasons in the County League, relegated Poynton’s determination to return was expressed through the medium of Martin Saxon’s Dazzler Newsletter. At the presentation evening, Jimmy Williams and Paul Bowler won the 1st and 2nd XI Player of the Year awards and were also named Clubman of the Year and Best All-rounder, respectively. Tom Berzins won an award as the scorer of Poynton’s first double century. Peter Heath has been elected chairman and head coach, with Brian Kingham taking on the key role of chairman of fund-raising and sponsorship. BK asserts that when the club return to a viable financial situation and ensure their Clubmark accreditation they will surely return to the top of the pyramid. With the 3rd XI disbanded, only the Over 40s Legends will represent Poynton in the League in 2015, led by BK who plans to make himself available for Cheshire Fifties. Clubs are invited to up-date their news for the March edition JANUARY NEWSLETTER: 12 League Umpires’ AGM highlights PANEL members at the annual meeting of the League Umpires & Scorers Association at Toft on November 12 heard that their attendance at a refresher course every three years was to be made mandatory. Secretary Glyn Roberts reported on other items considered by the committee during the year, which included: O General meetings would aim to include discussion on at least one major Law; O Different venues for meetings across the county; O A revised system to be used in 2015 by Captains for marking umpires’ performances, based on the one currently operated in the Liverpool Competition;. O Possible sponsorship of umpires; O Post match meetings between umpires and captains to be encouraged; The annual £5 subscription was frozen thanks to a healthy current balance of £784 (£759 in 2013). All officers were re-elected: Chairman Ian Greensmth; Secretary Glyn Roberts; Treasurer Bob Abel; Appointments secretary Jon Hacking; Umpires marks co ordinator Ken Spilsbury; Fairplay co ordinator John Lofthouse; committee members Alistair Davies, Rick Davis, John Lowe, Geoff Wellsteed. After chairman Greensmith indicated that new blood was needed to run the Association, Gary Hambleton suggested that the Constitution might be amended to incorporate time limitations on some posts. Geoff Wellsteed said that Fearnley, the official ECB ACO supplier, had been in contact regarding the possible inclusion of the Cheshire crest on umpires’ jackets and shirts at a relatively minor charge. The committee would consider. CCU&SA AGM date: THE annual meeting of the Cheshire County Umpires & Scorers Association is at Davenham Cricket Club on Monday, Ferbruary 23, at 8 p.m. Umpires’ courses @ Oakmere CHESHIRE Cricket Umpires & Scorers Association have arranged two courses based at Oakmere Cricket Club. An ECB ACO Level 1 course over two days costing £40 is planned for Saturdays, February 14 and 21 from 9.30 a.m. to 4.45 p.m. This is aimed at men and women wanting to take up umpiring who may be considering retiring from playing the game, or anyone else wishing to learn the fundamentals up to Level 1. Also on offer is a Level 1A course costing £35 on Sundays, March 1 and March 8 from 9.30 a.m. to 4.45 p.m. This is open to anyone who has passed the Level 1 and wishes to advance his or her qualification. Both courses are being organised by Geoff Young: 01352 755 881 (mobile) or [email protected] (e-mail). WIRRAL COURSE. A Level 1 course aimed at candidates from the West of the county and Wirral is to be held at Birkenhead School starting on Thursday, January 29. Contact Mark Turner tel. 07590 027 394 (mobile) or [email protected] MINOR COUNTIES PANEL: The League’s Alistair Davies has been reinstated on the ECB umpires’ D list. This renders him eligible to umpire in Minor Counties (Unicorns) games, the 2nd XI county championship and ECB Club and T20 national finals. Alistair has agreed to re-start the weekly Umpires Quiz feature in next season’s weekly Newsletter. Vale Royal Indoor League ALVANLEY, Kingsley, Weaverham and Winnington Park shared the lead at the half-way mark in the Vale Indoor League based at St. Nicholas RC High School, Northwich. The season began on October 4 and was due to resume on January 5 after a Christmas break. Tattenhall resigned after the season started and their record has been expunged. Crewe were also among original entrants, but withdrew. Half-way