May 022019

BOB Cross called for Heywood’s first team players to pull together in his 20th address as President to the annual meeting of the Club at Crimble.

The senior side suffered relegation from the Premier Division of the Greater Manchester League for a second time in three years during 2018, and Bob pinpointed what he believed was a contributory factor.

He explained: “I felt that team spirit and camaraderie was missing last season, an opinion not based on first-hand information but only from observation.

“I do hope that our new captain Sean Burrill, with help from fresh faces in professional Faisal Iqbal and James Kettleborough, can regalvanise that team spirit.

“And my understanding is that, after only one game this season, we have a happier dressing-room.”

Bob reported that three products of Heywood’s youth system had enjoyed high-profile success during the previous 12 months, to reflect great credit on themselves and the Club.

Jack Morley, Kate Cross and Olivia Thomas came through the Crimble junior set-up and enjoyed a tremendous time in 2018 to earn a special commendation from the President.

He said: “I am sure that you will join me in congratulating Jack on gaining his England cap at Under-19 level and securing a professional contract with Lancashire.

“Kate was reselected by England for the women’s tour of India and Sri Lanka, and to be voted Player-of-the-Match in the third T20 International in India is some achievement.

“Olivia, meanwhile, has for some time proved herself at Lancashire where she has played for the Under-15s, the Under-17s and the second team, and has also become a member of the Lancashire Thunder development squad.

“Jack, Kate and Olivia, the Club is proud of you.”

The balance sheet for 2018 showed a deficit of £11,286, largely because of a building maintenance and repair figure of £47,684 mainly made up of a major refurbishment to the Lounge and a total electrical rewiring.

That was offset by sizeable donations, much of which was provided by former first team captain Jack Wilson. And Bob, with whom he shared many successes during their playing days, was quick to pay tribute to his colleague.

He said: “Jack will not thank me for saying that he has given more than £30,000 to the club over the past year, a most generous gesture.”

Bob also gave special thanks to the many volunteers at the Club plus Zahid Iqbal, better known as “Z” during his playing days at Crimble, for his help in providing accommodation and transport for the Club’s new professional.

But a downside highlighted by the President was a decline in membership numbers, despite the Club having reduced the cost of an annual subscription to £25 – which brings discounts on bar drinks.

He said: “If, like me, members enjoy a couple of drinks a week at the Club, the discount actually adds up to more than the cost of the annual membership.

“I would like to think that this alone might encourage more of those who support the first team to become members. And I would particularly ask current members not to subsidise non-members by buying them drinks at discounted prices.

“We have been fortunate to secure the services of Steve Cromarty as the new Bar Steward. Steve is a former player and has considerable experience in the licensing trade, and he is already making a difference for the better.”

All the Club’s officials were re-elected, and chairman John Rhodes observed in his pre-prepared remarks: “Over the last year the Club has undergone a great deal of change.

“Thanks to the very generous donation from Jack Wilson we were able to embark on a complete overhaul of the building.

“This included: all aspects of the electrics, including a full rewire; joinery work inside and outside; and, of course, new furnishing, carpets and decoration.

“On the field we have appointed a new professional, Faisal Iqbal, a former Pakistan Test player. Alongside him will be James Kettleborough, a county and Minor Counties batsman. Their experience should prove invaluable to the rest of the squad.

“We have new captains, too, in Sean Burrill for the first team and Steve Evans for the second team. The third team continues to be captained by Roger Smethurst.

“But I repeat what I asked for last year – we need younger members to come on to the General Committee. If you feel you would like to be more involved in the running of the Club then put in your nomination just as soon as you can.”

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