Notice of (delayed) 2021 AGM

Following the relaxation of national restrictions, we are now in a position to hold our postponed 2021 AGM.

Members are hereby given notice that our 2021 AGM will take place on Tuesday 17th August 2021 commencing at 8.30 p.m. in our clubhouse.

The delayed start is intended to give opportunity for playing members (engaged in practice sessions) and bowling section members (engaged in league fixtures) the opportunity to attend the meeting in full.

We hope all members will be able to join us to review what has been a remarkable last 18 months and hear our plans for 2022 and beyond.

If you require a copy of the agenda or a copy of the club’s annual accounts in advance of the meeting, please contact us: chairman@gtharwoodcc.co.uk or secretary@gtharwoodcc.co.uk

Any members who have business to be moved at the meeting should give notice to the Club Secretary within 14 days of the meeting in accordance with our Club’s Constitution.

The View from the Balconies

We had intended that these messages would be a little more regular than we have achieved so far, but the rapid pace of change of government, council and ECB guidance on multiple aspects of the operations of our club, coupled with the usual increased workload to have the cricket facilities ready for the season ahead, has prevented finding time to do so.

We are delighted to be in a position to welcome some members and guests back to GHCC this weekend in our newly-formed hospitality zone around the clubhouse, patios and balcony areas. The Committee and staff have worked tirelessly to prepare for our re-opening in a safe manner, and we hope to see many of you over the coming days and weeks.

Full details of the – admittedly complex – arrangements for our re-opening can be found here.

Turning to the cricket side, it’s been quite a busy month to say the least. The pro Thikshila has arrived and has completed his expedited quarantine and trained with the senior men’s squads on Thursday, before assisting with the Hawks Academy practice night yesterday evening.

It’s great to have him back with us for the season. It does give the whole club a lift to have a player of his international quality amongst our ranks, and I am sure you will join me in wishing him well ahead of the season and the first 1stXI fixture of the season tomorrow

Special thanks must go to Shirley & Malcolm for their tireless efforts in furnishing and preparing his accommodation prior to his arrival.

Our ground and facilities are in fine fettle ahead of the season. Mick & John together with Nathan have for us ready for the season, and after some significant investment from the club and from sponsors we feel we are in a good place with our facilities, coming out of an unprecedented pandemic as we are.

Do take the time to come and visit and see what we have done with the place. COVID-19 restrictions have meant we have needed to adapt our cricket operations too, and sadly spectators are not permitted at the ground unless they are seated within and attending to use our hospitality zones.

We hope the governments Roadmap remains on track which should see spectators return from mid-May, as well as the reopening of changing facilities and our clubhouse itself.

We have however invested further and hope to have all our senior matches streamed live online for the season ahead. Stay tuned to our website and social media feeds for details of how to access the matches online.

Work has also commenced on preparing facilities for our bowling section, although sadly their governing body and associated rules and regulations will delay the recommencement of their competitive leagues. The green is coming back to the condition we expect to provide at GHCC and lots of hard work has gone in within that section to get things ready for the safe return of bowls once they get the green light from the BCGBA.

So much more has been achieved, too much to remember to report here. It really has to be seen to be believed. We do hope you will visit us soon.

Looking back at the to do list we set ourselves at the start of the year, possibly with one eye on the likelihood of our season being delayed due to the pandemic, we set ourselves an ambitious development plan. Remarkably we seem to have achieved everything we set out to do in that shortened period of time. Thanks must got to the committee and all volunteers who really have worked miracles fitting in the demands of running a cricket club into their busy personal, work and family lives.

Never have the demands on cricket and club administrators and volunteers been so high. Our commmunities should be thankful we are lucky to have such brilliant people involved and entrusted with the future of our club, as well as the here and now.

Here’s to a long, dry and hot summer ahead.

