Jan 282016

HEYWOOD Cricket Club supporters are being asked to show patience over the venture into the Greater Manchester Cricket League.

That was the plea by Chairman John Rhodes to a sizeable gathering at the annual general meeting at Crimble.

The 2015 season was Heywood’s last in the Central Lancashire League after becoming founder members in 1892, and the club is ready for an exciting new future when the GMCL action gets under way in April.

But the Chairman said that he felt the watchword should be “patience” and explained: “I have no doubt that there will be problems both on and off the field, and I would ask our supporters to be patient and give the change a chance.

“We had a mediocre season by our standards in 2016, yet we still finished a creditable fifth in the league, won the Twenty20 Trophy and Bobby Cross was again the leader amateur run-maker.

“I for one am entering 2016 with optimism and excitement. I sincerely hope that you are, too.”

A change to club rules saw the meeting sanction the introduction of an additional new form of membership, ‘Friends of Heywood Cricket Club’, which if proving a success will help the club cope with its increasing problems in paying day-to-day bills.

The scheme is purely optional and does NOT replace any of the previous levels of membership, which remain unaltered. It will cost £20 per month for an individual, or £25 for couples and those on a family membership, payable by Standing Order.

Those taking up the membership will have access to some additional functions during the year that will be announced in due course.  It is likely that there will be a sponsored match at no cost to those members, and a further event in the winter months.

The Chairman explained: “This is designed to enable the treasurer to pay all the recurring bills without having the worry of where the money might be coming from. Believe it or not, it costs £2,000-per-month just to do this.”

He also highlighted another imminent new feature, a till being installed behind the bar to give up-to-date members preferential bar prices – compared to non-members – by use of a swipe card.

The prices are also hoped to apply to visitors of GMCL clubs who produce their membership cards when purchasing drinks.

Bob Cross, who was re-elected as President for a 17th successive season, reflected on a memorable 2015 featuring the club’s 150th anniversary dinner, which he described as a fantastic occasion.

He thanked the people responsible for making bonfire night “a superb financial result” and also those for again staging an excellent Christmas lunch.

The President informed members that a new Social Committee had been formed to come up with ideas for functions, and added that they will welcome suggestions.

He also praised the efforts of Bobby Cross for a “spectacular result” in acquiring grants from Sport England and the English Cricket Board to go alongside donations from Lancashire CCC and Rochdale Council. The money will go towards renovating the ground and its surrounds following flood damage.

On the playing side, the President congratulated Danny Pawson in leading the side to last year’s Twenty20 Trophy victory, and Bobby Cross for winning the Sir Frank Worrell Trophy as the league’s leading amateur run scorer for a record seventh time – “all as a genuine amateur.”

He looked forward to the new challenge in the GMCL under coach John Stanworth and skipper Chris Humphreys, both taking on the roles for the first time.

In the general business of the meeting, the adoption of the balance sheet was deferred because the auditors had not had time to verify the accounts, and this will now take place at an extraordinary general meeting to be arranged.

All club officials and members of the General Committee were re-elected en bloc.

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