table was as follows: P W L Pts. Alvanley 7 5 2 15 Winnington Park 8 5 3 15 Oulton Park 7 4 3 12 Davenham 8 4 4 12 Winsford 4 0 4 0 Christleton 7 0 7 -1 JANUARY NEWSLETTER: 13 OBITUARIES Harry Taylor CHEADLE’s highly-regarded young cricketer Harry Taylor died aged 22 in tragic circumstances on November 13, 2014. A good high-order batsman and seam bowler with latent coaching talent, Harry played for all the junior age group teams at Cheadle and Cheadle Hulme School. At Kingsway, he played principally for the 2nd and 3rd XIs and seemed destined for many years of enjoyable cricket. A packed Memorial Service was held at Trinity Church, Cheadle, on January 10. Harold Nancollis THE death occurred of Harold Nancollis, one of the League’s original 1975 trophy donors, on January 1 aged 94. Harold, who lived in Northwich for many years, was technical director of Foden’s Motor Works at Sandbach and the handsome silver trophies he agreed to donate were for the 1st and 2nd XI champions and are still awarded annually Harold was a keen sports follower being a life member of Lancashire CCC and a former director of Witton Albion Football Club. In recent years he had been looked after at Sandiway Lodge Nursing Home and died peacefully in the early hours of this year. He attended many Presentation Dinners as the League’s guest and was once kind enough to send a magnificent bouquet of red roses on the occasion of the TBs silver wedding anniversary in 1982, a gesture which remain in the memory. His funeral service was at Northwich Parish Church on January 13 Stanley Houghton A HUGELY popular man at Grappenhall who served as President in 19678, Stan Houghton died in late December aged 95. Stan joined Grappenhall to support his son Richard through the junior ranks and remained to become a key member of the general committee, bringing in many sponsors through his business contacts in the area. He was a partner in Houghton’s main Renault Dealers in Warrington. He launched the 200 Club at Broad Lane and inaugurated the annual Sportsman’s Dinner which resulted in large sums being raised to help to improve facilities at the club. Peter Long A FORMER 1st XI cricketer at Chester Boughton Hall, Peter Long died on October 30 at Ashwell in Hertfordshire. Peter played regularly for Boughton Hall in the Liverpool Competition from 1970 – 74 and was a member of the team which won the Cheshire Cup in 1974. When he moved to work and live in the midlands he played for Coventry & North Warwick in the Birmingham League. After settling down in his retirement in Hertfordshire, he became chairman of Ashwell Parish Council. Geoff Pullar TOFT members with long memories have mourned the death on Christmas Day of former Lancashire and England batsman Geoff Pullar, aged 79. After his retirement from the game, Geoff lived in Knutsford, running a sandwich shop, then worked as an executive car driver. He became a non-playing member at Toft and coached senior and junior players in the 1980s. Geoff played for Lancashire from 1954-69, before spending two seasons at Gloucestershire. He made 28 appearances for England and in 1959 became the first Lancastrian to score a Test century at Old Trafford, against India. Nigel Peel & Gerry Hardstaff updates FORMER Bowdon and Cheshire fast bowler Nigel Peel informs Newsletter that he has finished a course of radio and chemotherapy treatment on the brain tumour he developed in 2013. He is now undertaking a second course with stronger sideeffects. An MRI scan showed that the tumour is being held at bay, but with a 12 months survival prognosis. Writes Nigel: “I am content for you to let people know how I am getting on. I am determined to visit some Cheshire grounds in 2015 and hope we can meet up”. Nigel can be contacted at: [email protected] FORMER Cheshire County club chairman and leading batsman Gerry Hardstaff is back at his Sandbach home after extensive treatment for cancer at Leighton Hospital. Gerry mails: “I’ve had surgery, but no cure.” Contact: [email protected] JANUARY NEWSLETTER: 14 TOBY HAS VIVID MEMORIES OF BOTSWANA TOUR HERE is the promised account by Toft skipper Toby Drummond of the MCC Tour to Botswana he led as captain last October: ”After a long season of club cricket, 15 relative strangers (13 players, an umpire and a team manager), with one common interest met up in the away dressing-room at