Possible impact of COVID-19 on the 2021 summer season
Currently we are planning for a normal season with the same 'Covid Secure' measures in place as in 2020, but this is of course dependent on government and ECB guidance.
Our club policy is to aim to play a "competitive" team in every league match, meaning that the team has a fair chance of winning if they play well, while we also aim to ensure that there is plenty of rotation of players. In 2021 we will be aiming to run additional friendlies as we are keen to provide as many match-play opportunities per player as we can.
In 2020 we ran 107 matches in a shortened season
The 2020 outdoor cricket season started around 8 weeks later than normal, due to the pandemic, but thanks to some amazing work by the club's Executive Committee, our Senior Fixtures Secretary / Pitch Manager, our Junior Fixtures Secretary and all of the junior team managers, we ran an amazing 107 friendly matches and nearly every player who was available got a match each week, with fixtures running through the summer holidays in September. A huge thank you to everyone who organised the games and well done everyone for following the government and England & Wales Cricket Board guidelines so diligently.
In 2020, our two girls' squads were set to play in all-girl league divisions for the first time. Although the league fixtures were cancelled, our squads played a number of games against other local girls' teams and feedback from players and parents was very positive, so we will be continuing this approach in 2021.
We have also had feedback from our team managers that in 2020, our U10, U11, and U12 squads, many players very much enjoyed playing 'conventional' rules cricket in friendlies, so we'll be aiming to use the combination of league and friendly matches to provide for both conventional and pairs formats.
We are keen to provide as many matches as possible for all of our junior players. In 2019, players played an average of 6 games each. Based on our 2020 junior members survey, parents were most in favour of running these additional friendlies through the summer holidays, as 2020 proved was possible, so we'll be looking to book extra pitches and to keep cricket happening on weekends through to late August.
2019 - our last league season
As a junior section that started with a single league team in 2008, we are perhaps still catching up with some longer established south London clubs, but our results are steadily improving and in 2019 we ran 59% more matches than in any previous year while our membership grew by 26%, providing more match-play opportunities per player than we've ever had before - an average of 6 matches each.
Our players did this during a year in which 21% of our players were new to the club and we entered them into more age-groups that ever before, including two girls' squads entered into divisions where they were playing against teams mainly of boys who had probably been playing the game for longer.
Our girls' teams struggled to win matches in their first year. Teams often included a high number of players who were quite new to the game - both the girls and often a few boys filling in. In 2020 we expect to have bigger and more experienced squads and have decided to enter them into different leagues in which they will be playing against other teams of girls, so we're hopeful of getting more results going their way.
All but one of our boys and mixed teams finished in the top half of their divisions.
We want to say a huge 'well done' to all of our players, old and new.
Positives from the last couple of years, which we intend to build on in 2020:
Far more players attended indoor training over winter and spring than in previous years
Quality of our coaching and training has improved yet again this year (thank you 360 Cricket)
We far played more training games than in previous years
Lots of hard work by parents volunteering as team managers, many of whom gave our kids extra practice on the sidelines of matches, by organising friendlies and by running their own additional net sessions
And of course the kids have also looked and felt like a team, wearing club shirts and caps sponsored by Brown Building
How can I check results?
Each age-group has a WhatsApp group for parents, and results (and sometimes live over by over commentary, if the match is an exciting one) are normally posted there first.
We also encourage a parent from each team to post the result and a few words on how the match went to the club's facebook group, which we encourage all parents to join.
For league matches, you can also check team results (but not individual performances) by going to http://stmcc.play-cricket.com/, and selecting Matches > Results, then using the options to filter the list (see fixtures above) for the timeframe and team that you are interested in.