Looking back at the to do list we set ourselves at the start of the year, possibly with one eye on the likelihood of our season being delayed due to the pandemic, we set ourselves an ambitious development plan. Remarkably we seem to have achieved everything we set out to do in that shortened period of time. Thanks must got to the committee and all volunteers who really have worked miracles fitting in the demands of running a cricket club into their busy personal, work and family lives.

Never have the demands on cricket and club administrators and volunteers been so high. Our communities should be thankful we are lucky to have such brilliant people involved and entrusted with the future of our club, as well as the here and now.

Here’s to a long, dry and hot summer ahead.

Launch of our Hawks Cricket Academy

We are delighted to add to our thriving junior cricket offering at Great Harwood Cricket Club by formally launching our Hawks Cricket Academy for 2021 and beyond.

Our junior cricket section is already thriving, with teams at Under9s, Under 11s, under 13s, Under 15s and Under 18s in the top divisions of the Lancashire Junior League. We also host a successful All Stars Cricket programme for 5-8 year olds, and will this year host a Dynamos course for 8-11 year olds for those newer to the sport.

The move to a formal Academy structure will help our club with our vision to identify and develop young talent, helping young cricketers to develop their skills, attitude and create a cricket culture that will enable them to develop into District and County cricketers.

Paul Newton takes over as Junior Cricket Co-ordinator

Our junior set-up goes from strength to strength every year, and we are also delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Newton to the lead role of junior cricket co-ordinator. He will work alongside Mick Deasey who will continue to support him in the role.

The Professional British Butler School sponsors the Great Harwood Hawks Cricket Academy

We are also delighted to have on board The Professional British Butler School as our lead academy sponsor for 2021. Wayne and his team are very passionate about the development of people in their work, and supporting the development of our junior cricketers sits hand in hand with their ethos of developing young people.

The Managing Director of The Professional British Butler School, Wayne Fitzharris, commented:

‘We’re delighted to support Great Harwood Hawks for the next 5 years and hopefully beyond. We are proud to be investing in the future of the club and our town. Kids deserve great life coaches and I’ve been amazed at how much effort our coaches put in.’

Club Chairman Stuart Maher commented: ‘We are incredibly grateful to Wayne and his team for his long-term commitment to support the growth of our Hawks Cricket Academy. Our already succesful junior teams will only go from strength to strength with continued investment in facilities, equipment and coaching.

‘Everyone at the club looks forward to working together to continue our sporting and personal development of our boys and girls.’

A View from the Balconies – An Update from Your Club Committee

A Review

What a year it’s been. Our country has rarely faced such a challenge, certainly in peace time.

I’d dare say no other committee of this great club of ours will ever face a year like it. And we all hope we never have to again!

We approached the spring and summer of 2020 with such optimism. Optimism that turned to worry, fear and despair in March, April & May of 2020. But, we were able to invest time in our club, providing a break from the troubles of life for so many within our community, despite all the restrictions the pandemic has imposed upon us all.

The club’s committee, its many volunteers, and everyone who has helped us over the last 12 months deserve praise for what we have achieved. We are indebted to club members and supporters for their financial support, without which we may not still have our club.

I have never been prouder to lead the management team behind our club than I have been in the last 12 months. What we achieved is nothing short of remarkable. Despite all our worries and fears, our club is better than it ever was. Our facilities continue to improve. We continue to be a community hub for all of our town.

The Future

We look forward to the 2021 season ahead with so much optimism. Many local businesses, notwithstanding the pandemic, are investing in our community projects, supporting what we do for the benefit of so many. More details will follow over the coming days and weeks.

Finances remain tight, but we will provide as much as we can for the benefit of our community. That is why we are still here. That is why we will always be here.

We hope to see many of you in the weeks and months to come. We will be there for our community. We hope you will be here for us too.

Stuart Maher, Club Chairman, Great Harwood Cricket Club

Captains appointed for 2021 season

The Committee of Great Harwood CC are delighted to announce the appointment of our team captains for the 2021 season.

