Dear Fellow Member,
With Christmas approaching it is a good time to look back on what was a busy and eventful 2021. If we cast our minds back to early 2021 the country was in the midst of a lockdown. Schools, offices, bars and restaurants were closed, travel was restricted and so on. For us as a club it meant no indoor training was permitted, our annual dinner dance was cancelled and our AGM and committee meetings were held by Zoom. At the time there was great uncertainty about how the upcoming season would look.
Fast forward to March and things started to look more promising as the Government had issued a pathway out of lockdown. For our club this meant living with certain restrictions for a few more months but with the expectation these would gradually be lifted over time. The easing of restrictions came too late for any indoor cricket but in time for outdoor practice and games to commence in April. The club hadn’t been idle during the close season however. Thanks to very generous backing by one of our members we started the season with a newly laid outfield and square on the Main Ground and the benefits this provided to the club were clear to see as the season progressed. We were also welcomed to newly refurbished outdoor nets at Shenley which after several years of use had started to look tired and worn. New netting and sheets were purchased to give them a new lease of life and this has proved to be a good investment. Thanks to Club Secretary Chris Stanley for leading and delivering this project.
For the senior teams the start of the season meant continued on field restrictions and for the first few weeks there was a limit on spectators allowed to watch games. There was no pavilion access or use of the bar and players had to bring their own refreshments as communal teas were still off the agenda. By mid-July most restrictions had been lifted and slowly but surely normality returned as clubhouses were reopened and we were able to enjoy a drink and a chat in the bar after the game. For the juniors the changes were less significant and the season for them had a more normal look.
One thing we could have done without was the terrible British weather. The junior season was decimated with numerous games postponed and in many cases the rescheduled games were also called off. It was a real logistical challenge but in the end with the help of friendly matches and inter club games we were able to offer a reasonable amount of cricket, although some age groups were more fortunate than others. As ever with junior teams we are reliant on parents volunteering to help out with organising teams and assisting on match days. Kris Nissen did an excellent job overseeing matters but couldn’t have done it without the help of the volunteer Team Managers and helpers. Our thanks to all the Team Managers Brad Endlin, Andy Clow, Alison Waller, Heather Stott, Martin Bunn, Kam Sharma, Robert Joseph, Tim Fretter, Rene Gruss, Graham Seymour, Mark Nikitas and Jon Tobias. Thanks also to all the other helpers on match days and to all parents for getting their kids to the games and supporting the team. Massive thanks also to Kris for his immense work in coordinating the junior section and running the training programmes, inter club matches and summer camps throughout the season. The junior membership numbers steadily continue to rise thanks to the high quality training programmes we’re able to offer all year round with our excellent coaches and facilities.
The main emphasis for the younger children is on participant and enjoyment with winning an added bonus. The Under 9 team managed to win 6 of their 8 games to finish top of their group but the main on field success was the talented under 12A team who went unbeaten all season and in the process were crowned Herts champions. The same group of boys formed the core of the U13 team that entered the National championship and incredibly reached the semi- final stage despite being a year younger than most of their opposition. This bodes well for next season as Shenley will attempt to become national champions again at the under 13 age group and repeat the club’s achievements of 2017.
The senior sides on Saturday all had what could be described as reasonable seasons. The 1st XI finished 7th in the Championship Division which was a good effort considering the low average age of the side and a significant number of injuries suffered during the campaign. The 2nd XI consolidated their place in Division 4B with 8th place following a double promotion in the previous League season. The 3rd XI had a very similar season also finishing 8th following their own double promotion, and the 4th XI finished a very creditable 4th in Regional Division A West. The recently formed Sunday friendly side had a full season of fixtures (when it wasn’t raining!) and helped to introduce some younger players to senior cricket as well as providing playing opportunities for those who couldn’t play on Saturdays.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of our club. Thanks to all the captains Morgan Stanley, Anooj Vadgama, Ciaran Woodcock, Vic Childs and Mitesh Damji and all those who put in a lot of effort behind the scenes to assist the captains. Thanks to our Groundsman Arthur for all his hard work on maintaining the squares throughout the season, David West for cutting and treatment work on the outfields and to Chris Wood for his expert guidance on all ground related matters. Thanks also to the rest of our hard working committee: Chris Stanley (Secretary), Darren Poynton (Treasurer), Kris Nissen (Head Coach), Sammy Saleh (Facilities) and Frank Orchard (Welfare). Last but not least our thanks to Life President Ray McLennan who continues to do so much for the club behind the scenes providing significant and vital support to the committee and in the development of our club.
As well as needing volunteers a club like ours needs considerable finance to continue playing at a venue as prestigious as Shenley. We’re indebted to our long term sponsors CeX, Landhold Capital, Motilal Books and Southall Travel for their continued support and vital contributions. Landhold Capital, who sponsored the club’s senior sides have now ended their 4 year sponsorship deal and massive thanks to Paul Charney for his generosity and support. We are now looking for new sponsors for next year so if you’re interested please get in touch. There are a number of ways that you can sponsor the club to suit all budgets. Raising funds is a significant challenge for our club and we anticipate a sharp increase in our costs this year as a rent review with the Cricket Centre is due. So all financial support we receive is vital and gratefully received.
There is still plenty going on at the club. In late September a new scorers shed was installed on the Main Ground, just a little too late for the 2021 season. Over the next few months the plan is to get the shed painted and electricity supplied so it will be up and running for next season. Subject to obtaining the necessary funding, we also plan to spend further funds on the outdoor nets to improve the bounce by compacting the sub surface at the batting ends, and we will also be looking to enclose the nets and provide access via a gate with a combination lock. This is designed to reduce unauthorised access by non-members which recently has become a significant problem. We also hope to get the electronic scoreboard on the Nursery Ground back working again for next season.
Indoor training for both juniors and seniors has already commenced thanks to Kris securing both Beaumont School and Chancellors Schools as venues. Training will run up until late March with a short break over the Christmas and New Year period. For further information please contact Kris by WhatsApp on 07473 869500 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The traditional annual cricket dinner and dance is back next year. Please make a note of the date Friday 1st April. Thanks to Leslie Orchard for taking on the organisation and further details will be issued in due course.
Another date for your diary – the club AGM will be held on Friday 4th February at the Shenley Cricket Centre from 7pm. There will be changes to the committee moving forward and further details will be sent out nearer the time. If you would like to join the committee or help the club in any way please let us know.
To finish this note we’d like to mention the Pete Allen memorial tour to Bury that took place in late August. For those of you who didn’t know Pete he was something of a club legend even though he didn’t join our club until 2010 at the age of 51. He played for 8 seasons until he succumbed to the cruel Motor Neurone Disease which eventually took his life on the day of his 60th birthday in 2019. Pete moved to the South of England shortly before he joined us having played his cricket prior to that in the Bury area, near Manchester. A tour was originally planned in 2020 but delayed a year due to covid restrictions. Superbly organised by Nick Vance and Rich Evans a group of Shenley players embarked on a short tour to play against the 2 clubs Pete had played for in his earlier years. Further details can be found on our website - there are 2 tabs in the menu on the left hand side: The tab ‘Pete Allen Memorial Tour’ has a report of the tour from Nick Vance. The tab ‘A Tribute to Pete Allen’ has recollections from Ray McLennan about the first time he met Pete and introduced him to our club.
That is all for now. Good luck to all and we hope you have an enjoyable Christmas and New Year!
Geoff Evans George White
07505 102152 07968 349933