Chairman's Report 2012

2012 has been a challenging year that has been dominated by the weather, its immediate effect on the field and the consequences for the future of clubs and the longer term future of the game requires us all to work much closer to ensure the game is strong enough to withstand such pressures.

With such a difficult season there is always a tendency to concentrate on the more negative aspects. I do believe, however, it is important we also acknowledge our strengths and achievements as these will be vital in taking us forward and sustaining us in difficult times.

Devon has a strong and improving record in giving our most talented players the opportunity to be the best they can. Watching Craig and Jamie Overton playing in the under 19 World Cup, as well as making positive contributions alongside Lewis Gregory and Adam Dibble for Somerset, demonstrated the strength of Cricket Development in the County. 

At the same time Heather Knight and Jodie Dibble were awarded MCC contracts with Heather being a prominent member of the England Squad and Jodie for the Development XI.

We were delighted to see them at the annual awards evening at Sandy Park. 
An inspiring event that enabled us to celebrate many outstanding achievements by our young Cricketers. The event rightly acknowledged the work of Ted Ashman in organising the awards for the previous 15 years.
We wish you a speedy recovery Ted.

Jack Maunder, Sam Wyatt-Haines and Ollie Sale were offered places on the Academies at Notts and Somerset and Amara Carr featured in the England under 19 Squad. Dominic Bess and Jack Maunder represented West of England in the Bunbury Festival and the under 12s won the Taunton Festival. 

The county supplied five players to the England Women Development Under 15 competition (Cait O’Keefe, Alli Kelly, Millie Squire, Jessie Jones and Lily Helston) and five to the Under 19 competition (Jodie Dibble, Amara Carr, Rebecca Bertrand, Cait O’Keefe and Lydia Harris).

In adult cricket George Greenaway and Steven George featured in the England Deaf XI and on the domestic front Sidmouth won the League and Devon Cup. 

As well as featuring prominently in the National Club Strategy Chris Theedom was selected for the England over 60s.

The County side was never given any realistic opportunity to defend their Minor Counties Championship title. Their chances were wrecked by rain particularly in home games with away games only faring slightly better. In the cup they were narrowly beaten at the quarter final stage by Wiltshire.

On a more positive note I was delighted to see Geoff Evans being made a life member of the MCC for his sustained contribution to Minor Counties Cricket.

The rain caused a huge disruption across the County, most severely at Budleigh Salterton whose ground was submerged twice in 2012. Many other clubs have been flooded. The water damage has coincided with decreases in income for clubs, a challenging economic climate, fewer games and the prospect of a reducing number of players.

All of this has put considerable pressure on clubs as they try and balance the books and retain and recruit people to cricket.

With this in mind the DCB is targeting sustainability as the theme for the club seminar on 21st March 2013. The 2012 club seminar was well received by clubs and we hope to build on this in 2013. The intention is to assist clubs to maintain a strong presence in their communities that ensures the game builds on a sound footing.

The DCB is facing the same financial difficulties as many small businesses. The future funding from Sport England is unsure. Other sources of funding are changing and in the immediate future much of the CDM's time will be involved in income generation to ensure the same standard of support to cricket in Devon.

The DCB has also seen some changes in personnel. We have welcomed the positive and helpful contributions Phil Attwell has made in his first year as our Non-Executive Director.

Andy Fairbairn was successful in a securing the CDM post in Somerset and we have been fortunate to recruit Matt Cooke as CDO, Matt has already made a favourable impression with clubs and schools in his work with Chance to Shine. We also welcome Scott Chappell appointed as Community Coach targeting the South Devon area.

The Development Plan was published giving us some clarity in the outcomes for Cricket in Devon over the next four years and our website has had an overhaul hopefully making it an attractive prospect for advertisers. The first year of ‘online scores’ has been a huge success transforming Saturday internet hits from the quietest period to one of the busiest. 

Our CDM Matt Theedom warrants our appreciation for his achievements not only in this but his commitment in leading a highly committed professional team. 

2013 offers a real opportunity for developing strong partnerships across the cricket community in Devon. We have had some advice as to how we may progress. That hopefully will enable those who administer the game to achieve the same high standards as the players. 

The game is after all about the players and 2013 is for me about asking them, listening to their views and responding to their needs.

Finally my thanks to Conrad Sutcliffe who continues to excel in editing this excellent reference.

James Wood 
Chairman, DCB 

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