Allan Armer

1st XI

Allan Armer has been appointed as our 1st XI captain, replacing Matt Oddie who stood down in 2020. The Committee would like to express our thanks to Matt for his service as captain, and wish him well as he returns to the playing ranks.

Allan has captained the 1st XI on a permanent basis before, most notably in 2008 when he led the club to its first Ribblesdale Cricket League title in 108 years. Stuart Maher has been appointed as his vice-captain. We wish them both every success in what we hope will be a season where normality returns to all our lives!

Paul Houldsworth

2nd XI

For the first time in our club’s history we have taken the decision to appoint joint 2nd XI captains in the shape of Russell Whalley & Paul Houldsworth. They bring a combined wealth of priceless experience as they are tasked with developing the next generation of 1st XI cricketers.

3rd XI

Richard Law-Riding will continue to lead our 3rd XI in 2021 and continue his work in developing our junior players into senior cricket in a competitive environmment.

Liam Noon

4th XI

We are also delighted that the continued hardwork of our junior section, led by our coordinator Mick Deasey and his cohort of brilliant managers and coaches, has neccesitated the introduction of our first-ever 4th XI, entered into the Lancashire League Third Divisions alongside our 3rd XI.

We anticipate that this team will allow those keen junior players the opportunity of more senior cricket, to help their development into the next generations of 1st XI cricketers.

We are delighted that Liam Noon has agreed to take on the role of our inaugural 4th XI captain. We wish him all the best for the season ahead.

Ladies Team

Our Ladies Team will once again be led by Vicky Cocken, as the team look to develop throughout 2021 having almost all of their 2020 season wiped out by the COVID-19 crisis

Thikshila De Silva to return as pro in 2021

The Committee of Great Harwood Cricket Club are delighted to confrm that we have again secured the services of professional Thikshila ‘Sanka’ De Silva for the 2021 season.

This is following his successful stint in 2019 and our mutual agreement that he would not be in a position to take up the role in the delayed 2020 season which has just concluded.

Sanka signs again!

In 2019 he scored 838 runs and took 51 wickets in all competitions, with his remarkable 141 against East Lancs the highlight of an entertaining season.

Chairman Stuart Maher said:

‘We are delighted to have secured Sanka’s services at this early stage as we look to plan for 2021 and beyond. It will help us with our ongoing planning and development needs to have him in place for next year and allow us to plan properly throughout the winter.’

‘His attitude from the day he arrived at our club has been nothing short of exceptional, and he has kept in regular touch with all our players since his return to Sri Lanka in September 2019.’

‘We fully believe that notwithstanding the current climate, whereby the very question as to whether we should even have professionals in our leagues has been widey discussed, we feel that he – and the many exceptional talents that have come before him – make such a difference to our club and had no hesitation in re-signing him for 2021.’

‘The example he sets on the field at both practice and in matches to all players, both seniors and juniors, is testament to what he brings to our club. He will continue to help push our players to improve their games, and we can’t wait to have him back with us in April 2021.’

Coronavirus Update – All Cricket Suspended

Following the recommendations & advice received from the England & Wales Cricket Board today, all recreational cricket at all levels is suspended until further notice.

You can read the ECB’s announcement here: https://www.ecb.co.uk/news/1646355

We did however find some time to play some competitive junior cricket before the outbreak. Congratulations to our U-9 and U-15 teams who won their respective competitions. First two cups on the shelf!

There are however some important announcements to make:

1.    Junior Training – following the announcement all remaining indoor training session for juniors have been cancelled. Please keep an eye on the club’s information sources for details of when these will recommence in the blistering sunshine of early-Summer 2020.2. Ladies Cricket – training sessions are also cancelled until further notice. Announcements will be made in due course when outdoor training is scheduled to recommence.

3. Senior Men’s Cricket – all indoor sessions have been cancelled. Announcements will be made to players in respect of outdoor practice sessions, which will be linked to ECB advice.

