A Thank You from the 2020 AGM…
Before I start I would like to reiterate Nigel’s thanks to everyone who was involved last season given the challenges that we all rose to, to get cricket on at short notice in July. Particular thanks also to Rob Phillips and Dave Woods who have been stalwarts of the club for many years. Nigel has called out their achievements and I would also like to thank Dave personally for steering the club through the major refurbishment work a few years ago – this was no mean feat given much of the work was structural and planning incredibly difficult given we had no idea what lay between the floor of the pavilion and the ground underneath – as it turned out not much and Dave did a fantastic job, re-jigging budgets and priorities to ensure we could complete the refurbishment as planned.
Our circumstances prevent us from celebrating with Nigel in person and in the style which he deserves. Modest as he is, his short resume of his involvement with the club does not do justice to the lifelong involvement which he has had and the enormous impact as well.
Nigel joined BTCC when Stuart his father was captain – 3 other uncles were also playing for the club at the time with other members of the family involved including Arthur as chairman. Thanks to Geoff Coish for his research looking back at Nigel’s career. Whilst it would be impossible to recount every memory there are a number which stand out.
I believe Nigel’s adult playing career began in 1967, his first recorded innings was a score of 12 in a match against Invertere. Nigel first played for the 2nd XI on the 12th May 1968, he kept wicket and took 1 catch. Many further appearances for the second eleven took place. In one he batted with his dad for a short time as Stuart went on to score 92 not out against South Devon 2nd XI. In 1969 Nigel played in nearly all the 2nd XI matches, he was gradually moving up the order. Again, he batted with dad on one occasion scoring 20 not out while his dad scored 109. In this season (1969) he won the Club ‘Canon Power Cup’.
Nigel left Bovey to play for Torquay in 1976. It was suggested that playing for Torquay he could be considered for ‘Devon’. He played for Devon a number of times but finally “saw sense” and returned to Bovey in 1986 and to the delight of his family and so many friends at the club, he carried on where he left off.
He was Vice-Captain of the 1st XI 1987, 1988, and then took up the captaincy in 1989 – 1995.
He was Vice-Chairman 1998 – until 2002. In 2002 the First Eleven were Premier Division champions and the second Eleven runners up in Premier Division 2nd XI League.
Nigel then became Chairman after at a very difficult time for the club and inherited an incredibly challenging situation after a number of players left prior to the 2003 season.
He brought the leadership he had shown on the pitch to the running of the club, bringing together a new committee, new players and a new culture at the club. He was at the heart of the phoenix which rose from the ashes to the success of the club as we know it today. This leadership over the years has taken many forms – not just as chairman but from my own experience I know he has undertaken just every job that at the club that anyone can imagine and some indeed that you cannot.
Throughout that time he continued to play for Devon firstly the over 50’s and then the over 60’s until he finally retired in 2017 – despite my best efforts I never got him to turn out for the 3rd or 4th X1 even on those occasions when we were desperately searching for players late on a Friday night – I think at times he thought I was joking about keeping spare kit in my bag – I definitely wasn’t.
He has rightly called out many of his own highs – winning the Premiership in 2017 and successfully launching the 4th X1 are but two of those highlights. These highlights do reflect the fantastic culture which Nigel has embodied throughout his 18 years as chairman. His custodianship has seen the development of a club which is both ambitious and also for the community, dedicated to the development of the younger players, home-grown talent and I know some of his proudest moments are those on the boundary watching young players successfully playing for Devon who started in our colts, migrated their way into adult cricket through the 4ths and 3rds and then have shone through the 2nds and 1st X1s.
Another highlight that he hasn’t mentioned though is the first phase of the pavilion refurbishment during the winter of 2014 and 2015. It was down to Nigel’s efforts and commitment that much of the funding was secured and then, as I mentioned earlier working with Dave Woods, we navigated through to the great pavilion which we have today. I am delighted …. and to a degree deeply relieved that Nigel has agreed to “stay on” and oversee the next phase of the development – once this is completed, I know he will have achieved his vision for the club.
Over so many years Nigel has created, developed, sustained and lead a club accessible to all, a club where people feel involved and indeed want to be involved, an open, friendly club which welcomes all ages, abilities and genuinely serves the community in which it operates. Nigel, you have created a club and an environment that is the envy of many and you have also been rightly recognised by Devon Cricket being appointed as CEO of Devon County Cricket Club in 2016.
I am also delighted that Nigel has agreed to become our new President – a fitting and appropriate tribute to a true gentleman who has given so much to this club over so many years – you have created a legacy which I and the committee will do our utmost to honour in the coming years.
Nigel – the club, the committee, the members, the players, the parents and the whole community involved with BTCC owe you an immense debt of gratitude – you should be rightly proud of the talisman role you have played over many years, not just the 18 years of your chairmanship leading what I believe is the most rounded, inviting and involving club in Devon. Your legacy is a strong club, with a wide following and a culture which seeks to bring out the best in everyone involved.
You don’t “get away” with just this recognition – we are planning a wider celebration when the season starts and hopefully we can all get together in person when others will also have the opportunity to pay tribute to all that you have done.
It just remains for me to say that I and the new committee will do all we can to sustain and grow the great club honouring your legacy – thank you for your dedication, your leadership and everything you have done over so many years – thank you.