AGM News: A new chair and 2024 priorities

Who is the new chair of Bovey Tracey Cricket Club?

Bovey Tracey Cricket Club have elected a female chairperson! Our progressive club has appointed not only a woman – but a non-cricketer! I am really proud to have been elected as the new chair at our AGM on 8th December and I have a clear vision for the club. I feel the responsibility, but also the excitement, of being the first female to take on the role. I thought I would send out this note to all members to introduce myself, so here goes (feel free to jump 4 paragraphs!).

*Photograph courtesy of Mark Lockett photography

A Plymouth girl originally, I met my husband Tony in 1986 when working in London and we settled in the South East for a while. I worked first as an IT project manager and then as a management consultant specialising in change management – at KPMG for 6 years and then running my own consultancy business. We moved (a return for me) to Devon in 2007 to enjoy some wholesome country-living with our children. Tony and I have recently retired now that our daughter, Rebecca, lives in London and our son, Sam, is at Cardiff University. Tony is the groundsman at the club and so the cricket club takes up quite a chunk of our week – even through the winter – and has done for the last few years. People think we all get a break over the winter and would be surprised by how much there is to do for many of us at the club off season. In some ways, it is almost a relief when the cricket season starts and all the plans come to fruition!

We joined BTCC as a family in 2010 when both children took up cricket (let’s be honest they had no choice as their dad is a cricket fanatic!). Tony helped to coach the team, I learned how to score (from a standing start – best way to learn the game quickly btw!) and did the team organisation. The friends we made back then remain close friends today. One of the things I love about cricket and our club in particular, is that it provides a community for players and their families – cricket is amazing but it is about more than that for me. My vision for the club is all about “one team” – on and off the pitch – people working together at all levels to make cricket happen and to form friendships that will last for years. This already happens, but I would like to see even more people getting involved and feeling a part of the club. I want us to be a club that welcomes everyone and finds a place for them.

Those who know me, know that I’m no good at sitting on my hands when something needs doing, so I was persuaded to manage the district team for my son’s age group for several years – well the organisation of it at least – Tim Ward (who is the current Chair at Paignton CC) led the coaching, and we ran the side as a double act. Being part of the district system was a great way for me to make connections across the clubs in South Devon – again many of those I met back then are still friends. Meanwhile back at home, Nigel Mountford invited me to join the BTCC committee in 2016. Nigel was our chairman for 18 years, and created the sort of environment that made people like me want to take part. He set the right tone and has left the club with an important legacy. I took on the role of Membership Secretary – moving our record-keeping from an Excel spreadsheet to the current Membermojo system. You may have seen me on Friday nights throughout the season sitting at the table registering players on this system as they arrive for training. I followed Sam and Tony into the Senior teams as a scorer and have scored on most Saturdays since. Anyone who has sat with a scorer during a match will know that they know more than anyone about cricket tactics (or at least we think we do!). I managed the club’s Junior section for a few years, focusing on the organisation to free up the cricketers to do the coaching. Finally, for the last 3 years I have been Andy Bishop’s vice chair and, as it has turned out, apprentice. Andy will be a very tough act to follow. He has been an excellent chair, working tirelessly for the good of the club over the last, fairly intense, 3 years. I am grateful to him, not only for showing me the ropes, but also for offering me his full support in my new role (which I plan to take up!).

Let’s be honest, all this doesn’t make me a cricketer. I would say my super powers are: creating environments where progress can happen; being approachable and open to new ideas and; being tenacious in seeing things through to the end (love crossing things off a to do list!). What I do have is the most incredible team of cricketers around me on the committee and beyond, who are there to support me. Bovey Tracey Cricket Club is not short of cricket experts! I plan to bring my organisational skills and process skills (building teams, facilitating effective meetings, engaging participation…) to enable all these amazing cricketers at the club to work together to make the best cricket happen.

How the club works

The cricket club now is like a medium-sized business – we are way past the small business stage with over 550 members, both playing and social members! In addition to the chair, vice chair and secretary roles, we have organised ourselves into 12 sub-committees: obviously Junior Cricket and Senior Cricket (playing, coaching, arranging fixtures, umpiring and scoring) are at the core but the committees also cover the management of the “business” e.g. Finance, Governance, EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion), Safeguarding, Communications & Technology, Bar, Catering, Pavilion, Grounds, Succession Planning, as well as trying to bring funds in to the club to pay for the facilities and coaching through Membership, Sponsorship and Social Events. We have the MOST capable committee in the land running each of these areas, and I plan to introduce each of them in my next email in the New Year, but also individually in special feature emails throughout the year.

What’s new for 2024

We have already started working together as a new committee making plans for 2024, and we will share all our plans after our next meeting in the new year. The following is not a comprehensive list but these are some of my personal highlights from our plans so far:

  • We are recruiting no fewer than three overseas players for the 2024 season! The committee all agreed that cricket development is our priority for 2024 and to that end we have signed Musa Twala to play in the 1stXI, Braydon Pink to play in the 2nd XI and very excitingly, our first ever female overseas player, Monica Gair. They have all been selected, not just for their cricketing ability, but also for their coaching credentials. We are keen that they leave value behind at the club after their season with us. Please see their profiles here. Many thanks to Pete Bradley who has worked hard finding these players and dealing with their agent.
  • We have welcomed several new members to our committee. To add to our already stellar line up: Andrew Lockwood has kindly agreed to be my Vice Chair and bring his many skills (including cricket knowledge) to the role, despite already being one of the busiest people on the planet! George Pitman will be the new Head of Junior Coaching, taking over from Ash Causey who has (temporarily we hope) moved to London. George has exciting plans and will be sending out an email very soon about pre-season training. Fiona Topping is going to be working alongside George as she is going to head up our Junior section. Mike Davies has joined the committee formally at the AGM as Club Fixtures Secretary, having taken on the role part way through last year from John Whitlock (our 1st XI Scorer who has been our Fixtures Secretary for several years, taking over from Geoff Coish before him). Arren de Young has also joined the committee, carrying on the amazing work he started last year introducing new sponsors to the club. Ash Roots is taking on responsibility for Communications & Technology, bringing a depth of experience and expertise from his day job; we are looking forward to being brought up to date with our use of technology. We also have two new senior captains for next season: Toby Codd for the 1st XI and Dan Botelerfor the 3rd XI. We are delighted to welcome all these new members to the committee – they will add their skills and considerable talents to those of our existing committee members. We are such a lucky club to have such depth in skills and expertise.
  • We are planning a new Women’s softball team. Kelly Luscombe plans to run Wine & Wickets again next season – once a month on a Friday evening. To enable people to transition from this to playing a cricket match, Kelly is looking for someone to run a new Women’s softball team (kit provided) with her support. Please watch out as the new season approaches for ways in which you can get involved.
  • We are going for 200 numbers in our 200 club! For many years we have had a “40ish Club”, which is bit of a wasted opportunity because it could be a really useful steady income to the club (£3 per number per month). Hannah Bradley has come forward to offer to help us in our push to have a genuine 200 club. Please help Hannah achieve this goal on our behalf when she approaches you!

There is more to come in 2024. This was a very long email, but I promise that I won’t ever go on about myself again in future emails! We have many opportunities for people to get involved in our special club, and there will be another Volunteer Evening in March so you can come along and see if you would like to help and be part of this team.

In the meantime, I wish you and your families the merriest of Christmasses,

Tina England