4. All scheduled cricket fixtures at every level – Men’s, Ladies and Junior cricket – have been postponed. No start date for the 2020 season is yet proposed. Please monitor our website and social media feeds, which we will update once we receive further information from our respective league administrators.

We as a club face an uncertain financial future, and challenging times ahead. We hope that we can reply on you, our members, supporters and followers, to help us in the future.

Winter Nets continue

Our winter nets are well underway, under the beady eye of our Head Coach John Seedle.

They are open to all players, old and new, and take place each Tuesday from 8.00 – 9.30 p.m. at Spirit of Sport, Blessed Trinity RC College, Ormerod Road, Burnley BB10 3AA.

Chairman’s Report from the Annual General Meeting

I am pleased to present my report to members as your Chairman. May I begin by welcoming those in attendance, and thanks to those for the courtesy of their formal apologies.

My annual review this year has a particular theme:          We need your help and support.

Most of what I will report can be improved through members giving more to their club.

Cricket performance

As always I will start by reviewing on the field. It is right to review this first as it remains and always will be the club’s priority.

At 1st XI level, it was as disappointing as it could possibly have been. Our pro, Thikshila de Silva, understandably took time to settle on his first visit to the UK. A change of captain early in the season as Pual Houldsworth stoof down, and our – correct – appointment of a young captain coupled with an -inexperienced 1st XI was always likely to contribute towards an inconsistent season. However, to finish second bottom and have to re-apply for election into the league can only be described as disappointing.

We did win more games than the previous season, but it must be acknowledged that in Division 2 we were playing a poorer standard of cricket than in 2018. To finish 11th out of 12 is not a great outcome.

So, the only way is up. We have 2, and we hope to possibly have 3 or 4 new faces looking for 1st XI cricket, joining or re-joining us, and competition for 1st XI places can only be a good thing.

John Seedle once again did an excellent job as coach, and continues to bring a far more structured approach to practice and 1st XI matchdays. Thanks to him for his support and services throughout 2019, and we are delighted to have him again for 2020 and hopefully for many years to come/.

I would personally like to thank Matt Oddie for taking on the role as captain, we believe the youngest captain in our long history. He will only get better as his years and experience progress.

Turning now to the 2nd XI, led by Russell Whalley. We started the seaon very well, winning 5 of the first 6 matches. But the bright start faded, and we finished winning just 4 of the next 14 league games, to finish 7th out of 12 in Division 2. Our 2nd XI is intended to be our breeding ground for future 1st XI cricketers. But the outcome of only one player under the age of 45 scoring more than 170 league runs, and nobody taking 20 wickets or more, is a cause for concern.

Finally, in terms of senior cricket, our 3rd XI secured a top-half finish, with our young players getting opportunities of developing their skills and abilities against good quality opposition. Now, I will be the first to admit I do not see as much 3rd XI cricket as I would like. Nonetheless, in our group of 7, we finished 3rd, winning 6 out of 10 games played. In the inter-group play offs, we lost both games to finish an effective 9th out of 21 which is still a good outcome. We are however one of very few clubs to offer a genuine 3rd XI team. The vast majority of clubs are only able to field a 3rd XI made up of 2nd XI players and younger 1st XI players. The gap between 3rdXI and 2ndXI cricket, particularly in Div 2, is therefore not so large, and helps keep the 2nd XI competitive at times of player unavailability

The most exciting cricket development of the year was in respect of ladies cricket. We are delighted to have our first formal ladies team, and rule changes are on the agenda at tonight’s meeting to place that team on a formal footing. Thanks must go to Vicky Cocken for getting this team off the ground, as we look to add to our offering for our local community. They remain however a small band of individuals which needs your help and support to help them develop.

