Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bring on the Academy

For as long as I can remember, the end of season Presentation Nights have been about talking up the following season. No matter how well you may have done as an individual, or how well the team you were in has done, or how the Club as a whole has performed, when it comes to the Presentation Night, the talk abounds about how much better the performances will be in the next season.

Examples would include generic statements such as:

· "Next season I'm going to score *insert number of runs* runs"

· "Next season I'm going to take *insert number of wickets* wickets"

· "Can you believe that *insert team* won the comp last season?! If they can do it, surely we can do it next season!"

· "We'll be right, because next season we're going to get *insert players name* and *insert players name* is coming back as well, so we'll be definite contenders!"

· "I'm definitely playing next season, and we'll give this competition a shake!!"

It is this final example that has gotten me into trouble for the season ahead.

Though rumours had floated around in the weeks preceding, it was not until Kiama Cricket Club's Annual General Meeting on the Saturday before the Presentation Night that it was confirmed that our Club would be nominating a second Third Grade team in the 2010/11 season, which would be specifically directed toward the upcoming youth in the Club. It was an idea some of us had been floating for the past five years, but the opportunity to do it right had never really materialised. To do the job right, you had to have the right mix of juniors who were both talented enough and enthusiastic enough to want to play Grade cricket after their junior matches on a Saturday morning, as well as a core of senior players who were not only still good enough to hold their own in Grade cricket, but were willing enough and committed enough to play for a season (or more) in such a venture, for the good of the future of the Club.

At the reflectional drink in the bar of the Kiama Leagues Club following the meeting, our illustrious Life Member Joe Murphy was quite happy to throw up my name as not only a participant in this proposed side, but as captain of the team. Though I mentioned that I was open to the possibility, that was the most I was willing to commit myself to.

So we come to the Presentation Night, and having had the illustrious Joe Murphy bandy about during the evening that I was going to captain this new side, there were many seniors coming forward to pronounce their interest in the venture. Strangely enough, all were imbibed with alcoholic bravado which could not help their situation.

In my case, I was keen enough, but there were two initial stumbling blocks. The first was my work situation, where I worked every second Saturday until about 2pm, meaning I was effectively out every other week. The second was the willingness of my family to excuse me from their presence on the Saturdays I could play. the second of these problems was solved on that evening. Along with Joe, fellow Life Member John Watts and myself at our table were our erstwhile partners. With the conversation sticking quite solidly about the following season's cricket (see above explanation), Helen was in fact forward in suggesting I should be a part of this team, and that I should be playing in the coming season as a part of it. Once this was out, there was no turning back.

The only part of Joe's push that could not come to fruition was me being the captain of the side. There was no chance of me being able to forgo work on those Saturdays, and thus any chance of me leading the team as well. In my mind this was probably a good thing. When new President Rob Farrell was able to convince Joe to take on the job, he found the right person. Easy-going yet competitive, a good reader of the game and also able to relate to all age groups, Joe was really a natural for the job. His success as captain of the 1999/2000 2nd Grade side, that was similar in construction for what the Club was looking for in this 3rd Grade team also boded well for his appointment.