Chairman's Report to the Annual General Meeting

Twelve months ago, in my third annual report, I wrote that 2012 had been a challenging year that had been dominated by poor weather. Two thousand and thirteen was completely the opposite with glorious summer in which the majority of matches were played and clubs and the game returned to a far healthier state. We watched with pride Heather Knight playing in the Ashes series and Jamie Overton being selected for the England one-day squad. We were delighted to see our under 17 girls reaching a national final and our under 17 boys and Under 15 girls reached their national semi finals, with some outstanding individual and team performances. The awards evening for youth cricket at Sandy Park was once again a huge success celebrating the achievements of many of our more talented cricketers. Alan Swift was rightly awarded the Brian Hayter Cup for his contribution to youth cricket. Alan has stood down from running our under 15 side. We acknowledge and appreciate the massive contribution Alan has made as an age group manager over a number of years and hope he continues his positive work with the Devon Youth Cricket Foundation and the South African tour.

Four players were selected for the under 19's inaugural tour of South Africa. Amara Carr, Aylish Cranston, Lydia Harris and Cait O'Keeffe made up the biggest contingent from one county in the squad. Ben Green was selected for the England Development Program and we continue to be impressed by many of our young cricketers making their way in the professional game. Continuing with the South Africa theme George Greenaway and Stephen George enjoyed successful tour to South Africa with the England Deaf X!

The County side are plainly building a strong Devon bred team with a new Captain and Director which will bring rewards. The amalgamation under Devon Cricket of the positive features of the under 19s and the Devon Lions can only improve their prospects of success. The Devon Women’s side did well to maintain their status in Division 2 with a young side that will only get better.

Our professional staff have provided great support to our clubs over the last twelve months. The club seminar in March at Exeter University was an even bigger success than last year. The seminars on groundsmanship, communication with young people, funding, coach education, facilities and finance seem to give the clubs the information and support they need and maintained the strong link between the DCB office and Devon clubs. Additionally having the NatWest Cricket Force Showcase was a real coup for Heathcote Cricket Club. The appreciation expressed my Mike Gatting of the leadership and hard work of John Smith, Heathcote’s chairman, was richly deserved. The staff has adapted well to some glitches in funding, Chance to Shine appeared to be in a funding difficulty and the changes to the Sport England contract with the ECB meant that money needed to be moved to different areas of work while still maintaining support to the Clubs and Organisations Devon Cricket. All parts of Devon Cricket continue to develop and change, the single brand Devon Cricket was an attempt to unify all of our organisations under one umbrella and has been well supported across our membership. I am pleased to report that the advice the DCB and DCCC received from the ECB twelve months ago was enthusiastically acted upon and relationships in many areas are far healthier than they were. Those who were willing to negotiate and move forward are to be commended.

Twelve months ago Graham Pascoe indicated that he wished to relinquish his responsibilities as Webmaster. It cannot be overestimated the part our website has played unifying and supporting cricket in Devon Cricket over the last twelve years. Graham has provided splendid technical support to us throughout this period; we thank him and wish him well in his retirement. Similarly Andy Davis indicated that he wished to stand down as the Board Member representing North Devon, Andy has represented the district with distinction and we already are missing a voice from the North of our County. We again thank and wish him well. Due to business demands Phil Attwell stood down as our non-executive director. Although only with us for a relatively short period he has made a significant impact in drawing together various parts of Devon Cricket. He will be a hard act to follow that has given us clarity around what skills and attributes we need for non-executive director. We greatly appreciate the contribution he has made. Finally Martin Webb indicated that he wished to relinquish one of the roles he undertakes in Devon cricket, that of Chairman of the Youth Association. It was plain that we were unlikely to find a replacement who would be able to give the amount of time and commitment that Martin has given over the past 17 years. We are fortunate that Martin remains in post as Board Secretary and will offer in the short term his services to the new Devon Youth Association as treasurer. This has led to a reorganisation within the Devon Youth Association, which is being led by Jim Parker. We should just pause for a minute and appreciate all that Martin has achieved as Chair of the Youth Association over the last 17 years – a massive contribution.

Two thousand and fourteen promises to be a year of change, new personnel taking on roles within Devon Cricket and some changes brought about by the alteration of funding from Sport England. There is now a requirement that we spend a considerable amount of funding on our work with people with disabilities and put a greater emphasis of encouraging more people to play more often with a particular emphasis on adults. This will undoubtedly create some tensions. You will hear about Eureka, aligning the network, player surveys, customer focus, insight and an outcomes framework and I am sure many more. With the wide range of skills and enthusiasm that our volunteers and staff continue to show I am sure we will be up to the task even if on occasions we don’t understand the language!

Finally, as with most organisations it often comes down to the money! As a result of ECB grant reductions twelve months ago we were facing a £24K deficit. With careful management and at times some difficult and unpopular decisions this has been reduced to an £8K deficit. In addition we now have adjusted our budget to reflect a small surplus in 2013/14. The directors have tried to abide by the principle of not reducing the cricket played but ensuring we make sound and defendable financial decisions. I think your directors are to be congratulated, Jon Sparkes and Matt Theedom in particular.

                                                                                                                                                  Jim Wood 9th December 2013

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