Now that the Winter Solstice is over and the days begin to lengthen, it is time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the future and hopefully sunny days ahead.
2019 A Year of Memories
2019 was for the Youth and Ladies Sections quite momentous; a year of growth, opportunity and experience. The number of children registered as members grew by over a third compared to 2018 and we have had representative teams in 6 different age groups, giving over 70 children the opportunity to represent the club. This is definitely the most that MACC has had in over a decade and quite remarkable given that as recently as 2016 we had barely scraped together an Under 11s and an Under 15s team; though the seeds had been sown with a strong Under 9s.
In 2019, for the first time we ran the All Stars programme, which saw 16 youngsters take their first steps in cricket; three of whom – Zayn, Ammar and Sam – have begun their transition into the main youth section.
Tribute must therefore be paid to all of our coaches, managers and helpers with whom none of this would have been possible.
Under 15s – Jo and Tony
Under 13s – Margaret
Under 11s – Duncan and Jules
Under 10s – Graham, Julian, Damian, Sam, Dan, James, Chris and Mark who have all helped throughout
We must always remember three other people with whose selfless help throughout the year have made many of our Friday evenings and other youth events run so well; Steve Hall, Kate and Angela.
And finally, for the first time in at least a decade we had a ladies’ section. More about that later.
We cannot reflect on the past year without remembering someone who was one of the Youth Section’s biggest supporters.
Many of you will remember him as a slightly grumpy old goat who was always telling the children off for running on the square, but underneath that gruff exterior was someone who took great pleasure in seeing the children’s enjoyment and progress in cricket week-in, week-out.
We are of course referring to Thommo – Alan Thomas; rugby star, groundsman and maître chef de BBQ. We can all be certain that he’ll be looking down on us at the end of this year with great pride and satisfaction.
Progress in Leagues
On the field of play, it has again been a year of great progress. Our Youth Teams have played almost 50 league and festival matches. At all times they have demonstrated the values that we as a club enshrine; friendliness and hospitality, respect and sportsmanship.
It was a steep learning curve again for many of our teams against, in some cases, very hard-nosed oppositions. However, the playing standard and match awareness have improved so much that on two occasions the opposition managers were so fearful of losing to us that they engineered situations where their teams were almost guaranteed to win. In one case, that team still finished below MACC in the table!
Reflecting further on that improvement, it is particularly pleasing to report that this year we nominated a record number of children for county trials (at least in recent memory). It is not a decision that we took lightly, as there are many challenges to face and it must be right for the individual. Our county triallists and representatives this year were:
Toby, Aleem, Zayn, Charlie, Sophie, Jacob, Stephen, Yusuf, Arden, Kofi and Basit.
All performed with great credit, received much positive feedback and valuable tips to help them progress, as well as being outstanding representatives of the club and their families (as told to me by the Warwickshire Cricket Board). Out of that group we are pleased to report that Toby, Aleem, Charlie and Stephen have been selected for the County Squads and Development Squads for their respective age groups.
Also, in further demonstration of the progress made by the Ashfield Youth, 10 of our section represented the senior teams (4ths, 3rds and 2nds) with great distinction this year.
Tom P, Tom K, Kofi, Krishan, Asad, Basit, Nandi, Arden, Rapha, Rizwan and Yusuf.
The future is bright here at MACC. Strong foundations have been laid and we are of course always seeking to improve the standard and cricket experience for everyone within what we hope is a friendly and inclusive culture.
Undoubtably, the highlight of the year was the visit of the Fishrite Hanover Park Club from Cape Town, South Africa, getting to meet Moeen Ali and appearing on the TV. It was an unforgettable experience in so many ways for everyone who was there. The first match was scheduled for Tuesday 6th August and though the weather intervened with two downpours of biblical proportions to prevent the match being played, a memorable day was had by all, as has been reported many times already on the social media pages
Fortunately, owing to a cancellation by another club, the fixture was able to be rearranged for Thursday 8th August. A closely fought match resulted in a win for Ashfield by 21 runs, but the match was noted for outstanding sportsmanship from both teams.
The Hanover Park club gave their tour the hashtag #BreakingBoundaries and the two days certainly demonstrated that the spirit of cricket knows no boundaries. We were presented with a limited edition print of the celebrated Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town by the Hanover Park Club. It’s now framed and will take its rightful place in our pavilion for all to see and enjoy and remember the good times we had.
Still the memorable times kept coming, on 1st September, we held our fourth and we could almost say, annual, Under 9s Festival. Though only 4 teams arrived on the day, a most enjoyable time was had by all and we received many compliments and words of thanks from our guests from Harborne, Kings Heath and Solihull Blossomfield.
