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Finally after a stuttering start to the season Cricket arrived back at Saint Hill in glorious sunshine.
Yet it was touch and go on Saturday morning as players and friends alike got together to fork the outfield of the residue of the lake that formed after the Wednesday downpour. The umpires took sympathy on the ground staff and delayed play for an hour to let the beating midday sun do its work.
The Premier league fixture against Horsham produced a high standard of cricket –the first century of the season from Leo Cammish 108 not out and at fine knock of 84 from skipper Will Adkin. EG’s 233 for 6 off the reduced 45 overs always seemed a distant target when Horsham batted. Tight aggressive bowling made certain of that as Ian Sturmer and Lewis Hatchett almost cleaned up the tail finishing with Horsham hanging on by fingers tips to finish nine wickets down for 161.
The even contest between bat and ball spoke volumes for all the dedicated work put into creating a cricket wicket from the soggy square on Wednesday evening. Geoff and Andy need a medal for perseverance beyond the call of duty.
On Sunday the same pitch hosed two 20/20 matches when Ifield beat Anstey to enable them to play East Grinstead in the first round of the Sussex T20 Cup.
Again the Firsts put on a show hitting 161 for six off their allotted overs with Fynn Hudson Prentice coming to the party with the score on 10 for 3 he thrashed 88 runs ably supported by Will and Darryl Rebbetts. Ifield CC couldn’t match this aggression and despite Daniel Smiths 52 fell 42 runs short at their last ball.
The coming Weekend of the 12/13th sees the Second XI playing on Saturday against Brighton & Hove while Sunday is reserved for the first round of the Royal London National Championship with East Grinstead’s hosting Bexley. This is the competition that we almost got to the National final last season so Sunday presents a new opportunity to cross that one off our club’s wish. Please come and support your team as they test themselves against a very good Kentish side.
Vandal’s caused several £’000 worth of damage at East Grinstead Cricket Club by joy riding round the outfield whilst it was covered in snow.
It is believed the incident occurred around 8-30pm on Tuesday evening, no one was at the Sports Club at the time as it had closed early as a result of the severe weather.
It is thought up to 6 vehicles were involved being raced round the cricket outfield causing deep ruts and ripping up the ground in several areas.
The CCTV cameras in and around the location are being interrogated in an attempt to identify the culprits, this information will be passed on to the local police who have been informed of the incident.
It will not be possible to establish the extent of the damage until the covering of snow has cleared; the cricket club will then have less than 6 weeks to undertake repairs and prepare the ground for the first match. It is unlikely the outfield will return to its high standard for another 12 months.
On September the 2nd East Grinstead won the Sussex Premier League Title for the first time in the 47 years of the competition, with a game to spare, and also proved that the first eleven was the equal third best amateur team in the Country by reaching the Semi-final of the National Royal London Cup. But the real joy of last season was that our improvement on the field resonated throughout the club, senior and junior sides alike. The second team held their position in a newly created, much more competitive league, with both the Thirds and Fourths winning promotion, the Thirds as Champions. All the junior teams benefitted from our established coaching structure that we hope to enhance over the winter to enable them to move up from near the top of their respective competitions and so allow the club to extend the flow of home-grown talent through into our first elevens of the future.
We couldn’t achieve any of this success without our sponsors and supporters and are grateful for their continued support as we look forward to next season and some more classy displays from our young set of players as we seek more silverware.
EGCC was established one hundred and sixty years ago and has been at the heart of the local community ever since. As a not-for-profit club we are run entirely by volunteers and rely on our membership, donations, grants and our generous sponsors to enhance our facility and to keep us moving forward.
As an ECB ‘Focus Club’ we have a responsibility to allow access to host district games in addition to around the 130 home games that we prepare pitches for each season on our two squares. The club runs five adult sides from the successful 1st XI Sussex Premier League side supported by a high standard Second Team squad to the Thirds and Fourth Elevens plus a Conference team consisting of parents and offspring with two Sunday Teams competing in the Surrey Trust league. There are two Women’s and Girl’s sides and ten Junior teams in all age groups from nine to U16s. We are also privileged to host Sackville School and Imberhorne School matches to help keep Cricket alive in our local authority run state schools.
As part of our continuing commitment to develop our talent, as witnessed by the success of our recent Sussex County players such as our captain Will Adkin, Lewis Hatchett, Leo Camish and Fynn Hudson Prentice, we are continually developing our coaching base to ensure that we give our players the opportunity to perform at the best possible standard of competitive cricket at all levels. To this end East Grinstead Cricket Club, in association with FCCC, has established an out of season Professional indoor Coaching School for the benefit of our youth squad members, while our own fully qualified coaches attend all teams through pre-season and the summer.