Turning to junior cricket, we continue to surpass expectations of a club of our size, in our community, surrounded by multiple other clubs. Mick Deasey, and all the junior managers, do a wonderful job. Special thanks must go to everyone involved. We are acknowledged to be one of the top 3 clubs across all age groups together with Clitheroe and Lowerhouse. They have significant, multiple advantages over our club, and we operate in an area which is overpopulated with league clubs. Nonetheless we enter teams at all age groups, almost always in the top divisions available. The teams continue to challenge for honours at all age goups. The challenge for the club is to develop these players into long term 1st XI cricketers. This is difficult, as we also look to balance the interests and rights of other playing members to a meaningful game of cricket

To summarise ourt cricketing performance overall, there is obvious room for improvement, particularly at senior level. That will only come with hard work, dedication and commitment to one another. We need your help and support.

Groundstaff

2019 was once again a challenging year, but for more familiar reasons. It was very wet for long periods, which is always challenging for part-time groundstaff with other commitments. We have been fortunate to have had groundstaff over the years who worked for such limited cost. Our only option this year was to look somewhat commercially, and Nathan did a good job in difficult circumstances. The lack of support and volunteers is a concern, but we are hopeful to have more bodies in this regard this year. It will however never be enough, and the cost of his expertise may not be sustainable. We need your help and support.

I would also like to thank those members who have helped out, at different stages. Those litter pickers, fixers, movers and tidyers. You know who you are, and do not do it to seek any recognition. We are very grateful for the silent work you do for the benefit of us all.

Clubhouse and facilities

Notwithstanding the quality of our clubhouse and associated facilities, the annual accounts presented to the meeting speak for themselves. It has not been the successful year that we had hoped for. There are a number of possible reasons for those, and undoubtedly all contribute to the lower bar income and room hire. The committee have acted to replace our former stewardess, and we hope that Becky and her new team will settle in quickly.

The clubhouse remains our main asset, and our major income and revenue stream. We all have to look after it, to keep it as the place to have your function in the local area. We need your help and support.

Memberships & Communications

In terms of membership and subscriptions, we had a slight fall in member number in 2019. Special thanks should go to our secretary Richard Law-Riding who stepped in to help with our subscription and membership processes last year, in the short-term absence of our subscriptions secretary as he became a father for the first time. It is a time-consuming role, which when couple with other club responsibilities meant he did go above and beyond for your benefit as members.

In terms of communication to members and the wider-world, i would like to give particular thanks to Neil Kennedy for his help with match reports, and to everyone who has helped in this regard. We see how far these travel, with people reading them all over the world. There are many who still take an interest in the club.

We are aware that we can be better at communicating what is happening at the club, but we simply don’t have the time to do as much as we would like. To get better, we need your help and support.

Sponsorship & Advertising

I would like to thank to all members who have helped renew, secure and develop existing sponsorship arrangements in 2019. We were by no means perfect, but we did our best with the limited time we have available. We try to bring in new businesses to support what we do, but it is very difficult to do so between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m., and at weekends.

We were previously quite reliant on this as a source of income, and we remain in need of financial support from local businesses. We are working as hard as we can on this, but we just don’t have the time to do what we feel we can. We need your help and support.

Financial position

The headline numbers showing the significant loss in our accounts may raise an eyebrow or two, but our wonderful treasurer Michael Perrin will discuss these in his report to follow, and in his notes to the accounts.

I would also like to thank our auditor Adam Newton for preparing the formal accounts on behalf of his club. Thanks for your help and support. It remains needed to save us further professional fees.

100 Club

Once again thanks go to Ian Welsh, and to Shirley Maher for the handover and co-ordination of the 100 Club. It remains a significant income stream for the club, and enables us to make repairs and improvements as and when they are required. Repairs and improvements within our kitchen, and a replacement door to the extended balcony, are just two of the improvements in the last 12 months which the funds raised have been used for the benefit of all members and their guests.

Our Management Committee

We have a very small management committee here at our club at present, which has hovered around the 10 member mark for a number of years. We have 2 part-time employees, for the bar and on the ground. Members should consider what this club offers, and what those individuals deliver for the benefit of everyone who comes to our club.

