Newsletter Archive

Spring 2016

The views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the Council             

or any individual cricket society

The future of first-class cricket

Serious concern has been expressed by many individuals at various society meetings and also in print regarding the side-lining of traditional cricket in recent years. The CCS is fortunate in having the opportunity to raise such issues at its yearly get-together with the ECB, but judging by the outcome of last December’s meeting, the diminution of four-day cricket is virtually a fait-accompli.  In response to our delegates’ questions, Alan Fordham (ECB Operations Manager) painted a less than rosy picture about the future of the first-class game. AF explained that the current round of fixtures had most County Championship (CC) matches Sunday to Wednesday – travel/training Thursday depending on where the CC match took place; T20 on Friday – travel/training Saturday then commence the next CC game on Sunday. This was both exhausting and challenging to swap between the white ball cricket and the red ball cricket. In future some days will have to be removed from the overall schedule and this will inevitably lead to less Championship Cricket. If there were to be a change in the number of Championship matches, a decision would need to be made before the start of the 2016 season as to whether the two divisions would be better split with 8 teams in the First (Premier?) division and 10 in the Second (First?) division. The reason the decision would have to be made before the start of this season is that if that system were adopted it would be two teams relegated this year and only one promoted. It appears that the other elephant in the room question, frequently put forward, of amalgamating neighbouring counties was not discussed at the meeting. Clearly, money is the prime consideration. Although many cricketers prefer to play the four-day format, they would rather not do so in front of the proverbial one man and his dog. Unfortunately, the larger crowds generated by T20 and one-day cricket appear to have little interest in the game’s more longer and more fascinating formats.

For more details of the meeting, see notes previously circulated by the Secretary to societies.

The Future of Test Cricket

If the four-day game is diluted further, how is the future of Test cricket likely to be affected? Apart from Tests in England, attendances elsewhere have dropped alarmingly in recent years. Matters have not been helped by Pakistan, due to circumstances entirely beyond their control, having to play their matches – home and away – outside their country thereby losing the presence of thousands of fervent supporters. India, now a financial powerhouse in the game, generates more than enough money through broadcasting revenue from its IPL, to not worry about the drastically dwindling attendances in their home Test matches. Test cricket in the Caribbean appears to be affected by other attractions and the defection of star players to the lure of the rupee. Grounds in South Africa for the recent series against England were far below capacity, despite tickets costing the equivalent of a fiver. Most telling is the fact that England’s matches in South Africa barely received a mention on terrestrial television, never mind any highlights. The argument that there was insufficient editing time available due to the closeness of the two countries time zones does not hold water. If there is no free-to- watch television exposure of Test cricket, the five-day version of the game soon will be heading the same way as the traditional British pub!

South Africa v. England

I don’t profess to be fully aware of each and every one of the Test matches that are played nowadays, but this Test did raise a couple of points of interest. This was the third occasion that England and their respective opponents have each scored in excess of 600 runs in the first innings. Can you recall the their matches? No prizes! Answers are shown on the end page. There were three other items of note. Firstly, the maiden Test hundred scored by Temba Bavuma. He made his debut for South Africa against West Indies on Boxing Day 2014 and, some say, has retained his place somewhat fortunately due to the country’s selection policy to encourage more black Africans to play cricket. Therefore Temba had added pressure to contend with – he is the first black African to be selected as a batsman – and he has suffered from a run of low scores – his highest innings prior to Cape Town was 54 made against Bangladesh in Chittagong. But at Newlands, Bavuma came good and made an unbeaten 102 – and, more to the point, he received much favourable comment and praise. It is to be hoped his innings will prove to be an inspiration for others to follow. In the fourth and final Test, at Centurion, 20 year-old Kagiso Rabada achieved match figures of thirteen for 144. Had he conceded 13 fewer runs, he would have bettered Makaya Ntini’s performance a decade ago against West Indies. Finally, the performance of Stephen Cook, son of Jimmy the superb former Transvaal and Somerset opener, defies explanation. How does a man with a highest first-class score of 390 and 35 (now 36) hundreds to his credit have to wait until his 34th year before making his Test debut?

