...And so to the Future.
New Pavilion - Proposed North East Elevation
This is the third in a series of three articles submitted by the President of Brentwood Cricket Club, Malcolm Webb and published in the 2011 Lashings World XI Match Day Programme. The first and second instalments, “In the Beginning..." and "From the Present…" can also be found on the Club website.
Brentwood Cricket Club – 1881-2011
And so to the Future.
Two things are certain in life. You pay taxes and you die. In a cricket club such as ours a third certainty can be added: if you stand still you go backwards.
Having reached this position, we have no intention of allowing things to ‘go backwards’.
Off the field of play work will commence towards the end of the season on a £0.5M refurbishment project to add to and improve our existing facilities, providing additional and enlarged clubrooms and new and improved changing rooms. The two existing hockey/cricket and tennis pavilions will be linked together to allow economic sharing of common facilities. Externally the enlarged building will be re-modelled in a ‘traditional’ pavilion style.
Our 1st XI has now won back-to-back Premiership titles and our on-field objective for 2011 is simple - win another Premiership title. Another aim for 2011 is to raise our game in both regional and national limited over club competitions. This will not be easy – but nor was getting here in the first place. We have the players, and we have the reputation now of being a good club with excellent facilities: in other words, the sort of set-up that encourages people to want to join us. The aim for 2011 must be for the 1st XI to retain their title and we are in a great position to do so. We have entered various Cup competitions in which we hope for success and we will also be keen to do well in the Twenty20 again. The 2nd XI have a good enough side to be challenging at the top of the table and is full of players looking to break into the 1st XI so should be desperate for success. The 3rd XI will be keen to consolidate after a strong showing last term and should push on to become one of the more dominant teams in the league. The 4th XI earned promotion to Division 1 of the 3rd XI league meaning they are now playing in the highest league they possibly can. The 5th XI has found its level in Division 1 of the 4th XI league, and there should be no reason why they can’t start to harbour hopes of winning the league after a strong 4th place finish last year. The 6th XI continues to be an excellent breeding ground for the colts that are looking to break into the senior game. The League has introduced new rules that have led us to withdrawing the team from the ‘competitive’ league but we have entered the newly formed ‘friendly’ league in order that we can continue to offer 6th XI cricket. As ever we will expect to have something to collect at the league awards dinner and I am confident that we have a strong enough membership that we can afford to look at the forthcoming season with high hopes.
So how can we achieve that ambition? Fundamentally our membership has to continue to grow, at both the senior and junior end. Currently we have 100 senior playing members and 220 colts. More members means more competition for places which means an inevitable raising of standards. Increasing our colts membership secures the future of the Club.
Along with more members we – inevitably – need to raise more money. Cricket at our level is becoming ever more costly, both to play and to administer. Running six sides in the League is all well and good, but it means that we have three home games most weeks. We are very fortunate indeed that our links with Brentwood School are so strong that we can use one of their pitches, prepared by them, for our 5th and 6th XIs. But we still have to prepare two pitches every week as well as maintain the outfields. We really need two new sightscreens (cost £2,000), but with the pavilion refurbishment we simply don’t have the funds at present. These are not luxuries; they are all essentials, and in the absence of a benefactor the money has to be found from within the Club. And we have a principle, to which we religiously adhere, that we shall not increase annual subscriptions to pay for these items. Annual subscriptions are traditionally pitched at the level needed for the Club to break even on its yearly running costs. Everything else has to be found by money-raising social events and begging.
We are a “CASC” – a Community Amateur Sports Club. This shows a statement of intent that we shall provide cricket for the whole of the local community, irrespective of age, gender, creed, ability or disability. We have also obtained our “Clubmark” accreditation, which is nationally recognised, and our “ClubSX” accreditation, which is bestowed by Essex County Council. We are also one of Essex CCC’s “Focus Clubs”.
All these accreditations major on the ability of the club concerned to develop cricket amongst the youth of the community. That is why we have such a flourishing colts set-up of which we are justifiably proud. It is also why we have such strong connections with all the local schools.
Continuing to provide these facilities for local youngsters is just as important to Brentwood Cricket Club as success on the field. If you support what we are trying to do, please help us by a donation or, if you are in a position so to do, by corporate sponsorship of our Club. With your help we can ensure that cricket continues to be played at the Old County Ground for another 130 years.