AGM November 25th

26/11/2013 17:18

The Club AGM was held on Monday, November 25th.

Captains and officers were appointed for the coming year, the only change from 2013 being in the 3rd XI, where Brett Cobley takes over the vice-captaincy.  We wish him well in his role.

In order to synchronise more closely the financial year with the cricketing year, the accounts presented were for the nine months from January 1st to September 30th. Henceforth, the financial year will run from October 1st to September 30th instead of from January 1st to Dec 31st.  This will enable the AGM to be held in autumn or early winter and receive up to date accounts.

The meeting accepted the annual report, which is given below.




A semi-final appearance in a national competition, solid performances and a promotion in the league, a visit by the England Captain, the purchase of the adjoining field on our behalf and the publication of Alan Partington’s history of the club: it is pleasing this evening to be able to report another year of substantial progress and achievement both on and off the pitch.

The first, second and third XIs all started the season with new captains, all of whom can look back on the summer with satisfaction and be pleased with the achievements and development of their teams.

Following the promotion of the 1st and 3rd XIs in 2012, the aim for this season was for both teams to consolidate their position in the higher division and for at least one other team to be promoted.  These aims were realized with both 1st and 3rds finishing in comfortable mid-table positions and the 4th XI gaining promotion to Division 9 for the first time.  The Second XI had their best season since being placed in Division 5 South and were able to mount a serious promotion challenge before finishing in 3rd place.

The First XI, captained by Mark James, proved hard to beat in the league and did exceptionally well to reach the semi-finals of the Davidstow Cheddar sponsored National Village competition, falling at the last hurdle with a Lord’s final in sight. The team also reached the semi-final of the DCCL Marston’s Smooth Trophy, losing on run-rate in a rain-affected game, always an unsatisfactory way in which to be defeated.

A mid-table league position hides the fact that several drawn games might have been won with more judicious shot selection at times, and the fact that the only three defeats were against the eventual promoted sides, but one feature of the season which cannot be concealed was the excellent team spirit and work ethic. 

Within this strong team ethos there were a series of fine individual performances by several players.

Gareth Marshall was his usual calm, reliable self, scoring over 1,000 runs in all competitions, whilst Tom Rutter and Alex Britton enjoyed excellent seasons of around 700 runs apiece, with the captain weighing in with nearly 500.  Tom scored the only century of the season, 110 against Sawley and Long Eaton, but Alex, Mark and Gareth all went close.

The batting had strength in depth, which meant that when victory was denied, the lower-order batsmen were well capable, both technically and mentally, of playing out the overs.

The bowling was again notable for the contribution of the  “spin twins” of Luke Nelson and Australian Scott Baker.

Scott has spent two very successful seasons with us, and will be greatly missed.

He took 69 wickets in league and cup matches in 2013– a remarkable total when one considers that he was ineligible for the village competition.  His eight-wicket haul against Rolls-Royce was the best individual analysis since the club joined the Derbyshire County League. 

Luke contributed an impressive total of 52 wickets, three fewer than Alex Britton whose return to fitness was a huge bonus, enabling him to produce some devastating spells.  His death bowling against Astwood Bank was particularly destructive and turned the match.

New member Ben Liversage adjusted well to Division One cricket, whilst the other bowlers all did well when called upon.

The cup competitions were dominated by the National Village competition, which produced some outstanding cricket, notably in the national stage matches against Colwall and Astwood Bank.  Both matches “went down to the wire” in nerve-jangling finishes and will long remain in the memory of those fortunate to witness them.

The high-scoring match at Colwall, played on a beautiful summer’s afternoon in the idyllic setting of the Malvern Hills epitomized all that is best in the sport, whilst the home game against Astwood Bank not only resulted in a narrow victory but also in record-breaking bar receipts after herculean efforts from members to get the ground fit following an overnight deluge.

Unfortunately, we had to make the long trip to Cumbria to play the semi-final and several factors conspired against us in our attempt to reach the final, but at least we lost to the eventual winners and had the satisfaction of knowing that the team had done both the club and the district proud with their achievement and the way in which they had played.

The team also reached the semi-final of the DCCL Marston’s Smooth Trophy after beating Wirksworth and then a strong Quarndon side.  The semi-final against promoted Alfreton was very much in the balance when rain intervened, but run-rate, not Duckworth Lewis, resulted in defeat.

In the Brewery Cup, the side had an easy win over Hilton before the inevitable fixture clashes meant that we were unable to field the First XI in the semi-final, where a young second XI was narrowly defeated by Alrewas.  At the time of writing it seems unlikely that this competition will continue in its present format.

The Second XI enjoyed a good season under Scott Cobley, finishing third in Division Five South.  It is interesting to note that the two promoted sides both benefitted from the services of a player with first-class experience, making the Rolleston effort even more praiseworthy.

There was clearly a consistency of approach to practice and preparation between the first and second XIs which paid dividends in terms of transition between the two teams, performance and enjoyment.

Ian Wakefield was the leading run-scorer, closely followed by 16 year-old Liam Goode, who is to be congratulated on scoring his maiden century and 448 league runs.  On their restricted appearances Nick Cheatle and Louis Burrows scored heavily. They were ably supported by the other batsmen, whilst in the bowling John Thomson again showed the value of the old-fashioned virtues of line and length to take most wickets.  Andrew Cooper would have run him close had he not missed several games whist holidaying Down-Under, but finished with the best average.  They were well supported by Scott Cobley and Richard Wyatt.

The season was notable for the progress of younger players who all benefitted from their experience and were able to have a taste of First XI cricket in the cup matches.

The Third XI, led for the first time by Warren Cowell, likewise had a good season and held on to their Division 6 status in some comfort following promotion the previous season.

Steve Dolby was again the highest run-scorer, ably supported by Brett Cobley, who made a welcome comeback, and the younger batsmen.

