Last year, I used my annual message to unfold the Club’s development plan.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Club is moving in the right direction, on and off the field.
Should I say ‘field’? The year’s cricket actually started last October, indoors! We did very well in the Winter Metropolitan Essex Indoor Leagues. The Under 11s entered two sides in their divisions and their ‘A’ side won the Haydn Davies Trophy, beating mostly premiership sides. The under 13, and under 15s entered two successful sides in their leagues. We also entered the under 16 to age 25 competition and the Adult league winning seven of the eleven games even though matches sometimes started at 8.30 am! At least they weren’t rain affected.
Talking of which, it’s been a frustrating Summer season with well over 30 cancellations, not to mention high winds destroying sight screens and so on. And yet, such is the strength of the Club that we are performing better than for many seasons. In fact, as I write, all our four SNEL teams are well positioned to compete for promotion this year! The colts continue to impress marvellously. And we’ll go further in years to come.
Indeed, the Club is in transition. All clubs face the challenge of maintaining high standards in times of difficulty. But the benchmarks are ever rising with the investment in coaching programmes, playing and training facilities and competition standards throughout the County and England – not least thanks to the National development strategies and the resources being injected into the sport. We have a long, much relished history and track record. But standing still is not an option. We have to continue to develop. We have a mission and a vision. Our task is to make it happen.
We see our Mission as involving all members and enabling them to excel.
Our Vision is of a welcoming, inclusive, ambitious, well organised cricket club that jealously guards our reputation, encourages team working, and builds a membership that participates fully in the Club, strives for personal development and maintains our sporting values.
We expect senior players to act as positive role models. In particular our captains will ensure that play is conducted within the spirit of the game as well as within the Laws. I make no apology for stressing again that our Club code of conduct includes:
Displaying high standards of behaviour on and off the field, showing respect for each other, opponents and umpires, including no bad language*.
*As an aside, members are offended if non-English is spoken on or off the pitch – team working and collegiate harmony demands a common language.
In support of a good club atmosphere and team working, we expect all players to wear our club colours and proper cricket gear both when playing and training. It is particularly pleasing that all colts are doing this and, indeed, this is more or less happening throughout the Club.
I have two things to finish on.
1. We are an all-year-round club, not only with winter competitions and training but a clubhouse open and ever there to be used informally throughout the year (and for hire by members at special rates)! So it is wrong to think of membership as just a ticket to buy a summer sport. Membership can be much more than that: it is about using a whole range of 12 month social and sporting activities. Thank you for joining in!
2. Mission and vision statements are very well. But making good our intentions is the true test of character. To make it happen, to understand what it means, we need to know who we are and what we can become. For that reason I’ve written an outward looking retrospective of the Old Parkonians Cricket Club. This puts things into context and puts our aspirations into perspective. It shows convincingly that we can develop into a truly great club with great players. Hopefully, you will be inspired by our history and bound by the stories that bestow us with a common culture. It’s called “Greatness is a Matter of Degree”. Please read it. It is being made widely available to members.