We are sad to say that we are going to have to postpone the Cycle Race scheduled for 2nd January.
Although that’s the best part of a week away, we are concerned about icy conditions on the Lathrisk Road. We might have hoped that the thaw that’s happening right now would last long enough to clear the road, but we are told that the outlook is for the weather to get worse rather than better. Even one or two patches of ice would make things dangerous, and it sounds as though there’s every prospect of a very icy Lathrisk road by next Saturday.
So, sorry, everyone. We’ll get the race organised as soon as we can.
With the cold winter months hopefully behind us we can now look forward to the forthcoming cricket season. This will be my first full season as captain and I’m really looking forward to the challenges ahead. There are a few people I’d like to thank before the season has even started, as we all know alot of work goes on behind the scenes during the closed season. Firstly I’d like to thank John Thomson who is putting together an impressive website for us, hopefully we can keep providing him with plenty of material to keep it interesting and informative. Secondly I’d like to thank Dave Christie for all his hard work once again in providing a first class square for us to play on. Another thank you must go to Scott Galloway for all his help and research with finding our overseas players for the season.
I’d like to wish Ian Patterson all the best as President this year, he has been very supportive and I’m sure under his leadership Freuchie Cricket Club can move forward.
Saturday was our first game of the season, a friendly against Glenrothes Cricket Club. Unfortunately we lost by a mere 16 runs, due to some slack bowling and some bad shot selection by the batsmen. However, as it is our first game of the season we will not dwell too much on the result but rather look on the positives which were that all the batsmen spent some time at the crease and the bowlers all turned their arm over. Special mention must go to Jamie Macintosh who has committed himself to play for Freuchie this season and looks to be a very good addition to the playing staff.
Looking forward to next week as we are off to Huntly for a weekend of team building (and drinking!), we will definitely be joined by our amateur Dan Harper who arrives this week and we also hope that Mario Saliwa, our Pro, will also be here in time to join us. However we are still waiting on word back regarding his Visa to enter the county, we will keep you posted on this situation as it unfolds.
Our AGM on Sunday 7th December was the best-attended for a long time. A cynic might suggest that this was because we had such a stinker of a year on the field in 2008 and a lot of people thinking things needed fixed, but that would be quite wrong. The mood of the meeting was very positive and actions before and since testify to that.
Just the one bit of not-so-good news: We have known for a long time that our Centenary Year President Alan Duncan was going to step down. We bent his ear mercilessly about staying on, but in the end admitted defeat – for a good cause. Alan looks after Grey Lodges in Dundee, a charitable organisation dedicated to promoting learning, leisure and local action in the community. His operation had a difficult year in 2008. He knows it’s going to be even tougher next year and we know that what Grey Lodges do is very important in Dundee. Maybe they need him more than we do. Let’s recognise that if we had a bad year on the field in 2008, we had a great year off it – our pre-season tour to Ireland, our mid summer cricket festival and our fixture with the Cross Arrows in September – all down to Alan’s enterprise and contacts. He remains with us as a committee member (and says he’s in training to get back into the first team!).
Not easy to find a replacement, but we think we have a good one in Ian Paterson. Patsy’s involvement with us came about through the football club, but he’s been a committee member (and 2nd XI batsman of distinctive style – say no more) for the last few years. We had our first committee meeting with Patsy in the chair on Monday night, with more buzz about the place than we’ve seen for a while.
That in turn comes from one of the most gratifying outcomes of the AGM – more players on the committee. Freuchie Cricket Club is about cricket, first and foremost. If our committee has maybe been a bit short of active players in the recent past, it’s not now! Scott Birrell and Scott Gourlay come back, Steve Rowley joins us, Robbie Birrell and Alan and Jock Wallace are still with us, and two really positive additions – junior member Robbie Wright and football club member Davie Houston. Development of our junior players is absolutely crucial, and having Robbie on board will help in that, while the mutually beneficial relationship of the cricket and football clubs is so important for us all. Good on ye, Davie Houston!
Robbie Birrell takes over as club captain and is already making an impact. Indoor training starts in January, with a programme of events already mapped out, and we’ll have the experience of Dave ‘Coo’ Cowan as vice captain. Second team leaders have yet to be elected.