A Century-old Record Falls

The highest recorded individual innings of 628 not out, made by Arthur Collins in 1899 in a junior house match at Clifton College, has been broken. In a two-day match at Kalyan, India on 4-5 January 2016, Ghandi English School defeated Arya Gurukul Secondary School by an innings and 1,382 runs! Gurukul batted first and were all out for 31. By close of play on the first day, Ghandi had replied with 956 for one! Next day, the declaration came at 1,465 for three, opening batsman Pranav Dhanawade, aged 15, had 1,009 runs to his credit. During his innings of 396 minutes, he faced 327 balls from which he hit 59 sixes and 129 fours. The dispirited opponents’ second innings fared little better than their first effort as they were dismissed for 52. That said, matters might have been much worse, but for an eighth wicket partnership which rescued the team from a perilous 10 for seven.
Lt. Arthur Collins (Royal Engineers), aged 28, was killed in action at Ypres on 11 November 1914.

Around the Societies

Essex Cricket Society


Many thanks to Sally Scroggins, Essex Cricket Society’s secretary, who sent this picture which was drawn and painted by her predecessor, the late Alan Saywood, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essex Cricket Society in 1999. The pavilions illustrated are those used by the County since 1974. Surrounding the pavilion at Chelmsford, they are clockwise from top right: Leyton, Colchester, Ilford, Westcliff and Southend. Might this be an idea for other societies to raise funds? I am sure there is a proficient artist to be found in most societies! Readers will have to take my word for it that in the left-hand bottom corner, it indicates this copy was No.173 of 200 copies while Alan’s signature appears in the opposite corner.
It is thought that a print of selected pavilions is only likely to appeal if the buildings are attractive in their own right. Cricket pavilions to be found on former out-grounds, villages or schools (those that still play cricket) should make ideal subjects. Consequently the ghastly, impersonal stadiums that have mushroomed across the country are likely to be ruled out. Has your society hit upon a good idea to swell the coffers and also raise interest? If so, please share it with others through this newsletter!
Society Profile
Stourbridge & District Cricket Society
 StourCC (2)
The Stourbridge & District Cricket Society was formed in 1972/3, upon the initiative of the, then, local borough council. Efforts to trace the surviving, near-centenarian Alderman and former Mayor (who are one and the same person) are progressing! Each of the cricket clubs in the local area, irrespective of playing standard, was invited to nominate a member to participate in discussions regarding the formation and future running of the society. One of our present-day members attended that preliminary meeting and can be rightly regarded as ‘the Father of the Society’. He believes the most striking difference between the Society, then and now, is the age of the membership. In the early years, the majority of members were active cricketers or those recently retired from the game – but not from work! The Society launched itself with a formal dinner attended by more than seventy people. The 3- course meal cost the princely sum of £1.50 and the principal guests were former MCC President, Viscount Cobham, plus R.E. Bird and Don Kenyon, both former Worcestershire captains. The Society’s first two guest speakers were Hugo Yarnold and Rachel Heyhoe-Flint. Thereafter the winter programme assumed the pattern of six monthly meetings, which since 2004/05 was expanded to the present level of seven. Initially meetings were held in a local pub, but are now held in the pavilion of Stourbridge Cricket Club (shown above). Annual excursions are also arranged to places of cricket
interest. The society’s membership currently numbers Nelson, with attendance at meetings averaging in the  mid 70s, which often means standing room only! However, in 1991, the membership had nose-dived to 37, despite the annual subscription costing only £5! The present-day fee is £15, which is reduced by £3, for payment in advance of the first meeting of the winter programme. The Society has been fortunate in having the support not only of Club and Council, but also of Worcestershire CCC. The Society’s first President was Stourbridge-born Don Kenyon who was succeeded by all-rounder Martin Horton, both former Worcestershire and England players. The position is currently held by former S&DCS chairman, Dave Nicklin. Over the years, the Stourbridge ground, which is located at Amblecote, formerly in Staffordshire, provided the setting for 61 first-class matches played by Worcestershire. It was the County’s first venue for a home match, not played at New Road, in 1905. The result was an emphatic innings victory in two days against                       Leicestershire. Fred Bowley (217) and Ted Arnold (134) top scored in a total of 457.
Arnold then took nine for 112 in the match, helping to dismiss the visitors for 137 and 113.
In 1909, Kent’s Frank Woolley (185) and Arthur Fielder (112*) added 235 runs for the 10th wicket, against Worcestershire, which over a century later is still the British record last wicket partnership. It was Fielder’s one and only first-class century and the first ever by a number eleven in the County Championship. The record provides Stourbridge with probably its only mention in Wisden! The final first-class game played at Stourbridge began on the day of the royal wedding of Prince Charles to Princess Diana in 1981. Northamptonshire were on the receiving end of a hundred before lunch in 98 minutes by Glenn Turner, who promptly scored another century in the second innings. Of all the first-class counties, Worcestershire is one of the smallest in terms of population yet is able to support two thriving cricket societies – the fact that Stourbridge is no longer in the shire of
Worcester is a wrong that few people support.
Tell us about your Society!
Articles of 500-750 words (with j.peg picture if possible) should be sent to
Wise Words from the Past
Whilst researching details about cricket of yesteryear, I came across some words attributed to Lord Harris, Kent’s great patriarch. He opined: ‘Cricket has done more to consolidate the Empire than any other influence, and it is certainly the means of consolidating agreeable friendships and originating pleasant reunions. Cricket is not only a game, but a school of the greatest social importance’. Despite the fact we no longer have an Empire, I feel the rest of his words embrace much, if not all of what individual cricket societies, and especially the Council of Cricket Societies, represent. Perhaps his sentiments might be reworded and thus become part of the Council’s statement of belief.
Personally, I count myself fortunate, over many years, to have made – and retain – more friendships through cricket, than any other sport or association. Long may the game flourish!
This newsletter depends on the snippets of news, views, fund-raising ideas and any other cricket items of interest that member societies are able to provide. Personally, I think a gap of six months between issues is much too long. Some items originally intended for inclusion have been discarded due to loss of topicality. However, if newsletters are to be
issued quarterly, contributions from societies and / or individual members will be paramount. An appeal is made for your society’s profile plus any other contributions – news, views, or any ideas of interest to other societies – should be typed (as a Word.doc attachment) and forwarded to
One last thought! Rather than being appended to the Minutes of the CCS’s half-yearly meetings, the individual society reports perhaps would be better suited for inclusion in the newsletter.
Views on that idea will be welcome!