With so much happening the Club recently went through a restructuring of its management and committee structure supported by a redesign of its corporate image; to better reflect a modern forward looking club while keeping the best of the history and tradition. The new artwork for the historic five ostrich feather logo was commissioned and designed into a setting more suitable to our digital times. The ’feathers’ have been a heraldic device for East Grinstead since In 1572, when Thomas Cure, Member of Parliament for the former Borough, presented the town a seal: five blue ostrich feathers with gold tips, his initials and those of the Duchy of Lancaster, of which the town was part.
Chairman Geoff Border recalls his association with the Club
I first played against East Grinstead Cricket Club in 1975 / 76 / 77 whilst touring with Grimsby CC in the south of England; we always played our first match against East Grinstead on the Monday afternoon we were always made welcome and had an enjoyable match.
As a result of a job related move to the south in 1989 we looked around the area and selected East Grinstead because of my previous experiences and of course I immediately joined the cricket club playing in the 2nd XI in the Sussex League. I continued playing until 2007 (65yrs old) when age and wear caught up with me. During my playing career with the club I helped top introduce the 3rd, 4th and 5th Elevens captaining them all for extended periods.
I served a 7-year spell as Chairman and am currently covering this role again following the previous chairman decision to stand down for business reasons. I have also been heavily involved in fund raising to ensure we are able to replace the ground equipment and scoring facilities and helped set up the Outreach Committee to encourage local participation from the community and increase our profile and of course membership.
This is the most challenging aspect of running a large Community Cricket facility is to ensure that the financial stability of the club is met year on year. We are part of a large sports complex that gives the visitor a false idea of our financial muscle, as apart from minimal ground support, we have to be totally self-financing and critically without the benefit of revenue from our own bar!
However, seeing the club expand over my 28yrs from 3 senior + 2 junior teams to a 17 team club, 5 senior sides on a Saturday in the Sussex Leagues, 2 sides in the Surrey Trust league on a Sunday a Woman’s and Girls sides in the Sussex Leagues plus junior teams from U9 to U16 has been very rewarding. We have already won the county T20 competition at both first and second team level in 2015, yet EGCC has never been better than Sussex Premier League runners-up finishing a frustrating four points behind the champions in 2015.
We have a strap line on our newsletter that states ‘Cricket in the Community’, it indicates that anyone with an interest in cricket can come along to a taster session to see if they enjoy the game, some fall away others go on to represent the club for many years. There is a cricket fun day run by the town sports development officer when every junior school in the area enjoys a day of Soft-ball Cricket. The Sussex county 2nd XI, the Sussex Womens XI plus the district Academy XI have fixtures at the ground giving the local community the opportunity to see high-class cricket in the town when we recently hosted two T20 matches between Sussex and Kent Second XIs.
In this 2017 season our emphasis on youth coaching and developing our local talent pool appears to be bearing ripe fruit with a table topping Premier League first team who find themselves deservedly in the Semi Final of the National Royal London Cup Competition, one step away from the televised National Final at the pinnacle of Club Cricket in the entire country. They deserve the title of champions for the consistently high standard of cricket they have played over the last few years with a young side mainly consisting of our locally developed talent led by three players who have played for the County, Will Adkin, Lewis Hatchett, and Fynn Hudson Prentice.
The aim is to keep up the standards required to meet Premier League requirements, we cannot stand still and facilitating almost 100 matches per season on the main ground puts immense pressure on the grounds man and more importantly the volunteers who assist and make sure everything is in place for a match. There is a lot of wear and tare on the pitches and an immense amount of effort has to be put in, just to stand still. Like all clubs we have a loyal band of volunteers who could now be classified in the older range, but we are always seeking others following on to give the same commitment.
What will be the format of club cricket in 5 years’ time? If this takes the form of T/20 matches possible played in midweek we will have a problem as a large percentage of our seniors commute daily to London which means they will not get back in time to participate in a match. Sussex Cricket is presently consulting on a forward plan, which we sincerely hope that East Grinstead Cricket Club will be able to contribute at the forefront of the changes moving forward in the local and wider Sussex community.
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On Friday the 3rd of February East Grinstead Cricket Club were delighted to welcome the President of Sussex Cricket, David Bowden and new Chief Executive, Rob Andrew to Saint Hill for tea.
Former England Rugby International and RFU Executive, Rob Andrew also played First Class Cricket at Cambridge University and in his new role with Sussex was visiting East Grinstead on a fact-finding tour of senior Sussex Premier League Clubs.
Representing East Grinstead Cricket Club were Geoff Border, Acting Chairman with colleagues Richard Dewing, Acting Vice Chairman and Alan Collinge, the Clubs’ Sussex League representative.