We are also – gulp – working to bring in a pro for next year. We’ve said before that while our overseas players have not necessarily been highest scorers or wicket takers, week in, week out, they have provided a strength in the team that we visibly lacked in 2008. Even more important, we must have top-level coaching in place to bring on our juniors and younger players. Why ‘gulp’? Gulp and gulp again, because we look like pushing our finances to the limit, and there’s a lot of nail-biting about our plan. But we have no wish to be financially comfortably-off and sliding out of the SNCL leagues.
Onwards and Upwards!
AGM first – Sunday 7th December at 3 pm in the clubhouse. All welcome – members and non-members – the more the merrier.
Children’s Christmas Party – in case you are not here to see the notices around the village – the party is in the clubhouse on 21st December, from 2.30 to 4.30 pm. There is a list in the clubhouse to enter names of all children who wish to go, and the deadline for entry is 23rd November. If you can’t make it to the clubhouse, give Lesley Ramage a ring on 01337 857 496.
To be eligible, children must have parents who are club members, or be junior members in their own right, and be of primary school age or under.
There was a player’s meeting recently, well attended by senior players – and, we are delighted to say, by two of our ‘senior juniors’ – but seriously lacking in those more commonly turning out with the Twos. Let’s be precise – there was only one guy at the meeting who has been a Twos regular this year. Come on, guys – we need to see all players helping to plot our course for the future. More of that in a moment.
Robbie Birrell was elected unanimously as captain for 2009, Alan Wallace stepping down after what everyone agreed had been a very difficult year. More of that in a moment as well. Dave ‘Coo’ Cowan was unanimously elected as vice captain, with some delicately euphemistic words from Dave Christie. ‘Delicate’ like “then he needs to get himsel’ fit. Get some o’ that weight aff.” Coo has been plagued with injuries for a long time, but he still has so much to offer, both as a player and as a reader of the game, and we all hope that we can indeed see him back as a playing regular next year. Elections for second XI captain and vice will be held at a date to be advised.
Now to the bits alluded to above – ‘all the players’ and ‘a difficult year.’
One of the big factors in our ‘difficulties’ was the fact that we had no overseas players. In the last few years, our overseas players have not necessarily been our highest wicket takers or run-scorers, but they have always been very, very, useful players who did a lot to add to our home-grown guys. The problem has not been about finding candidates – it’s been about getting accommodation for them. So we have a team of three guys charged with the task of finding us suitable players for 2009, and another team responsible for making sure there will be accommodation for them.
And ‘all the players’? In the season just past, we sometimes had difficulty in getting two teams on the park on a Saturday. When Bill Frindall was with us for our Centenary Dinner, I was telling him about our concerns over player numbers. “It’s the same all over,” he said, “shortage of players leading to clubs having to merge, in many cases to clubs going out of existence.” We have to make sure that doesn’t happen to us, and that calls for more commitment from some of our people. Remember the picture of the ninety or so kids taken up the park this summer? We have to make sure that a decent proportion of these kids come through to the senior teams, and that the club is competing a senior level when they get there. The AGM is on Sunday 7th December at 3 pm, and that’s going to be one of the items on the agenda. Make sure you are there to help.
This column has been deplorably neglected of late, so here’s some bits and pieces.
We’ve finally settled plans for The Centenary Whisky, which will be a cask-strength (46%) 12 year old single malt from Tomatin with our own label. The design of the label is just being finalised, the order is already placed and we should be getting delivery mid to late November.
We’ll have Centenary Ties as well; the design was agreed at the last meeting of your hard-working committee, and I’m proud to say I’ve got mine already. (Just to pay for it!)
We’ve also ordered some rather smart pens which will carry the legend Freuchie Cricket Club, Centenary Year, 2008, with forest green bodies and black ink. They’ll be with us in the next couple of weeks as well.
Christmas presents? Nae problem.
We are delighted to announce that Mrs Elspeth Skinner of Lathrisk House has undertaken to be one of our patrons. Details have still to be worked out, but her support will be invaluable and we’re hoping that we may be able to apply for a Sportsmatch award for one of our major projects. However, they’ve dished out all their cash for this year, so we’ll have to wait to see what can be done.
Plans for Mrs Skinner to meet with Dave Christie this morning didn’t work out, though, because he was away skiving. What? A dry morning and Dave not up the park? What’s his excuse? Answer: Dave has again been awarded the accolade of Scotland’s Grounsdman of the Year, and was off to Ingliston to view the flash ground-keeping machinery and be presented with his award. We are talking about the need to replace our aging outfield mower, and this was a chance to see what’s available. I was glad I was sitting down when Dave told me about costs, but Dave being Dave, he might have a work-around… More news soon.