If I Were A Rich Man…

No, that title has nothing to do with John Fidler on the roof of the new scorebox, as far as I know it doesn’t yet have one. No, it refers to wealth, and do we have too much of it? The obvious answer to that is “No, of course not. What is he on about?” But its worth a discussion for two completely separate reason. 

Firstly, some time ago the need for additional fundraising was announced as we had bills to pay in July. So what suggestions were there? A World Cup Extravaganza. It raised about £250-£300 and was good fun. What else? Nothing. We have a playing membership of 30ish, and many more on the Committee, and not a single additional idea came out. Are we too rich, or too stupid, or too complacent? Or all three? Well, here’s another suggestion. The Relay. Lets get that on again this year. I’ll even make it into another Big Pan event. All we need is a volunteer….. Is that the Grumbleweeds I see approaching? No, my mistake, its the Tumbleweed. 

So the second point…following on from the success of the mower, we have added a few things that we would like Cllr Goldfinch to approach various councils about. These include covers (thought we already had these – no, my mistake, they were left to rot) and sightscreens (thought we already had these – yes – there they are. Just need a bolt!). A water hog and a portable scoreboard are fair enough, though the water hog seems to have been put on hold as they have gone up in price and a plastic sheet seems to have done the trick, and teh portable scoreboard can be rescued from the front of the old scorebox (I can see health and safety getting involved in that one as soon as the first prick from a splinter appears). No doubt after a prolonged period of rain in August the Water Hog will become de rigeur (no pun intended) again. So what else might we consider? A gas fridge usually raises its head at this point, but what about heated seats for the toilets, a Del Boy style bar, and a karaoke machine complete with a full set of karaoke discs that will take you back to the halcyon days of A-Toe-Mic (whatever did happen to that jumper?) Your suggestions for other items are more than welcome. 

The league have published a questionnaire in a commendable attempt to canvas opinion as to the format of future junior seasons. If you don’t fill it in you don’t really have the right to complain. My own thoughts are listed below… 

1 Organisation 

Within 2 years all clubs must be represented at all junior age groups. I believe that the option for either u15 or u17 was a knee jerk reaction to current shortcomings at some clubs. These shortcomings may be short term or they may be long term, but allowing clubs to simply opt out may ultimately make the situation worse as a general lack of juniors will ultimately weaken a club. 

To remedy this clubs should be permitted to merge at Under 15 & Under 17 level (this is the age when many club lose juniors) 

So, for instance, Birch Vale could merge with New Mills and enter one team at under 17s, and one team at under 15s if they so choose and mutually agree. Might take some organisation but then clubs with 4 or 5 players can still be represented 

Age groups should ideally align with district / county 

2. Rearrangements 

Clubs should be allowed to rearrange any fixture within the timeframe of the league (i.e. not AFTER the last league match). Of course, clubs can arrange friendlies at any time. 

3. Reporting 

Scrap junior fines – I dont believe they work, and I wouldnt want to put off any willing volunteers. Any result not sent in should automatically record as an away win, and if still not sent in after 7 days that result stands (this may encourage clubs not to send results in if they lost – that could be addressed in a more radical way – see no shows) 

4. No Shows 

Any junior team failing to fulfil a fixture shall have 5 points deducted from their senior first XI. Very controversial, but it is quite common that first team players just dont get involved lower down the club (I realise that at many clubs this is not the case), but when I see, for instance, Peter Owen struggle to field a team and then try to run it on his own or with minimal help, where are all of the players? This would surely create a stronger club if senior players were involved with the juniors. (this might be a better answer for all fines – as soon as the first team start losing points clubs should smarten up their act!) 

5. Group Match Ratio 

This should be scrapped. It does nothing to encourage participation, as if a team is well on top of their opposition the GMR encourages them to win by as big a margin as possible rather than giving their lesser players a chance to bat and bowl. I would introduce either a) points per completed game (ignoring rain affected) or b) a play off. You could potentially have three teams that are all runners up with the same points per completed game. Not easy, but you could have a three way play off (10 overs per side) played on the same evening – probably many other alternatives. 

6. Finals day 

I would scrap this. Initially I was in favour – but what I would actually do is play 2 semi finals the week after the season finishes on whatever day the age group plays, and the final the following week. Hayfield’s point is a very good one in that parents choose Sundays for other activities outside cricket. 

7. Calendar 

I am 100% convinced that the under 15s should run from the start of the season followed by the under 17s. Firstly, the under 17s are beset by exams in the early part of the season making fixtures difficult to arrange and in some cases having matches that are unrepresentative of an under 17s side. Secondly, alternating weeks means that if, for instance, a bye week is involved the under 15s might not play for a month. Add a rained off situation in there and it becomes ridiculous. 

Last week I got a strange text message form Naddem Abbasi, ex Pakistan test wicketkeeper wanting to speak to me about juniors. Match fixing at the under 13s? No, this was a genuine enquiry as he wanted to promote his brand of kit. I listened and was quite impressed by his approach, so I have invited him to the junior presentation on 7th September. He will no doubt tell you all about his brand, but he will also explain the difference between grades of kit, and he will also be running a wicketkeeping masterclass. Russ Wild and Luke Dog should probably both attend.