In a wide-ranging discussion looking towards the future guardianship of Cricket in Sussex, the club were delighted at the warm reception that was given to its new mission statement and management structure, and in turn the club were much encouraged to hear Rob’s initial observations on the path ahead. The commitment of all round the table could be best summed up as the revitalised emphasis on increased participation and junior development to include high level coaching and a clear performance pathway to elite level, all targets already embedded at EGCC.
The Cricket Club looks forward with added vigour to an exciting future for Sussex Cricket and to a continuation of this fruitful on-going dialogue with the County.
Grinstead are busy preparing for the new season, which begins on Sunday with an ECB Knockout Cup game against Lordswood. That is followed by the first game in their defence of the Sussex T20 Cup, at Haywards Heath, before they host Billingshurst in their opening league match.
And Adkin says the Saint Hill outfit want to push for honours in the league, having come close in recent seasons with a succession of top-four finishes.
"We did so well in the cup last year that we focused on that and our performance dropped in the league, which was disappointing," he said.
"We want to win as many games as possible, whatever the competition, and we want to win a competition again this year.
"Every year we are up there in the league, finishing second or fourth in the last couple of years.
"We are up there as a strong club and the aim has got to be to push for every competition and every title."
And Adkin feels that, with the arrival of overseas star Carl Cachopa and young Sussex second XI wicketkeeper Leo Cammish, to add to a squad that can also boast Sussex bowlers Lewis Hatchett and Fynn Hudson-Prentice, Grinstead are well equipped to challenge.
says that the availability of key players will be important for Grinstead.
"It is a good bow to have in your armoury to have these players and when they are there with us warming up, it makes the other teams know they have a tough game ahead," he said.
"We realise that we won't have them every game, although it breeds confidence for us when they are around."
DAVID TURNER wants East Grinstead to become the pre-eminent cricket club in Sussex.
Turner has taken over from Alan Evans as chairman of the Saint Hill club, with the aim of building on the momentum of recent seasons, including the Sussex T20 cup success for both the first and second XIs at Hove last year.
And Turner wants Grinstead to win the Sussex Premier Division title at first XI level, adding that it is a clear objective for the club.
"We had good success last season and the win at Hove was fantastic, and great profile for us," he said.
"The real test is winning the league title at first team level and one of the objectives we have set ourselves is to be the pre-eminent club in the county.
"That is to not just win the title, but to retain that title and for it not to be a one-off.
"That success will then hopefully cascade down through the club."
Grinstead have come close in the past few seasons, finishing second and fourth in the past two campaigns, but Turner believes that Will Adkin's side have the right ingredients to challenge for honours this year, with Carl Cachopa joining as the club's overseas player and Leo Cammish coming in as wicketkeeper.
"If you look at last year, there were a few ifs and buts and I think that we are not that far away," he said.
"You get a couple of things right and strong performances from our leading players, a bit of luck, an umpiring decision and if you put all that together, we will be right in the mix.
"We don't want to be in the situation of being second or third, and there was genuine disappointment last year that we did not push harder.
"Fair play to Roffey, they played well and they had a good side, but I don't think that week in, week out they are a better side than us.
"We will continue to push Preston Nomads and Horsham, who have been traditionally the strongest sides, but we know that we can go toe-to-toe with them.
"I think they will come here and be genuinely worried, and see it as one of their biggest games of the season.
"We will have to perform on those big occasions, but under Will's leadership, we have the right ingredients.
"Inevitably you get injuries and people being called up to the county, but we have a strong squad and there is strength in depth."
East Grinstead begin the new campaign on Sunday, April 26, when Lordswood visit Saint Hill in the ECB Knockout Cup.
DAVID TURNER says he is relishing seeing East Grinstead's new overseas signing Carl Cachopa in action this season.
Cachopa - the older brother of Sussex batsman Craig Cachopa - has signed for Grinstead for the 2015 season, having spent time playing for the Auckland Aces in New Zealand's domestic cricket.
And Grinstead's new chairman says he is looking forward to seeing the 28-year-old all-rounder, who has represented New Zealand A, playing at Saint Hill.
He said: "It has been an important fabric of the team for the last few years, with overseas players.
"There is an element of risk with it in how they settle and how they fit in coming from Australia or wherever, where the conditions are different.
"There will be a settling in period, but at 28 Carl brings an extra maturity and that will be a great help to captain Will Adkin.
"He has played for New Zealand A and is an all-rounder, who will probably bat at number three for us.
"He can bowl too and may well come on at first or second change and it will be good to have him here.
"He is looking forward to coming and having his brother gives a focal point for him socially.
"It is important that these guys settle in and I think we have been a good place to come."
Cachopa is set to arrive in England in the first week in May, with Grinstead's first Sussex Premier Division game against Billingshurst on Saturday, May 9.