Lord’s in late September. This was for kit distribution, a treat in its own right, before we boarded the coach to Heathrow - Destination: Gaborone, Botswana, Central Africa. There is always something special about arriving at an airport, especially when one is dressed in matching blazers and egg and bacon ties off to play cricket in a foreign country. Unsurprisingly, we attracted some attention and a few remarks! However, with six matches planned starting with a T20 under lights, followed rapidly by three 50 overs games in four days, this was no holiday I can assure readers. It is seven years since the last MCC tour to Botswana and we knew little about the country or our opposition apart from the facts that they had an ICC World ranking of 39 and were based in the capital city of Gaborone. Gaborone Cricket Club was well run by a precious handful of volunteers with a strong Asian influence, mostly Sri Lankan and Indian ex-pats. This was also reflected in the National team which had a strong mix of Asian and African players, like many of the emerging African countries. MCC has a good track record selecting tour parties with the appropriate skill level, although in the opening games against our hosts’ Under 21s, MCC were far too strong for their young opponents, recording resounding victories in both modes of the game. In matches against the senior team, MCC and Botswana were more evenly matched each winning one of the 50 overs games and one of the two T20s thus levelling the senior series 2-2, with the tour finishing 4-2 in our favour. Away from the matches, several coaching sessions were arranged with MCC providing support for grass roots development programme that has grown from four schools and 300 children in 2007 to 131 schools and nearly 7,000 children today.” ‘We were humbled by the enthusiasm of the children’ Toby continues: “At each session, MCC players were humbled by the attitude and excitement of the youngsters. In a country with a relatively large middle class, poverty and inequality nevertheless remain high. Despite this, the youngsters’ enthusiasm and passion for the game shone through. Their enjoyment of the game is what we all chose to remember, rather than the look of disappointment on the young faces as our mini bus pulled reluctantly away. We had not seen much of the sun-scorched landscape up to now, but what we had come across was a country with stark contrasts in living conditions. The capital Gaborone is a metropolitan city hosting diplomats and professionals from all over the world with five star hotels and restaurants. But in the less well off, out of town areas we visited for coaching, a little had to go an awful long way The legacy of this MCC tour lay firmly at the grass roots and with our time spent coaching in the schools. Far more importantly than the match results, if more schoolchildren can enjoy the game as a result of MCC’s visit, our time in Botswana will have been well worthwhile. Two weeks earlier, we had been 15 relative strangers with one common interest, but as the tour came to an end, we felt a deep feeling of togetherness with memorable days on and off the field. There was great cameraderie and we became a formidable team. In a short space of time close bonds were formed and plans were made for a reunion at Lord’s for the 2015 Ashes: rendezvous the Harris Gardens in July! Finally, I must say what a great honour and privilege it was for me to be invited to captain this tour. I felt very fortunate to have shared this wonderful experience with other members of the group. It was an experience I shall never forget”. O The tourists were not entirely strangers as another player was Alderley Edge’s Jonathan Steel, who was given the task of collecting cricket equipment and clothing to send out to Botswana to meet an urgent need in the schools. After a widespread appeal he collected 50 bags of kit which have since been despatched with the aid of Peak Sports of Stockport, who themselves made a large donation. Among the equipment now being used in Botswana is the entire contents of League secretary Geoff Wellsteed’s redundant cricket bag. NEXT NEWSLETTER: EARLY MARCH Clubs or players with interesting stories, facts, figures, comments etc. are invited to contact the undersigned [email protected] …..JANUARY 27, 2015.
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