600 Runs-plus Answers

The first-ever instance of two teams each scoring 600 runs in a Test match occurred in 1964. In reply to Australia’s 656-8 declared (RB Simpson 311, WM Lawry 106, BC Booth 98), England achieved an all out total of 600 precisely (KR Barrington 256, ER Dexter 174; GD McKenzie 7/153). The second occasion occurred in 2008/09 when West Indies posted 749-9 declared (Sarwan 291, Randin 166; Swann 5/165). England could not improve on the previous example and scored 600-6 declared (Strauss 142, Bopara 104, Collingwood 96, Cook 94, Ambrose 76*). Pietersen (41) and Shah (7) failed to cash in. There have been two other matches, both involving Sri Lanka – against Pakistan in 2009 and India in 2010. Eighty-seven years elapsed before the first occurrence, a further four decades until the second example and then, like London buses of old, three more came along in the next seven years.



CCS News                                         October 2015

The occasional Newsletter of the  Council of Cricket Societies

First Over

In the last edition, I wrote ‘In view of Australia’s bowling attack . . . . it will be interesting to see whether England’s lead [in terms of home wins] can be maintained, let alone increased’. I don’t think anyone foresaw just how inept the Australians’ batting (Lord’s and Oval excepted) in English conditions would prove to be. None but the most fervent of England supporters expected Alastair Cook’s team to regain the Ashes in such dramatic fashion.

