Welcome to the New Season! A warm welcome to you all, be you a senior player, a colt, or a social member. And a particular welcome to our new members for the coming season.
It seems a bit early to be writing a pre-season letter. We’ve barely got rid of the snow, which stayed for the unexpected amount of time. But with Easter falling in the first half of April, and the season getting underway the following week, suddenly it’s time to exhume the kit from whence it’s reposed since last September and check for signs of mildew.
The usual pre-season gathering will take place on Sunday, 4 April from 12.30 onwards. The bar will be open throughout the afternoon and a free buffet will be provided. Bring your cheque book because you will be expected to pay your subs at that time in order to receive a fixture card and car park sticker. Note that you will not be able to enter the bar if you do not show your cheque book, so make sure you have one on yourself.
There will also be a selection of Club shirts, caps and sweaters for sale at attractive prices (don’t forget the rule that only Brentwood caps and sweaters may be worn on the field in the senior sides you could be a bit chilly on 17 April when Dickie or Pies makes you consign your Old Buggeronians sweater to the dark reaches of your bag.)
Outdoor nets start on Tuesday, 13 April, and thereafter will be on Thursdays for the 1st team squad and Tuesdays for the rest of the senior membership as last year. Colts nets will be on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for the various age groups.
Have in mind that you must complete the registration process before we mark you as the member of the club. Attached to this letter is a registration form that every individual must complete before he can be classed as a member. Please complete it (it’s not onerous) and give it to Malcolm Webb on 4 April. Or, if you have received this letter via e-mail you can e-mail the form back to Malcolm (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you won’t be at the pre-season gathering, please post it to him at 156a Hanging Hill Lane, Hutton CM13 2HE. This is not us being pedantic it is already a requirement of the local licensing authorities, and is shortly to be a legal requirement of the Government and applicable to all sports clubs.
(Note from web site administrator. A soft-copy version of the form in Microsoft Word format can be downloaded by clicking on the Word logo. Complete the form and return to Malcolm Webb using the instructions above ).
Aims and Expectations
We all know that the Club is riding high at the moment. Last year was very satisfying with three of the top four sides getting amongst the awards, and we now have the 2nds, 3rds and 4ths in their respective Premier Divisions. Only GP&R and Wanstead can better that, and even they can’t boast six sides in the League. Nobody can apart from us. The aim now is to get the 1st XI into their Premier Division. It won’t be easy, but we have acquired a few new members who we believe can help us achieve that ambition; we still have the nucleus of last year’s squad, and the younger members will be a year older and stronger and hopefully knocking even harder on the door.
We have never been a club intent on buying success to the detriment of true club spirit, and we shall not compromise that philosophy. We could have ‘bought in’ a number of individuals this year on the strength of last year’s success. But we believe that that is short-term. The camaraderie throughout the whole club is most important to us. Nonetheless we do harbour ambition, and if we can strengthen the overall club without harming the spirit then that is our goal.
It does mean, of course, that competition for places will be fierce. That’s no bad thing if it helps put an edge on people’s performances, and if anyone finds themselves playing in a side lower than perhaps they have done for a few years, then I hope they will knuckle down and try to win back their place, but give the utmost support to their new captain in the meantime. And I am also conscious that our younger players in last year’s 5th and 6th teams will be looking to fight their way into the 4th and 3rd XIs this year. It is our stated policy that we will not impede their progress, and if they are good enough for selection they will get it. The fact that you might have been in a particular side for the past decade doesn’t necessarily give you security of tenure!
This year we have decided not to enter the Sunday League, after our disappointing experiences last year. The Victorians have a full and interesting-looking fixture list, and as some of their ‘traditional’ members show signs of age, so will they be happy to accommodate other Club members who may feel that their opportunities are limited on Saturdays henceforth. We have also arranged a number of Sunday Club matches, mostly at home so that the OCG is used every Sunday throughout the season. I hope you will support these matches and perhaps make them enjoyable family occasions.
As I write this, the OCG is looking in superb shape. It is a fantastic asset to the Club, and I am pleased to say that we are well on the way to completing the repayments of the £45,000 part of the overall cost of the freehold purchase. But we could still do with more money towards that target. As last year, we are prepared to offer Life Playing Membership to anyone who donates £1,000 now, or alternatively subscription-free membership until 2009 if you care to donate £500 now. With subs currently at £110 and rising, either offer looks like a good deal to me.
The quality of the square on the back pitch improved last year and will be even better this especially now that we shall be able to use all five strips. And we have once again arranged to play most of the 5th and 6th teams’ home games at Brentwood School. The help and support we get from their Bursar, Ian Bruton, and their Master in Charge of Cricket, Brian Hardie, is fantastic, and we are very, very fortunate to have these facilities as well as our own ground.
I’ve already mentioned the pre-season get-together, and as usual we have a series of social events at roughly monthly intervals throughout the season. The gatherings are made so we could get to know better and share the experiences, ideas and memories. Exact details and dates are shown in the fixture card. Last year’s events were particularly good and usually well-supported and Paul Webb is running this side of things again this season. A letter from Paul outlining events for this year is attached. Please continue to support both him and the events so that we can raise enough money to be able to maintain the quality of the Club and its facilities, bearing in mind that we still have to find a lot of money from within our own ranks in order to pay for the ground. We are, incidentally, open to enquiries for the hire of our ground and facilities from time to time during the season, so if your firm or an organisation to which you belong want to take advantage of this, please speak to Paul.
Last year was a good one. We have the ability to make this season just as good. Let us aim to be the envy of all the other local clubs by the quality of our cricket on the field, our administrative excellence off it, and our collective ability to support the bar until it closes and drink anybody else under the table! We want to provide the best possible experience in any sense, so make sure you talk to us if you think we could improve, advance and take some things on the next level.
Good luck for a happy and successful season.