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Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of Bath University Venturers Cricket Club, 2009.

The 2009 AGM of Bath University Venturers Cricket Club took place on September 17th in All Bar One, a conveniently located bar with conveniently large tables, which is conveniently half empty because it’s not actually very good. Thirteen people were present. The meeting opened for business at 18:45, which was the earliest moment at which everybody was sitting down and had a drink to hand.

  1. Treasurer’s Report.

    This item was taken first as it was likely to be the main business of the meeting. Rob explained that in April this year we had been told (rather quietly) that we would be charged pitch fees for the following year: even this year we had to pay once, under exceptional circumstances. He explained that we should therefore have to take decisions about the financing of the club going forward. Some unease manifested itself at this point, but Rob got a grip and didn’t mention the elephant in the room, being fit for purpose or the end of the day.

    Currently the club has a bank balance of £2309.34 and about a hundred pounds in cash, but we still owe nearly £900 pounds for old teas and about £600 for less old teas. Cheques have been sent to Sulis for these amounts from time to time, but they do not attempt to cash them: nevertheless, we have to assume that eventually those debts will actually be paid by us. Our reserves are therefor around £800.

    Pitch fees for a year on the basis of our current fixture list would be around £1100. There is some room for reducing that by modifying the fixture list in essentially harmless ways, but they will not make a large difference.

    Teas at Sulis currently cost £75.90. When we pay for teas at away matches we are typically asked for £30, and we do the same for sides that visit us. The teas are therefore underfunded. We do not feel that they are good value for money, and now that we are paying for the pitches also we are perhaps more willing to complain. It is a condition of using the pitches for afternoon matches that we buy the Sulis tea.

    There was a wide-ranging discussion of how to fund the pitch fees, in a secure way and without being unfair to particular groups. Among the points raised were:

    • in view of the tea costs, the differential between afternoon and evening match fees is perhaps too small

    • we currently do not charge for nets, but it would be possible and perhaps desirable to do so

    • it is essential that match fees do not deter players, including occasional players

    • playing with fewer than XI is disastrous both from a cricket point of view and financially

    • match fees should be the same for everybody, as otherwise an expectation might be created that those paying higher fees are more entitled to an active part in the match

    • nevertheless there are substantial differences in the ability to pay of different players and this should be taken into account

    • there is a danger that the occasional player and the regular player are better treated by a subscription system than the intermediate player who plays eight or ten matches

    It was agreed that we couldn’t hear one another and the tables were rearranged and moved away from the middle of the room.

    Nets are attended, typically, by eight or ten people, though sometimes as few as four or as many as eighteen. Matt estimated, conservatively, that a £1 charge for nets would not change those figures much and would raise around £250 a year. Simon S pointed out that almost all sports clubs have a system of subscriptions.

    It was agreed that there would be a £1 charge for nets; that match fees would be £4 for evening games and £8 for afternoons (this means that every over, regardless of the type of match, costs 10p: that’s 4d a ball in old money). Subscriptions would be introduced in four tiers, referred to for convenience as MSc, PhD, junior staff and senior staff. Tentatively the subscriptions for these levels were set at £10, £20, £30 and £40, but no definite decision was made at the meeting. The Treasurer thought that these measures would meet the need.

  2. A drinks interval, much needed.

  3. Election of officers.

    Simon Shaw was re-elected captain, Gregory as secretary, and a slightly reluctant Rob as treasurer. Matt is leaving and was thanked for his efforts: Alex Willcocks was elected vice-captain, which includes running the nets. Roger was re-elected as webmaster. Simon Dodd volunteered to do the statistics, and Chris Middup volunteered (possibly in the military sense) to help him.

  4. Captain’s report.

    Chintan got us promoted to the top division of the indoor league and then went to America, leaving behind a bat with the descriptive word “ton” on it and a team out of its depth. We lost all our matches, though we lost to the other promoted team only off the last ball, and thanks to our superior record of bonus points finished only one point behind them. Our bowling was quite reasonable but we probably approached batting in the wrong way. The indoor league is, nevertheless, fun.

    In the season proper we won 14 matches and lost 14. This is less good than last year, when we won 14 and lost only 11 (but it was wetter): however, 14 wins last year was the most for a very long time. Three matches were abandoned after they had started and eight were cancelled. Five of the eight cancellations were because the opposition were unable to raise a team. We raised a full team for every match except one: four of us were at Cardiff watching Monty Panesar play what turned out to be the decisive innings of the summer and a fifth was unfit, and we had to play with only ten. We used 34 players but there was a fairly consistent core of about ten.

    In 40-over cricket (including one game played without an over limit) we won six and lost seven, thus being less successful than in the 20-over version: this caused general slight surprise. On the other hand some of our 20-over defeats were heavy (and some of our wins overwhelming), whereas in 40-overs our only heavy defeat was in the second match at Kilmington. We never really looked like beating Bradford Town, though.

    Our bowling was generally good. Kevin and Paul were a particularly reliable opening pair. Roger batted very effectively, as did Richard on the very few occasions he played. Ian Gillard played rather more, but still not very much, and averaged 66. Matt alone tried to look stylish, and usually succeeded. In 20-over cricket we lacked hitters, Nigel being about the only one, but the bowlers kept control of most things (not Everton Griffith). We were much less good when batting first, especially in 20-over matches.

    There were 11 50s, of which Matt and Ian G each made three. Gregory took 27 wickets, just ahead of Alex W who took 25. The only 5-wicket haul was taken by Saurabh, against Rode in the last match of the season. The fielding was good (the captain was too polite to mention the three very easy catches the secretary dropped off his bowling) and Alex C and Roger both kept well: Alex caught eight and stumped two, and Roger, startlingly, had three stumpings for every catch. Simon Shaw, Matt and Chris each caught six in the field.

