Chairman's blog - 26 April
Posted on 26th April 2020 at 11:17
Since my last blog a lot seems to have happened. The most important from a cricket perspective is the work that Matt Summerhill, David Ward and I have done in just over a week on a proposed merger between our league and the South Yorkshire League.
The request for a merger to be considered came from club representatives at a meeting at the beginning of March, and there are good reasons for it. For example, we could:
• benefit from economies of scale – only one treasurer, disciplinary panel, safeguarding officer, etc
• reduce the number of meetings and remove duplicate correspondence to clubs
• ensure consistency in rules
• improve our ability to attract a significant sponsor
• maximise ECB funding determined by number of clubs
David, Matt and I started the ball rolling with a video conference on Friday 17th, at which we exchanged ideas and agreed on a basic framework. Since then, I have prepared a discussion document for our committees, which has twice gone to David and Matt for their input, and we now have a document that we feel represents a sensible way forward.
The next stage will be to seek comments from the respective committees, consider and amend the document where necessary, and then send out to the clubs for their comments. We will have a discussion on the subject at our League Management Committee this Thursday. With no cricket actually taking place, there is an opportunity to spend some time making sure that we get this right, and I want to ensure that we do so.
I want to pay tribute to David for the constructive approach he has brought to this work. David and I have different philosophies in some ways, but we always both want the best for our leagues. Matt has a foot in both camps, and his common sense and business organisation knowhow make him ideally placed to play a key role. There is much good in both leagues, and I do not want us to lose that. The main principles for me are that there should be minimum disruption for clubs, we should have a clear streamlined governance structure, and that we must consider the needs of all our clubs, regardless of their status. I think we have made very good progress so far.
I hope that in coming weeks I shall be able to bring you yet more positive news on how things are progressing.
In terms of the prospects for cricket itself, it is clear that ECB are very keen that there should be recreational cricket this season, and they will take that approach into their discussions at national level. We are unlikely to hear more until a couple of weeks into May, but we need to be prepared for whatever happens. On Friday, I sent out a questionnaire to our clubs to seek their views on a variety of issues concerned with the return to playing, if and when this happens in 2020. We will have a full discussion on the subject on Thursday, armed with the feedback from clubs, so that we are best placed to make decisions on the way forward. I shall continue to keep everyone updated on how our discussions go.
At the same meeting, Gareth Davis will give us a presentation on what is available to help clubs through Government Grants, Sport England Emergency Community Grants, Local Authority rate relief, ECB Emergency Loans and the Return to Cricket Grant. We get a lot of emails about different things that are available, and it can be very confusing. Gareth will summarise the key elements that may be available for our clubs, and I will pass this information on in as simple a way as possible!
Away from cricket, I am writing a daily series of articles for the Rovers club website, most of which are based on the principle of ‘on this day…’ In the absence of ‘live rugby’ they like to have something on the website to keep people interested. I have gone back in one article so far 118 years, but fascinating though that may be to old fogeys like me, a lot of the audience go back less than twenty years, and the pieces about more recent time are usually most popular. Today I covered a game eleven years ago when we were doing well, so the readers will probably enjoy that. I am also going through my season-by-season playing records reformatting them for a new website to be launched by the Rugby League Recordkeepers Club – probably around 25 hours of work in all!
Like other sporting institutions, the majority of Rovers paid staff, including players, are furloughed. The club had arranged three big concerts for the summer with top household names (well I’d heard of Tom Jones but not the other two – as I say, I’m an old fogey though). However, these will obviously now not take place, and there will be a huge hole in the club finances. Just another example of the really difficult times for supporting clubs at most levels.
On a personal level, I keep getting reminders of how lucky I am. Friends and neighbours of my age group keep saying that they have run out of things to do, and are having difficulty filling their time. With my cricket and rugby work, twice-weekly shopping for ourselves and four other households, daily one-hour walks, and cooking and housework, I usually can’t find much time for the reading and photographical stuff I like to do! Far better that way though, and I feel really sorry for those who are struggling in the current times.
Another who is lucky is my three-year old grand-daughter. She gets to spend lots of time with mummy and daddy and her little brother, and gets plenty of attention. She goes for walks and bike-rides and paints and does baking - she is having a whale of a time. I'm not so sure about the home-schooling though. I see little evidence of learning nursery thymes, but as we drove away having delivered shopping yesterday, she stood in the doorway belting out, 'Glory, glory Tottenham Hotspur' - and she knew all the right words and in the right order!!!
I am really sorry that we can’t offer some cricket to occupy people – what glorious days for play the last two Saturdays would have been. There is always a sense of frustration during the season when the weather is brilliant but there is no play going on – I suspect we will get used to that feeling this year.
I shall be back with another blog in a fortnight, so till then, keep well and stay safe!
Photo: the River Hull in all its beauty!
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