Steve and Warren Cowell used their experience to good effect in bowling meanly and offering support to the younger bowlers, with Aaron Harper and Dan Featherstone being the most successful with 27 and 30 wickets respectively.

The Fourth XI, skippered once again by the evergreen Mick Acton, as ever proved to be a valuable learning ground for our developing young players.  Not only that, they gained promotion for the first time since joining the DCCL, a most commendable achievement given that several players were promoted to the thirds, where they acquitted themselves very well. The captain’s flight and guile with the ball enabled him to finish as the leading wicket-taker, whilst Sunit Purandare was the most successful batsman.

The Sunday XI’s programme was restricted this year owing to the fixture clashes with cup games, but Alex Brown’s team was still able to offer opportunities to play friendly cricket.  Thanks go to fixture secretary Mick Clay for still being able to arrange such games in what is becoming an increasingly crowded cup programme on Sundays.

Sincere and grateful thanks are due to all our captains who worked so hard and energetically to make the season so successful and enjoyable.  It was no mean achievement to be able to put out four full teams every week, especially during the holiday season.  We thank all players for their commitment.

This report would not be complete without thanking coach Clive Jacobs for his contribution to the season’s success.  Practices were well-attended, well organized and were enhanced by specialist sessions which are planned to be expanded.

All our scorers as well deserve a special mention for their commitment.  At a time when many clubs fail to provide competent scorers, especially in the lower divisions, we are fortunate indeed to be able to call upon the services of John Hodson, Paul Smith and Barry Wynne. 

We also need to emphasize the immense contribution of our ladies in supporting the club, not only providing what are by common consent the best teas on the DCCL circuit, but also, through the “Willow Wags”, of providing social activities and fund-raising activities to support the players.  The “Mini-Ashes” evening and the concert by “Fusion” were particularly successful, with the former being much appreciated by our Australian friends.

At all events as ever, and throughout the year indeed, the bar continued to provide liquid refreshment of the highest quality and much-needed income thanks to the hard work of Mick Acton and his helpers.  We cannot thank Mick enough.

The junior section continues to thrive under junior co-ordinator Matt Parker and his team of managers and coaches.  To Matthew, Clive, Tom Rutter, Scott Baker, Jon Prescott, Nick Cheatle, Paul Allen, Tom and Steve Yates and John France we offer our thanks, and as ever we are grateful to all parents of the boys and girls for their support.

The Under 15s finished top of their league, whilst the Under 11s reached the final of their cup competition. The other age-groups performed well and the development of all youngsters benefitted from the structured coaching, which helped several boys and girls to achieve county and district recognition.

One highlight of the junior section’s year was the invitation to be coached by England captain Alastair Cook at an event laid on by Yorkshire Bank as part of their sponsorship of the professional game.  We are grateful to Jane Yates and her colleagues at the bank for making this possible.  It was an occasion which will never be forgotten by the youngsters who took part, and it has to be said that the England captain was an excellent role model for all young cricketers.  This event was followed up by an invitation to some of the squad to attend the YB40 final in September, making sure that there was a Rolleston presence at Lord’s after all in 2013.

Off the pitch, it has again been another busy year. 

Staffordshire County Council took over our option to buy the field adjacent to the club and completed the purchase in September.  The sale was held up by delays in obtaining planning permission for change of use, but these difficulties were overcome and solicitors are now drawing up the lease agreement to make formal the offer of a long lease to the club at a peppercorn rent.

Owing to the delay referred to above, ground work was not started on schedule, and it now looks probable that the ground will not come into use until late 2015.

Before that date, we must plan for the construction of new changing facilities.  The favoured plan is to extend the present pavilion into a second storey, and preliminary discussions have already taken place with the local planning authority, based on drawings made by your president.

Estimated costings have been obtained thanks to the hard work of your secretary, and we are presently putting together applications for grant aid.  This is a competitive process, and even if we are successful it is clear that we shall have to raise a good deal of finance ourselves and use the practical skills of our members. 

The Hon Treasurer will present his report later in the meeting.  As will be made clear, we already need to work hard to cover our present running costs.  The cost of replacement ground machinery and equipment such as covers is significant.  We will have to work even harder to turn our plans to extend into reality.  May I therefore repeat the appeal made by your president earlier this year for all members to become involved in this exciting project which has the potential to be a major asset for the local community.  To misquote Kitchener, “Your club needs you.”  Whatever effort or expertise you can offer will be not only be welcome, it will also be crucial.

As far as current ground work is concerned, your secretary has shouldered the additional burden of ground committee chairman and completed a huge amount of work.  As the captain pointed out after a successful  Natwest Cricket Force day, “You don’t argue with a guy with a chain-saw.”

Playing conditions have again been excellent thanks to the hard work of David Woodburn and John Hodson.  John again kept our machinery in excellent condition, making a huge impact on our income and expenditure account as well as on the quality of the outfield.

The excellence of our facilities was recognized by the Derbyshire CCC Academy team playing Warwickshire here and by the hosting of the DCCL’s major cup competition.  Staffordshire CCC have asked if they could play one of their newly formed under 21 XI fixtures at the ground, hopefully next season.

At the end of the season, Alan Partington’s long-awaited history of the club was published.  For those who have not yet bought a copy, may I commend this

fascinating and excellently researched work to you.  It shows clearly how the club has progressed since 1887 by embracing and managing change whilst at the same time retaining our traditional values.  We owe it both to our forbears and to future generations to strive to maintain this philosophy and continue to display the same vision, energy and commitment.

In conclusion then, the club has successfully met the challenges of 2013.  However, we cannot be complacent.  As has been pointed out, there are many more challenges to come, both on and off the field, and we must endeavour to make sure that we build on the strength that is our membership to meet them.