    The highlights in afternoon games were the first Kilmington match, featuring a devastating innings by Ian G and a nerveless four by Paul (and also the loss of four wickets for no runs, but never mind); the second Bill Owen match, featuring another batting collapse in a successful chase; and Winsley, featuring Ian again and a Real Cricketer not actually doing quite enough damage to win them the match. Priston cannot count as a highlight because we lost but was a very successful fixture (and tea).

    The 20-over highlights were the win against Canal Taverners and the Bristol T20 tournament victory. Prior to that we had lost five consecutive 20-over games: suddenly we won five times running, convincingly. Winning the tournament also provided us with some very welcome and timely publicity within the university.

    Simon thanked Matt, and other players who are leaving, for their contributions. Matt responded with an unscheduled but very welcome vice-captain’s report. Winsley and the final match at Rode stood out, because both of these were teams apparently better than us and seriously trying to win, and we beat them: it was, apparently, Rode’s only home defeat of the year. Matt also added that captaincy is a lot easier when, as in this case, you do not have to hide anyone in the field (a comment he made after the Winsley match, where our ground fielding was crucial to the win). Finally, he said, Simon should bowl and bat more.

  5. Fixtures.

    The fixtures list is satisfactory. The arrangement whereby we host both matches against Cramer and Hay Hill makes sense under the current financial regime but may not do so in the future. This year we played no touring teams, which is unusual. The newcomers to our fixture list this year were Nomads (we had a fixture against them last year, but it rained), Bath CC, Priston, Pedigree and Radstock College. Nomads and Priston were successes. It was puzzlingly asserted that at Priston, sheep go “moo”. Radstock College is run by Everton Griffith, who is universally liked but rather too good at batting for us. He is trying to support youth cricket and deserves every encouragement, short perhaps of some of the stuff we bowled to him. Bath CC failed to produce a team and Pedigree produced only part of one: these fixtures are therefore doubtful. There are several possible alternatives. It will be important next year not to have home fixtures cancelled at short notice, as that is expensive.

  6. Statistician’s report.

    Some statistical features had already been noted in the Captain’s report. Kevin added three runouts to his six catches: Matt (who also had one runout), Chris M and Alex W also caught six. The best bowling average by far was Charlie’s 7.75. Gregory was the leading wicket-taker with 27, ostensibly at 17 but in fact rather more than that since the damage done by Everton Griffith was not recorded. Alex was next with 25, at an average of 13.5 plus whatever Everton Griffith did to him (not so much). Paul’s economy rate of 2.85 runs an over was more than one run per over better than anyone else’s. On the batting side, five batsmen made 300 runs: Ian G averaged 66.6 at a strike rate of over 100. Nigel’s strike rate was over 140, and Roger averaged 41.8. There was a lack of random bizarre facts this year, and also a relative lack of notable partnerships: Ian and Chris W at Kilmington and Ian and Matt at Winsley were the biggest.

  7. Awards.

    These were, as is traditional, decided by the captain.

    • Best batsman: Matt. There was strong competition from Ian G, Roger and others, but Matt consistently made runs when they were needed and also hit his first six. He did fail sometimes, usually when he still needed another forty overs to sleep it off.

    • Best bowler: Alex W. Kevin and Paul also bowled consistently well, and Gregory took more wickets than Alex but paid more for them in run rate and on average. Alex was consistent and accurate.

    • Best all-rounder: Nigel , narrowly ahead of Kevin: both contributed substantially with the bat and the ball.

    • Best fielder: Alex W. Alistair’s great enthusiasm and energy, especially in 20-over cricket, made him a candidate. Simon omitted to mention himself. Alex was very reliable in the field and could be used anywhere with equal effect.

    • Catch of the Season: Saurabh against UWE in the Bristol T20. There were other good catches, by Ian G, Matt, Tom Rosoman and Chris M among others, but none that induced the same stunned look on the batsman’s face, or so convinced the opposition that we were better than them.

    • Most Improved Player: Chris Middup was a clear winner, not only for his catching. Ian G, Adam and Charlie were also mentioned.

    • Champagne moment: there were a lot of candidates here, and in the end two awards were made. One was collective, for the Bristol T20 tournament, which had no real rivals as a team high point. For individuals there were more competitors: Paul’s conclusive boundary at Kilmington, either of Ian’s 90s, Saurabh’s five wickets at Rode. But Gregory won it by bowling Winsley’s pro for not quite as many runs as he (once) made in a Test against India.

    • The A.J. Wolsthenholme Prize for running between the wickets went to Rahul, for consistent indecision and an exceptional display of loss of sense of direction at Bradford Town. Strangely he was not involved in any actual runouts. The same could not be said of Matt, who gave a comprehensive and disturbing account of how he ran himself out at Rode three balls before the tea interval and nearly, but not quite, stole this prize at the last minute.

    • Best Dressed: this award has occasionally been taken seriously, but the burn hole in Matt’s jumper eliminated all competition this year.

    • Duck of the Year: There were a few candidates, but our start against UWE (0-2 after 0.2 overs) was so extreme, and the style of the ducks so impressive, that the only choice was to give this award jointly to Matt and Chris M (“Ive never struck a ball better”).

    • Sledge of the Season: Alistair, not for his apparently inadvertent advice to a not particularly slender opponent to get some exercise by running quick singles, but for the remark “don’t hang around and get your new shoes dirty”.

The meeting closed at 20:38. By this time England were 108-5 chasing 297, and it was agreed that there was no point in seeking a pub with the cricket on the television.

Cricket bat and ball