The people that make up this committee are brilliant, talented individuals. What they achieve on a monthly basis is astonishing. I would not swap any of them, for any committee member, at any other club. They achieve all that they do despite – almost exclusively – having full time jobs, family responsibilities or other voluntary posts.

I invite members to consider your key officials now, here on this top table. We as individuals should not be the members running this club, at our stage in life. But we are in this position, and we do have so many ideas a plans of how we would like to move this club forward. But the lack of numbers – and crucially, free time – prevents us from moving the club forward as fast as we would like.

So we need you. We need your help. More importantly, we need you to commit your time to help.

When you take on a role such as we do, you do so in the hope that you get something back. Not financially, but in a much wider sense. But when you ask 10-12 individuals to manage an organisation like ours, for no pay, and for so long as we have, it becomes disheartening and it is often that disinterest which leads people to walk away. It becomes unenjoyable, and that is the biggest danger this club faces at this time.

New members in the running of the club always bring new ideas, a fresh impetus. We have benefitted in this regard in the last 12 months. But we need your help and support.

It doesn’t need to be formal. It can be a promise to help out with a certain aspect. Training can be given on anything. Your skills are transferable, whenever they may have been acquired. Without the input of more members, this club will only go backwards, not forwards as it is perfectly placed to do so.

In Conclusion

Our club remains in a solid position. We have no debt, and some capital reserved for repairs, improvements and developments. Members benefit from a brillaintly talented band of volunteers. But we need your help and support to help this club achieve its potential.

 

Stuart Maher

Great Harwood CC Club Chairman

17th February 2020

Hawks Shine in District Team Victory

Yesterday (Monday 20th May 2019) five of our Hawks Under 11s formed part of the Hyndburn District side that took on Wyre District at Rishton Cricket Club. 

Our representatives were: William Armer, Jacob Houldsworth, Aniq Hussain, Sam Newton and William Thomson.

Hyndburn batted first and scored 197-5 from our allotted 35 overs.

William Thomson top scored with an impressive 76* including eleven 4s, and Aniq also contributed significantly with 31*. Together, and with a decent helping of extras, they put on an unbroken 140 for the 6th wicket, having come together with the side in trouble at 57-5. 

In response, Wyre could only score 98-9. Sam (7-2-9-2), Jacob (4-0-8-2) and William Armer (6-2-5-1) all making important contributions, before Rishton’s Evan Dobson took a hat-trick with the last three balls of the game. 

A great win. We’ll look to keep you updated on further progress. 

2018 Hawks Junior Fixtures

Our Hawks Junior Section begin the 2018 season this coming week. Ahead of this, all 2018 Hawks Junior Fixtures are now available to view on our Junior Cricket page.

Please note the nature of the fixture scheduling means some of the listed dates are subject to change as the season progresses, but we’ll ensure the page is kept up to date so this page can be used as a reference.

We’ll also add all results and scores as the matches are played.

Hawks Junior Cricket 2018

Hawks U9s win Hyndburn Indoor Competition

Yesterday our Hawks Under 9s followed up on previous success by our U13s and U15s by winning their version of the Hyndburn Indoor Cricket Tournament.
In the semi-final, Allan Armer’s side took on Baxenden, scoring 260-1 (255) thanks to 18 from William Armer and 13 from Thomas Henderson, before restricting Baxenden to 237-3 (222), with Scott Duckworth (1-2) and William Armer (1-3) the pick of the bowlers.
In the final, we took on Rishton. Bowling first, we restricted them to 221-2 (211) with Max Cocken taking 2-2.  Careful batting meant we closed on 232-1 (227), taking the title with a 16 run victory.
Congratulations to all involved. Our team comprised William Armer, Max Cocken, Joshua Duckworth, Scott Duckworth, Thomas Henderson and Jonathan Wilson.
Victory means we have won three of the four age range versions of this competition in 2018, a very positive start to the year. Attention now turns to the season itself, as we look to follow up on a successful 2017 in the Lancashire Junior Cricket League.