Longparish Cricket Club

Longparish Cricket Club (LCC)'s 2002 season has been the best season for ten years and the committee agreed that we should share that news with all at Longparish who have supported us in so many different ways during the season.

We pre-empted the season by agreeing that results alone would not be the only measure by which the club's success should be judged. We had three key aims: To build up a team by indigenous growth, to encourage and welcome supporters and to invest time and effort in encouraging the village youth to take up cricket.

So how did we do in hitting these aims?

Three players joined the ranks this year. Ross Stewart and Bill Lewens both have strong connections with Longparish and have contributed significantly to LCC's success already: Ross with his fierce bowling attack and Bill solid and reliable behind the wickets. Chris Clarke also returned to the bowling attack this season after a break in which he realised that the grass at the Parish is as green as it gets. (Thanks to Kenny Ball and all assistant groundsman). LCC will resist bringing in outsiders, as to do so will block places for the Colts. They have trained enthusiastically under John Hibberd with the support of Lynn Neal every Tuesday night during the season. Many of the more enthusiastic Colts secured places in the senior teams on Sundays and some Tuesday evenings. Support came from the Hampshire Cricket Board's Director of Cricket Development, in the shape of Neil Ryder, for the Colts one Tuesday night in August. LCC will follow that encouragement by sponsoring two of our own coaches in time for the 2003 season.

A belief in ourselves, and a new team spirit, moved us to feel unbeatable at times. Sadly at other times we were beatable, but fortunately they were few and far between. It was not due to the unavailability of players, for the first season in years, there was always a twelfth man.

This season LCC entered a team in the Zanco mid-week league for the first time in some years. To have won the league so convincingly was a credit to all who took part, bearing in mind the commitment needed to turn out on time after a day at work. Our champion was Paul White who finished with an astonishing average of 292 having been out only once throughout the season, and that in the last match, which was an exciting and well earned win against Fairoak. (We still wait to find out how many records we broke in that league).

To have finished 5th in the Hampshire West 1 (Saturday) league is a credit to all that played and to Spencer Haines for leading from the front when a Captain's innings was needed. The league changes significantly in 2003 due to the reorganisation of the Hampshire Cricket management structure. We thus expect to meet as many new teams as old friends in the 2003 season. Sadly village cricket elsewhere is struggling to survive through the lack of volunteers that make things happen. Longparish is blessed with wonderful support at all levels, which allows the team to get out in the field and play, but keeps the support structures in place. The committee, the ground staff, tea ladies, umpires, scorers and cleaners all contributed to that structure and thanks go out to all. The encouraging numbers of villagers and visitors filling the boundary for home games, has been wonderful this season and a huge encouragement to the team.

Many of you will have noticed during your visits to the club the changes that have been made. The new nets have allowed more intense practice, which may have been partly responsible for our much-improved performance this season. Pavilion refurbishment is ongoing with more changes in the closed season. Sadly there are elements from within the village that do not recognise the efforts that are being made or the impact that their thoughtlessness has on the facilities or the spirits of those working for the Village. The cricket club land is private property and is maintained expressly for the purpose of playing cricket. Regrettably, some have assumed that access is free, that mindless damage is recoverable from some magical funding bag, that litter will enhance our idyllic setting and that playing with fire around the thatch is fun. Challenging these people, (who we could name), proved an education in the range and depth of verbal filth. We shall do whatsoever is possible to protect LCC for everyone, (even those who will not realise until later life), but we appeal to all villagers to advise everyone to respect our heritage and keep their children away, unless attending an activity sponsored by the club. Your help in this matter will be greatly appreciated.

April 2003 will be with us before we know it. We are determined to continue to build on 2002's successes. To that end, we look forward to seeing; your children at Colts on Tuesday evenings, able bodied men at the nets on Thursdays, and you filling the benches around the boundary, with your picnics, for our home games on Saturdays, Sundays, and Tuesdays nights. If you have any questions about the above, or LCC or simply want to talk cricket, don't hesitate to contact me,

Martyn Clarke, 07766766545 Chairman LCC.