The World According To Elliot -A Couple Of Other Thoughts

I have neither the patience nor the will to reply to Mr Shaw and The Secretary in the terms their points deserve, but I do have an angle on this, even if somewhat acute in terms of size and, potentially, obtuse in terms of input.

I totally agree with Mr Shaw’s idea about promotion – I’ve never really understood it in this league, where this is no real fear factor to relegation, just a season of terrible ‘banter’ from some of the teams situated around Glossop. Perhaps the losers should have to do something horribly demeaning for charity or something, if the DCCL is adamant we will not join the pyramid. Anyway, that’s for bigger minds.

My key issues are with the following phrases:

Why does the game lose its appeal as soon as a player leaves junior cricket?

Why have the cup competitions lost their sparkle?

To start with the latter, I don’t think they have. I haven’t had a great many cup runs, but the one I was involved in (the year we beat Dinting in a knife edge game) literally included some of the best games of cricket, and I would say sport, I’ve ever played in in terms of excitement and value for money – i.e. yes, I’d pay £7.50 (maybe £4 then actually) to play in it again. I don’t know, but perhaps Mr Shaw is remembering the halcyon era of WBCC? I know he was also a cup winner; and I appreciate that, when your not the ones polishing them, cups probably do lose a bit of their sparkle.

I’d also take The Secretary’s side in the junior issue – in that I don’t think the game does lose it’s appeal, in general terms, as soon as a player leaves. If you look at the current first team ‘squad’ for want of a better word, we have: Bailey, M Slack, S Slack, Simmonds, Schofield – that’s five of maybe 15 players who have regularly played 1st team in the last 2 years or so who are the same age or younger than Eddie and Danny. And that’s not including Henry Holden (now not a junior). I think, perhaps, the issue some people are missing is, people don’t want to play a sport they may not be good enough to play? I admit that spending the last two to three years batting at 6/7/8 and fielding, and paying somewhere in the region of £200 a season to do so, has had me considering jacking it in. My point is less that Eddie and Danny were not good enough (I think they both probably were in fairness, Danny more so when slightly pissed), but it is a more general one – I would actually argue that you are always going to get people dropping out of cricket after junior levels because they are simply not good enough to progress.

Imagine if every Junior we coached, i.e. that’s something like 100 every Friday, from U11 to U17, progressed to play for Whaley…how would we cope – 12 new players a year on average? The competition for places would be such that one bad performance would see you dropped, potentially for the entire season as you had ‘missed’ your chance and someone else was yet to have one. A selection committee that, in my opinion currently makes some already odd decisions (just my opinion, and I have mentioned it to them as well before anyone starts) would be swamped. Arguments of competition brings quality are all fair and well, but a team – a group of people working together for a common goal – needs consistency. I would argue that’s partly why the current 1st team are doing so well – they have played together for a long time now and positions are understood, roles are defined and…well…Luke never drops anything either, which helps.

Still, my point is that, you will always get juniors dropping out early in their senior careers because, at the end of the day, there are only a few of us willing to pay the sort of money cricket costs if we’re not getting a full game. And even more, I’d argue that’s how it has to be – I’d be livid if I paid subs to be eligible and never got picked…but if we had every junior staying with the club, that would happen to a large proportion of them if we were picking our best team every week. It’s not nice, but – and this is for Shaw – that’s sometimes life.