CCS Website

Phil Veasey is preparing to launch the re-designed website. The site provides the opportunity for the inclusion of brief details of each society’s programme of speakers for 2015/16. Each meeting can be included on the calendar. Individual societies are asked to email with details of speakers without delay.

Society Profiles

Individual societies are invited to submit a feature about their achievements and activities for  inclusion in this newsletter. It is hoped that such accounts will be of interest to others to read about your society’s past and present plus amusing episodes. Rather than listing individual speakers, it may be preferable to include one or two favourite raconteurs. Besides referring to basic information (year formed, venue, fixed days of meetings, membership etc) societies are encouraged to make reference to specific projects, such as awards, sponsorship, or youth schemes that individual societies may organise or support. It is planned to feature one society in each edition of this newsletter, but it cannot be done without your help. There is no deadline for submissions.
Send your feature to either contact address:

Post:   Anthony Collis, 34a Chawn Hill, Stourbridge DY9 7JB

Ashes Overdose

And so a topsy-turvy Ashes “limped to a close”, said Jonathan Liew in the Daily Telegraph. England lost the final Test to Australia by an innings and 46 runs – but it hardly mattered, as they had already won the series. And if, by the end, it was clear that this was not a “vintage” Ashes, that’s because “a certain fatigue” has set in. Encounters between England and Australia once seemed special: they had a sense of novelty, of “new enmities being forged”. But this was the third Ashes series in two years.

Less than three years into his Test career, Joe Root has already played Australia a staggering 14 times.

No wonder players and supporters alike are fed up.
It’s  time for a break!

Fatigue Factor

Domestic cricketers want to reduce the amount of cricket they play in order to improve the standard, according to a study released by the players’ union. In the survey of 240 Professional Cricketers’ Association members, a representative said the “schedule is ridiculous” while another claimed it was “actually unsafe”. Another member said some “felt like zombies” at times, “either waking up to play or waking up and being in the car travelling”. The England and Wales Cricket Board are currently reviewing the domestic game. Currently, each of the 18 counties is scheduled to play 16 four-day games, eight 50-over matches and 14 Twenty20 games – not taking into account later rounds of knockout competitions. That amounts to almost 90 days of cricket between April and September (163 days).

The key findings from the study are:

  • 98.3% of players believe Test cricket remains the pinnacle of the sport
  • The County Championship should remain the premier domestic competition, and the format should only be changed to incorporate a “ significantly better overall schedule ”
  • The Twenty20 competition should revert to being played in a block
  • The 50-over competition is seen as less important and of lower quality [BBC and PCA websites]

CCS members are invited to express their views on the survey’s findings.

Pakistan Twenty 20 or ‘Money, Money, Money’

An inaugural Twenty20 Pakistan Super League will be held in Qatar next year. The Pakistan Cricket Board says forty foreign players from all test-playing countries, except India, have expressed an interest. The tournament will take place from 4-24 February 2016 in Doha and will feature five teams playing for a prize of $1-million. It will take place in Qatar because of a lack of venues in Doha, the home of Pakistan cricket since 2009. [BBC]

Another Quiet Man

I was saddened to learn recently of the death of a cricketer who many people probably would not readily describe as ‘a quiet man’. During my tenure as founder and chairman of the sadly now defunct Cricket Society of South Africa, I was privileged to meet a number of top cricketers, all of whom were only too willing to talk cricket to the fledgling Society. One such person was Clive Rice. He was a quiet man, who was as hard as nails on the field and a fine leader of men. He had to be. The Transvaal side of the early-mid 1980s almost burst at the seams with stars such as Jimmy Cook, Alvin Kallicharran, Graeme Pollock, Kevin McKenzie, Neal Radford, Vince van der Bijl and later on Sylvester Clarke – not forgetting the skipper himself. His Transvaal colleague, Neal Radford has kindly provided the following tribute to his former captain: Ricey, as he was nicknamed, was the ultimate professional in his time. Tenacious, gutsy, tough, uncompromising, competitive and driven, he gave no quarter and asked for none when he crossed the ropes. Winning was the only goal, and finishing second meant you were last in his book. He was certainly the best player never to play Test cricket, with a career comprising 26,000 runs at an average of 40, and 930 wickets at 22. He was the best captain I have played under and I am sure the rest of the ‘Mean Machine’ squad are devastated by his death. The Transvaal team formed a real brotherhood and through excellence, dominated the domestic scene for a decade under Ricey’s captaincy – the finest side I had the privilege of playing for! No player let the others down – if Ricey said 5pm at the Wanderers’ nets, no one arrived later than 4:30pm, such was the respect the guys had not just the captain, but for each other. Ricey – R.I.P.


