A message from the Chairman May 2020

Dear Members,

I truly hope you are all keeping safe and well and coping in these incredibly difficult times. We should all, under normal circumstances, be enjoying life at our fantastic Cricket Club right now so I want to provide you all with an update on the current situation and how it affects us from a cricketing point of view.

Unfortunately, but understandably, we are currently no clearer on when cricket will start. With regard to recreational cricket, the ECB’s ruling, that all activities, including training and net sessions (even 1-2-1 net sessions), are suspended indefinitely, remains in place.

The Shepherd Neame Essex League also announced recently that:
• No matches in the SNEL, Cup and T20 competitions will take place earlier than Saturday 4th July and therefore the first half of the league season will be nulled and voided
• First league games will attempt to be started on Saturday 11th July – this is to attempt to play half a season of games (9). The fixtures as currently published will remain unless XIs inform us that they cannot fulfil the fixtures. They will continue to follow advice from the ECB about whether recreational cricket will be able to be played at this time
• Clubs will be given at least 3 weeks’ notice before any restart to the season

So we are still patiently playing a waiting game, hopeful that by mid-June we will be given the go-ahead to prepare for a July start. Clearly we don’t yet know when the Club will open but we remain as keen as ever to ensure that we are ready to open and play as soon as we are permitted. We hope that we might be able to allow access to the nets again soon but until we hear from the ECB I’m afraid they remain out of bounds.

Financially these are difficult times for all of us. First and foremost is the wellbeing of our members. We understand that many members are under severe financial pressure at the moment so if you do have any concerns with regard to your continued membership please feel free to speak with me in the strictest confidence. We all have things to worry about at the moment – cricket should not be one of them.

In terms of Club finances I want to say an enormous thank you to all those members who have paid the reduced annual subscription that we asked for. Some of you have also made donations on top of your subscriptions for which we are incredibly grateful. Thank you all, sincerely. Your support is genuinely vital to the survival of our Club as we know it.

As a Club we have done as much as we can to cut our costs and manage our finances. We have applied for the grants that the Government have made available to amateur sports clubs but at this point in time we do not know precisely how much we might get, nor how much our losses might amount to. We can only hope that the two offset one another. The prudent way in which we have managed the club over the past decade or so means that the Club, unlike many others sadly, will survive but we have to accept that our Club may well be in a worse financial position than it was at the start of the lockdown. Your continued support therefore becomes ever more important to us as we attempt to recover and still provide the fantastic facilities with which we are blessed.

From a social point of view we want to stay in touch as much as we can. We are looking to see what virtual events we might be able to organise. There is already a weekly Zoom quiz which is open to all. Please contact me if you want details. We are also launching a ‘50/50 Club’ whereby participating members win up to 50% of whatever proceeds are gathered each month. This is a great way to stay engaged, possibly win some money and support the Club a little at the same time.

As much as we can we are trying to plan the remainder of the season. We will have to postpone the Pink Stumps Day that was scheduled for Saturday 13th June and whilst we are still keen for the match against the PCA England Masters to go ahead we may have to accept that it won’t happen this year. Although it is scheduled for Friday 17th July, by which time we hope we might be allowed to play some cricket, it is touch and go as to whether we will be able to run the event at all, let alone a financially viable event.

Finally, but certainly no less importantly, I want to pass on my sincere condolences, personally and on behalf of the whole Club, to anyone that has lost friends or family to this horrific virus. We know of at least one club member that sadly lost his life to Covid-19 and our thoughts remain with those closest to him.

We will continue to update you as and when we receive information from either the ECB or the League. For now though, stay safe, “stay alert”, please feel free to use the ground for your daily exercise…and we will see one another at the Club soon.

Best regards,

Paul Webb

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