Then on Friday 10th September came our awards evening, a wonderful evening of celebration and festivity. Congratulations have to go to the award winners of course, but the sentiments expressed on the certificates that were presented to all the children (some of which still need to be collected) tell the bigger picture and hopefully indicate what we as a club aspire to be.
In amongst all of this we had our ladies’ teams taking part in their first festivals and performing with great credit. On Sunday 4th August, they took part in their first competitive softball festival and finished as runners-up to Kings Heath, a much longer established and experienced outfit. Whilst the Under 9s Festival was running, they took part in their second one, winning one of their two matches. In the coming year, we’re looking to secure coaching and new equipment for our ladies to make their experience all the more rewarding as well as seeking to host our own ladies’ festival. Well done to Pippa Beard for getting all of this off the ground.
And so, just as we thought that was that, rumours abounded that the Cricket World Cup Trophy and Moeen were going to pay a visit to the club, but many things have been promised over the years…
World Cup Trophy Comes to Ashfield
However, it gradually became apparent that our expectations were going to be realised. The ECB had planned to take the trophy on tour to the first clubs of five of the squad; Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Eoin Morgan, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali. So on Friday 15th October, along came the ECB World Cup Trophy team with a brief for us to do some training drills, a Q&A session with Moeen and give everyone who wanted the chance to have their picture taken with the trophy.
Not only that, the ECB produced and published a video describing the tour, which can be found on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Looking Forward to 2020
And there is so much to look forward to…
We aim to continue building on past successes, learning from our experiences (and mistakes!) in order to give as many boys, girls and ladies as possible an enjoyable and fulfilling experience as well as developing our elite level players.
The Youth Section will have the following structure this year:
Youth Section Manager – Rob Green
Child Welfare Officer – Angela Brown
Rob and Angela will be working closely with our coaches, age group managers and leaders; Jo Ind, Tony Thapar, Margaret Carmody, Duncan Wilson, Jules Newman, Kasir Shah, Adrian Stephens and Alex Perry.
And to this end we will be entering teams into the following competitions:
- Under 9s/10s: softball league and festivals
- Under 11s: Warwickshire Premier League – hard ball, Monday evenings, 20-over matches (We will have five county representatives in the squad)
- Under 12s: pairs – hard ball, away matches on weekdays, home matches Monday evenings
- Under 13s: Warwickshire Championship – hard ball, Sunday mornings, 25-over matches
- Under 15s: Warwickshire Championship – hard ball, Sunday mornings, 25-over matches
- Under 17s: 20/20 – post-exams late June/July
This year we have opted to use the sports hall at Bishop Challoner Catholic School. This gives us more flexibility as with a bigger space we can use practice nets whilst also working on other skills, such as fielding, catching and wicketkeeping. These sessions will take place on Friday evenings from 5.00 until 6.15 pm, with an initial cost of £4 per session (this may be amended depending on attendance). The sessions will be as follows, based on current school year ages:
- Fridays 10, 17, 24, 31 January: Year 8 and upwards
- Friday 7 February: Year 7 and below, including those transitioning to hard ball
- Friday 14 February: Year 8 and upwards
- Friday 21 February: Year 7 and below
- Friday 28 February: Year 8 and upwards
- Friday 6 March: Year 7 and below
- Friday 13 March: Year 8 and upwards
- Friday 20 March: Year 7 and below
- Friday 27 March: Year 8 and upwards
In order for your child to take part in these sessions, you will need to register them beforehand and sign a consent form at the first session that they take part in.
Registration and Membership Fees
This year, and in all subsequent years, registration for membership will run from January 1st until December 31st. This can be done by completing the following online form:
Membership subscriptions will be due from 1st April 2020 and will need to be paid by the end of that month. We expect that these will remain at the same level as in 2019 (subject to confirmation at the club’s Annual General Meeting in January)
- £85.00 for first child, £60 for second and subsequent children
- £30 ladies and associate (social) members
Volunteering At Ashfield
Everyone we’ve mentioned earlier in the newsletter is an unpaid volunteer and happy to be so. However, with the continual growth of the youth and ladies’ sections it would be great if there were a few more of us. We know that there are many of you out there with many skills and talents that could help us to take things to the next level.
Please do have a think as to what you might be able to help us out with; as little or as much as you feel able. It doesn’t have to be every week; once or twice during the season would help. Things that you could consider are umpiring, scoring, helping managers with admin, providing refreshments, running the bar, club and ground maintenance and anything else that we probably haven’t even thought of. For any of you that would like to get involved with coaching, we can provide guidance and assisted places on ECB approved courses leading to formal qualifications. Any of the managers mentioned will be able to point you in the right direction.
Although we won’t have the Cricket World Cup, here’s hoping for a memorable and enjoyable 2020 for everybody at Moseley Ashfield.