River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Gooderstone CC - End of Season Review 2005

October 2005

An excellent summation of the seasons performance from the Gooderstone cricket club

On the back of England's wonderful success in the Ashes this summer, and in the hope of reaping some reward at a local level from the resurgence in popularity of the fine old game, this seems the ideal opportunity to reflect on our local cricket club, and its contrasting fortunes this season.

Gooderstone CC - An Overview

Gooderstone is the archetypical village cricket club. It has been in existence for over 100 years, and a good many of the players live in the village itself, with some families tracing their involvement back though several generations. In addition, meetings and events are held at the village pub, The Swan whose support over the years is greatly appreciated, as is the support of the Parker family whose generosity have allowed us to create a most picturesque ground.

This season has proved to be a transitional one for the club, which has been impacted by red tape and legislation as much as any organisation across the land over the last few years. The impact has been such that at our last AGM it was noted that "It's not just village cricket anymore". With aspects such as health & safety legislation, additional insurance requirements and new regulations in respect of child safety, the concept of the old cricket club has in many ways gone, and now, even the smallest club now requires a degree of professional management and administration.

Like all local clubs, we are very dependent on individuals giving their time voluntarily, and we have also had some club officials who have worked for the club over a very long time, who, for a variety of reasons, have left or are leaving their posts over this season. Our long term Chairman Willis Johnson, the Club Secretary Rosie Sutterby, and her husband and primary groundsman Pete, have together provided nearly a century of commitment to ensure the club was kept going even through the toughest times, and to them we are very grateful, as well as to those who are still with us, and working as hard as ever.

Gooderstone has two league sides that play in the West Norfolk League & a Sunday XI that plays friendlies. Currently the club survives on a player pool of approximately 35 members which includes a number of youngsters, who often play along side their fathers when the numbers are short. The struggle to find players who can devote the time week in week out over the season continues, looking at last year's scorecards eleven players who played last year have not played during the 2005 season, and only 14 players have been able to take part in more than 50% of the games played this season.

Of course, one of the benefits of cricket over many other sports is that young and old can take part with equal footing, with the elder statesmen respected for their tactical nous and experience, as much as the young guns for their energy, and ability to chase after the ball. So the teams on the field have spanned the ages, and it was great to see so many old and friendly faces from the past unite for an invitation game to join in the celebrations for another great club servant, Andrew Merton who marked his 50th playing season in an invitation game earlier this year.

It has also been an expensive season for a small club. This year both the tractor, and gang mowers needed replacing, and the loam required for repairing the square costs approximately £1,000 per annum. We have some loyal sponsors in Clanpress, ANB Pine, and Breckland Pest Control, and we supplement their contributions with a range of fund raising events such as the keenly contested Quiz Nights the last one raised £190 at the beginning of September, a Summer Fete, and the occasional need to ask the players for contributions in excess of the match fees and annual subscriptions.

The Teams

Gooderstone 1st XI

League position: 2nd in West Norfolk League Division 2

The 1st XI won promotion to West Norfolk League Division One, finishing runners up to Grimston in the closest league for many seasons.

The season had started with some trepidation as three of the 4 opening batsmen were no longer at the club for a variety of reasons, which in addition removed two of the regular bowlers. The 2004 season had ended with a win required on the final day to stave off the threat of relegation, and therefore with such personnel changes in the team, a season long fight against the drop to Division 3 was expected.

However, out of the adversity a new stronger team spirit emerged, and a series of excellent bowling performances, and raising the game in the field secured a number of victories, when across the whole season the batting line up tended to be on the frail side, with a score of over 200 achieved on only two occasions.

Also telling was the fact that when required someone in the team came up with a match winning performance be it with the bat or ball, and it was nice to see that these performances were spread across the team and not just down to one or two individuals.

Gooderstone 2nd XI

League position: 9th in West Norfolk League Division 5

Unfortunately the 2nd XI failed to win a league match and finished at the bottom of West Norfolk Division 5. The loss of players from the 1st XI, meant that they needed a constant stream of replacements from the 2nd XI's ranks. The upshot was that the 2nd's had to forfeit some games for lack of a team, when the need of the 1st XI to maintain its promotion chase was paramount and a reversal of fortune whereby in the 2004 season the 1st XI were in danger of relegation, and the 2nd XI were chasing promotion.

Worthy of mention are Derek Vine who's batting held the side together in the early part of the season, and was the second highest wicket taker, and who was sorely missed when he was injured, and the ever present Andrew Boughen who ended up as the clubs leading wicket taker this season capturing 42 scalps in all competitions.

On the positive side it gave the opportunity for four under 16's to participate in virtually every match, which not only raised the standard of all aspects of their game, but also proved to be an invaluable contribution to the club. It certainly bodes well for the future to see these talented youngsters waiting in the wings, and we hope to uncover several more through the Colts.

Plans for the Future

This season the club restarted its Colts side with training sessions for boys & girls of all ages on a Saturday morning, led by a qualified coach. The inaugural fixture for the latest incarnation of the Colts side against Castle Acre resulted in a resounding victory for the Gooderstone youngsters, and there appears to be some real talent in the local area.

In the close season the club is encouraging more of its members to attend coaching courses to ensure that this good initiative continues and gains momentum in the coming seasons.

The club is also considering entering a side in the Winter Indoor League for the first time, in order to keep the membership active over the winter period.

What next?

The primary reason for publicising the club and its activities is to ensure that it can continue to flourish for another hundred years, and go on providing enjoyment and camaraderie for young and old alike.

So if you -

Want to play,

Have a child who wants to play,

Want to help out with the ground,

Want to help out with sponsorship, or fundraising.

Want to attend an event.

Please do not wait until next year to contact us.

We are also investigating the possibility of taking part in the ECB's Cricket Force 2006, which is an initiative developed as part of the ECB's Natwest Volunteer programme - with ECB encouraging cricket clubs throughout England and Wales to undertake renovations to their clubhouses and grounds.

One final request, we are trying to put together a historical picture of the club, so if anyone has any photographs newspaper articles, or any items associated with the club, we would be excited to see them.

We also have a new website: www.gooderstone.play-cricket.com which has a host of information, fixtures, results, match reports, events and photos.

Gordon Mitcheson-Smith

07780 640269

email: gooderstonecc@yahoo.co.uk

Next Event: Quiz Night

25th November 2005

7.30 PM

The Swan, Gooderstone

Gordon Mitcheson-Smith

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