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Firstly a warm welcome to this season’s fixture card foreword and I am delighted to be able to share with you my thoughts as we look back over the 2016 season and look forward to 2017 with the usual excitement across the Club.

The club is in good financial health with us making a positive surplus last season ahead of what we had budgeted resulting in reserves at our highest ever level – which taking into consideration the investments we have made over the past 3-4 years is very positive. The main sources of income are Sponsorship, Fundraising, Bar (highest ever takings) & Subs – along with club lettings which were ~£10.5k – again our highest ever! This is in no small way down to the appointment of the Pavilion Manager, Sarah Drummond, who has done a fantastic job on all fronts – with a small example resulting in the financial accounts being produced by mid-November much to the delight of our Treasurer!

Although we are planning limited investment in the next 2-3 years given our focus on our longer term plans we have re-decorated the pavilion, had tree work done around the ground (post a recent survey) & repaired the roof at the back of the pavilion. Last year there were a number of very good social events including the bonfire night, golf day, summer ball, Sportsman’s dinner (which raised over ~£9k alone with a Sports match from Barclays) The support we get from our 40+ sponsors continued with very little “bad debt” for which we are very grateful. Finally as we look back we also held the 20/20 league finals day which was held at a club with only one ground for the first time – and was an unmitigated success on all fronts – with input from every section of the club – it was great!

On the field 2016 was in many ways a difficult year particularly in getting 3 senior sides out every week – having lost 6-7 senior players during the 2015 close season: -

  •  1st X1 finished 8th in the Premier league avoiding relegation on the final day of the season
  • 2nd X1 finished 7th 
  • 3rd X1 were relegated
  • o40’s won their regional group and lost in the final to Neston when the game was in the bag!

 However we had some good individual performances across the teams:-

  •  Rob Jones topped the batting averages – and also made his Lancashire debut scoring a memorable hundred in his final game of the season – with the best celebration you will ever see!
  • Overseas Morgan Clark scored over 800 runs for the season – and was a joy to have around the club both on and off the field
  • Chris Drummond was the leading run scorer for the 2nd X1 with Nigel Muirhead the leading wicket taker
  • 4 different players got on the Honours board and were donated a Kippax cricket bat to recognise their achievement & 5 players playing representative cricket during the season ranging from Lancashire 1st  X1 to various Cheshire age groups
  • We had ~160 juniors register playing over 90 games during the season – with membership the same as last year – along with very successful Easter and Summer junior camps 

  • Improved coaching – particularly on a Friday night (thanks in particular to Club Captain Toby Drummond) for the u13-u15’s
  • The u13 side won their plate league; u11 got to the final of the CCCL but lost to a strong Neston side

During the close season we have focused on recruiting players of all ability to strengthen the club across all sides – and this is looking good with 5-6 players joining/committing to play more across all sides for this season. We have also continued to build on the excellent progress made last season with junior coaching structure including re-establishing the Junior Academy. We also have many social events planned – including Matthew Hoggard at our annual Sportsman’s Dinner, the Summer Ball w/end (16-17/6) Golf day (7/7/17) End of season Race night (with the Toft Taverners) and Bonfire night….along with 1 or 2 other “family” events such as Dads and Lads/family BBQ….and we have also renewed over 90% of our sponsorship agreements.

For the coming season we want to consistently field 3 sides with less hassle for the various captains with targets as follows: -

  • 1st X1 finish in the top half of the Premier League, top 4 in the 2nd X1 and make 20/20 finals day for both X1’s and secure promotion back to the 3rd X1 Premier league & win over 40’s trophy regional/finals day 
  • Maintain junior membership, continue to evolve/develop coaching and continue to offer May, mid-week & Summer camps 
  • Continue to support as much as possible the great work the Taverners do

On the ground we need to ensure we have a succession plan in place  for Bernard – as well as ensuring we are maximising his time on the ground during the season following the appointment/investment in the Sarah (Pavilion manager) 

I am also delighted to confirm we have the same Senior Captains for the Club/1st and 2nd X1’s – Toby Drummond and Paul Ashley - who do such a great job. They will be joined by Will Dunkerley who will be leading the 3rd X1 with am sure a youthful zest, along with Chair of Selectors Andrew Hodgson. Chris Sheldon will continue as o40’s Captain…….and delighted we have been able to retain the services of one of our own (the very loyal!) Rob Jones who has been awarded a Lancashire contract… good luck to him recognising we might not see as much of him this year!

I would also like to thank the support of all the committee members from last year – with Pete Watson doing his 20th year as Treasurer! We have also appointed Dave Blackburn in a Marcomms role which will hopefully help with communication to our broad membership base. I am also delighted to say we have some of the same faces continuing this coming year with Ed Stubbs, Louise Hamer and Katherine Wasilewska on Social continuing to bring new ideas and enthusiasm to the main committee which is great. It also never ceases to amaze me the time many others put into the running of the club – Dave Hughes (Juniors) Jeff Tenner (history/photos/honours boards) Brian Coutts (Ground) Simon Burley (Secretary) and Toby Drummond (Club Captain/Academy) – to name but a few so many thanks to those and many others I haven’t mentioned who ensure the smooth running of the Club. I must also again thank our many sponsors, for their support, which is critical to ensure we are able to maintain the high standards we set ourselves – so if you are able to support any of them it is always much appreciated.

As I look further forward we are also looking at plans to upgrade/replace our existing pavilion – however this hasn’t progressed as much as we would have liked over the last 12 months so need to re-focus our efforts if we are to achieve something over the next 3-4 years.

Finally I would also like to thank Emma, George, Olly & Toby for the support they give me…..and it goes without saying may I wish everyone a successful 2017 season – and I hope to see you at the bar during the season for a drink or 2!