Chairman’s Message ahead of AGM

Thame Town Cricket Club will hold the 2020 AGM at the clubhouse on Friday 7th February at 7:30pm.

All are welcome to attend, with the bar set to be open from around 7pm.

If any member wishes to raise a proposal, then please do so by emailing Sally Patey at sallypatey@hotmail.com by 31st January.

Chairman, Matt Swain, has this message ahead of the meeting:

Dear Member,

I am now 4 years into my 5-year term and we had another fantastic season in 2019.

Amongst the cricketing highlights was the promotion of the 1st XI under Mike Beard back to the Premier division following a league winning season. The aim in 2020 will be to stay in the top division of the HCPL and in order to help achieve this we will need to further strengthen our batting line up.

The 2nd and 4th XI both consolidated their positions in Division 3 and Division 9 respectively of the Cherwell league and the 3rd XI were once again promoted and finished top of Division 8 and will compete in Division 7 during 2020. Well done to all the teams.

Our Women’s team, which is 5 years old and was led by Bridget Cooper, has continued to be very popular, membership has grown, and more matches have been played. In 2019 the Women’s team competed in the newly formed Home Counties Women’s League (Oxon, Bucks, Berks, Herts, Beds).

The Junior section grew by 30% which was driven by all age groups plus the third year of ‘All Stars’. We continue to encourage mums, dads, relatives, guardians to help with junior section admin, coaching or match day management. Please contact Sheena Beard if you would like to help.

We now have over 190 junior members and were fully subscribed for our winter indoor junior nets. This makes the future sustainability of the club look very promising and we are already seeing the transition from All Stars into under 9s. During 2019 we focussed on the U15 team which is vital for the development of young adult cricketers. I am delighted to say we had 22 players in the U15 squad of boys and girls and finished 3rd in the Aylesbury league. A further emphasis this season will be on recruiting more foundation level coaches and coaches who can help fine tune some of the technical aspects of the game for both junior and adult members.

We are reviewing our chance to shine programme with the local primary schools in Thame. This initiative has grown participation in cricket in Thame but is only possible with the help of coaches who are available during school hours. I would like to thank Andy Jinman and Angus Lachlan for their dedication to the programme. After 5 years of driving this programme Andy Jinman will be standing down to focus on other matters and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his hard work and time spent helping local boys and girls get into cricket.

During 2019, overall playing membership of the club grew by 20% having grown by 17% the previous season. We now have over 280 playing members compared to 121 in 2014.

I am delighted that our principal sponsors J Bennett & Son and Field Sales Solutions will continue to support the club during 2020.

Unfortunately, we will be saying goodbye to one of our sponsors, Mobalpa. I would like to thank Chris Lindop for all the support he has given us during a period at the club which has seen the most significant development in the club’s history and wish him and his family well for his retirement.

We are in the process of speaking to other local companies to take on this principal sponsor vacancy. If you know any companies who might be interested, please contact Andy Jinman or myself.

One of the main reasons the club has been able to progress at such pace is the support from these companies and all our sponsors. Please help us to thank them by using their services.

Some other highlights of the 2019 season were; the club featuring in the May edition of The Cricketer magazine in an article written about the most beautiful grounds in the country, hosting the Oxfordshire v Cheshire 3 day county match for the first time in over 20 years, construction of the new outdoor nets, a women’s match against national side Oman, a very successful world cup club event and our first ECB level 2 qualified women’s coach, well done Gill Kelleher. Sally Patey was voted in as a Home Counties Premier League committee and it would be amiss of me to not mention Ian McStay taking his 500th league wicket, they don’t make them like they use to!!

As we motor into 2020 the club will continue to focus on making the new clubhouse profitable in order to pay off our loan commitments with any surplus being invested in development activities. Following feedback from members and parents we will invest in a new semi-professional coach during 2020. Shahbaz Meer who was previously coaching and playing in the Essex Premier League will join us to add to our fantastic club coaches and will also bat for the 1st XI. Please join me in welcoming ‘Shabz’ to the club and make him and his family feel at home.

We will continue to develop the U15 age group in order to offer young players an opportunity to play in open age cricket to the highest level.

Following a very successful match for Oxfordshire last season (despite the result) on Sunday 7th June this year we will host Oxfordshire v Cumberland for a 50 over one day match.

Our partnership with Lord Williams Upper School will further develop as we continue to work with them to add to the list of improvements that have already been invested in recent years.

To enable us to keep up with the growth of the club and its many activities we will set up a cricket subcommittee headed by Mike Higgs which will report to the main committee on all cricketing matters. As part of this development we will also appoint a new role of head of women’s cricket to focus on the development and additional resource required to grow this section.

As always, my huge thanks go to the committee, coaches, team managers, umpires, scorers, tea providers and volunteers who continue to work tirelessly for your club to help it become one of the best in the county. Everyone’s hard work is much appreciated.

Thank you for supporting the club and best wishes for 2020

Yours sincerely

Matt Swain – Chair – Thame Town CC

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