Chairman's Corner

In each of our regular New Bulletins the Chairman, Nigel Hancock, writes his observations on Cricket Society matters. You can read the latest edition below. 

November/ December 2019

What have in common the cricketers Briers, Popplewell, Fenton, Howard, Cowley and the umpires Llong and Plews? Plus (thanks editor) Haig - Middlesex amateur captain and England player famously cited for ball-tampering in the 1920s whose ingenious defence was a) Doesn't everyone? and b) I return the ball to its normal condition after Number 7 is out to ensure fair play! – and Hollywood's own Bruce (Dr Watson to Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes) who turned out regularly for C Aubrey Smith's Hollywood Cricket Club and captained it  along with Surrey member Boris Karloff. You’ve got it in one. They are all cricketing Nigels.

I doubt that any of them queued with me in the rain in late September at Bretforton’s Fleece Inn, not far from my new Worcestershire home, to help set a record gathering of 432 Nigels. This followed publicity about there being no new Nigels across the UK. “We’re only shaking hands with Nigels” proclaimed a follow-up tabloid. Perhaps I did so without knowing it with an authentic cricketing Nigel. Not Nigel Briers though, a Wisden 1993 cricketer of the year following a strong Championship showing and progression to the Nat West finals. Captain Nigel Briers, one of the better players not to be selected for England, stepped down from active involvement in 1995 but by then had helped lay the foundations for Leicestershire’s Championship triumphs sin 1996 and 1998 (at times when all the 18 Counties played each other). Enough of Nigels, although I imagine an analysis of current cricketing names would tell us something socially interesting.

Our autumn show is already well on the road with meetings held at the National Liberal Club (a new venue for us, thanks Phil Reeves) and the Civil Service Club. Neither the antics of Extinction Rebellion in central London or the dress code (which I know deterred some) could prevent a fair turnout at the NLC for a fascinating afternoon with Fred Rumsey and Stephen Chalke. Our London events supremo Nick Tudball will never forget the sight of Stephen pushing Fred in his wheelchair from the Tottenham Court Road area, across Trafalgar Square and on to the NLC; and back again afterwards.

Some 29 of you were at the Civil Service Club for this year’s AGM, and were joined by a few more to hear writer Mark Peel expound entertainingly on aspects of England’s cricketing tours in the 25 years from 1946. After the break an audience well steeped in its cricket history engaged with Mark on a range of touring matters. The AGM was livelier than usual, with a range of points made about matters including speakers, communication, member surveys, whether we should take a Society view on issues – not on my watch, we are a broad church of varied cricketing faiths, tastes and opinions - and plans for marking the Society’s 75th birthday a year hence. Welcome Raf Nicholson and Mick Kelly to a new Executive Committee of nine which will soon be addressing a range of developmental issues.

Our third venue this autumn – The Oval – was the venue for a sell-out autumn lunch, with Chris Lewis the speaker. A fourth – the Union Jack Club on 4 November – will by the time this Bulletin reaches you have held a meeting with our vice president and much more Vic Marks. *** Nick Tudball  is compiling a list of those of you happy to receive emails direct from him ahead of our London meetings and other London events. The list was started at the AGM. If you would like to be on it, and receive such emails (with of course the usual guarantees and the ability subsequently to opt out) please let Nick know. ***

A sad note finally. It was a useful rite of Chairman’s passage a few years back to meet Jane Box-Grainger (thanks former Chairman Bill Allen for the company when we were at one of her soirées together) and I know from limited contact since that she looked at our publications and retained an interest in our directions of travel. I have a pictorial illustration of cricket by Jane that I hope to include in the Spring 2020 Journal.

Jane, who died recently, was a well-known figure alongside her husband Christopher (a former Cricket Society Chairman). The Christopher Box-Grainger Memorial Trophy is awarded each year to the school or organisation which makes the most of the opportunity provided by The Trust during its visit to the Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation. Jane was a strong supporter of the Trust. As an amateur artist her works were sold and proceeds denoted to the Trust. And before she became infirm she also attended Trust events, occasions often enlivened by the presence of her sister, actor Susan Hampshire

The partnership between The Cricket Society and The Cricket Society Trust, our charitable arm, is an important one. Details about The Trust’s activities and how to donate can be found at cricketsociety,trust.org.uk . Our member Janet King is a regular attender at their annual events and reports on the most recent one.

Nigel Hancock