Essex C.S. – Their summer newsletter contained a warm tribute to Alan Saywood, who died, aged 83, in April 2015. Alan joined the committee in 1999 and took over as Secretary and Vice-Chairman two years later. Alan contracted polio shortly after he was born, which left him wearing callipers on his weakened legs, but he never let his disability impair him. He had a long career with Fords as a design engineer and developed a passion for fast cars, winning many rallying events in his younger days. On one of his journeys to CCS meetings at Edgbaston, he found himself on the M6 toll road [easily done – Ed.] and managed to sweet-talk his way out of paying the toll at the first exit. Alan was an artist of repute. He produced an excellent painting of the County’s first-class cricket pavilions to commemorate Essex C. S’s 25th anniversary in 1999 and the limited edition prints raised a considerable sum for the Society’s funds.

lan’s failing health caused him to resign from the committee in December 2014.

This abridged report first appeared in ‘Willow Talk’ – the newsletter of Essex Cricket Society.

Cotswold Cricket Museum

Andy Collier, curator of the Museum, has had to declare innings closed (temporarily it is hoped) on his labour of love. The first-floor attraction relied on the revenues of the ground-floor teashop. A visitor information centre was introduced to encourage footfall, but failed to attract enough additional visitors – and thereby generate vital extra revenue – for the museum’s sustainability.


To date Phil Veasey reports that twelve survey replies have been returned, for which many thanks. The brief survey form was sent out with the last newsletter.

The prime purpose of the questionnaire is to ensure the CCS has up-to-date information in order that the Council’s redesigned website is as accurate and informative as possible. The other reason for the survey is to obtain information that may be shared and, if considered appropriate, introduced by individual societies.

Despite the small sample processed so far, a number of interesting points have arisen. These include:

  • 2 Societies meet in the daytime with one holding meetings on Saturday afternoons
  • 3 Societies are active on social media (Facebook, Twitter etc)
  • 3 Societies present annual awards to local clubs / cricketers
  • 7 Societies arrange regular dinners
  • 8 Societies are featured on their local County Club websites with two Counties providing valuable support by including Society leaflets with their mailshots

If you have not returned your Society’s details, it will be much appreciated if you can do so as soon as possible.


As editor, I shall strive to ensure that the contents of the newsletters fulfil most if not all of the following criteria. Each edition needs to be interesting, lively and relevant to the readership.

It must be accepted however that due to long periods between issues the contents do not always chime with topicality.

Contributions from individual societies, snippets of interesting local news that may have eluded the national press plus ideas as to how the appeal of cricket societies may be broadened to attract new members are always welcome.

Final Over

CCS’s half-yearly meeting will be held on Saturday 7 November 2015 at the County Ground, Derby. The guest speaker will be Mike Newell, Director of Cricket – Nottinghamshire CCC.

An official notice together with lunch arrangements will be circulated separately.

As the 2015/16 winter season is about to commence, it is appropriate to salute the superb efforts of various unsung people who identify, contact, arrange, negotiate, hire, meet, welcome, entertain and introduce the guest speakers. Occasionally, they also have to find replacements at very short notice. Thank you! Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

In view of recent results, moves are afoot to reduce the number of playing days from five to three for each Test match played in England against Australia. Reliable sources say that the trophy to be contested, under the new playing arrangement, will be known as The Cinders

The views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the Council of Cricket Societies