The tables have turned for our next preview…. which comes courtesy of vice-chair Tom Bailey, via interviewer Andrew 'Skinny' Wray. The 'fashion icon' of CCC, Tom has been a member of the club since he was a mere slip of a lad (he certainly isn't now!). After calling time on an illustrious playing career - a marathon cup final innings of 1 not out from 20 overs being the highlight - he moved upstairs to an administrative role and has been instrumental in managing the substantial off field development of the club.
How did you end up following CCC?
Well my dad has been involved for some years and my grandad as secretary before him. So as someone who is passionate about cricket (but rubbish at playing it) and our town of Clitheroe it’s something I’ve really enjoyed getting involved with (most of the time!).
You're known for penning the lyrics to several legendary player chants. Can we look forward to any new ones for the 2017 season?
Ha, well I was supposed to be working on something for Sam Mulligan, the pro, and the new lads but I’ve been distracted....plan is to sit down with the Doc and some of the the other guys at the Ribb game and work through some ideas!
The club has been very successful in the last few years...what have been your highlights?
One of my highlights is looking back on how the culture and dynamic of the club has changed and the progress we have made. When I started helping out at the club there was already a good group of volunteers who inspired myself and others to get involved. In that time, we have had 2 successive female chairpersons, who have really given us different perspectives on driving the club forward and the committee has also become much more diverse…although this has made for some interesting meetings as a consequence! The projects the club has done off our own back (e.g. the clubhouse renovation in 2014 up to the new garages currently going up) and the work the guys have put into this have brought a great sense of pride (even if a severe lack of practical nous has limited my own contribution!). Similarly, the larger scale projects (e.g. the new artificial practice facility and the upcoming square renovation) mean that we will all eventually leave the club in a healthier position than we found it.
I also think the way that the captains have brought back ex-players into the setup has been great, from Marcus Sharp in the 1st team, down to the likes of Rick Blackburn, the Scotts etc. in the 3rd team. The aforementioned surnames crop up frequently in the history of the club and it is great to see this continuity…with a young Amin and an Atkinson set to appear on the 4th XI teamsheet in 2017 (alongside their not too young dads) - long may this continue!
Missing out the things that have been previously mentioned (league and cup wins, days out in the Lancs Cup), I’ve also enjoyed seeing our club grow in terms of the number of people watching and getting involved. We still have quite a way to go in this respect, but with all the investment in terms of time and infrastructural improvements going into the club (will be over £150k this year alone), and the junior and senior sections working together as one, I think local people are really starting to buy into what we are trying to achieve…I’d like to see us double our supporter ‘membership’ in 2017 and we seem to be well on track!
It's no secret you put a lot of work in behind the scenes so seeing the development of the facilities at CCC must be very pleasing for you.
Yes certainly…kind of answered in the section above (sorry!), but there is a really good story to tell about the club at the moment…which is shaped by all our volunteers, players, coaches etc. So, the effort everyone has put in as a group has allowed the club to develop a plan to move forward, and hopefully it’s something that (one day) we will all look back on proudly.
With the new season just 2 weeks away, what are you looking forward to about our move to the Lancashire League?
Really going to enjoy watching some competitive cricket (and eating some great food!) at these great grounds, steeped in history. The club had enjoyed playing cricket amongst some good clubs in the Ribblesdale League for over 100 years, but I think the changing demographic of our town and club has meant that the Lancashire League is probably a better ‘fit’ for us at present. There seems to be a real sense of excitement going into the League and hopefully it will further inspire and accelerate the progress of the club. Contrary to the last few seasons, on the field we will be underdogs in a lot of the games so will be interesting to see how it goes.
CLITHEROE CRICKET CLUB
Leading wicket taker?
Biased with this one as he’s an all round good guy, but I think Ali Ross was arguably our best bowler in 2016 and certainly the most improved…so I’m picking him for another good year.
I’d like it to be Peter Dibb, again I’m biased as he's a good pal, but feel he didn’t show his full potential in his previous Lancashire League campaign and I’m sure he will be motivated to do so this time around. Jack Dewhurst should have a good season as well; he doesn’t like to mention it, but he held his own amongst some top cricketers at the Lancashire Academy and in Tasmania; now I think us (and Lilydale) are seeing him really start to fulfil his potential.
Both Harrison Phelan and Kurt Robinson look good from what I’ve seen so far in the nets…Harrison has been picking me out of the hand so clearly has a good cricket brain ;) Sam Halstead might be hard to set a field to down the order! I’d like to see young Sam Mulligan and Charlie Dewhurst get a 50 each and to see their Uncle Brian get his wallet out accordingly for the collection.
One to watch?
Difficult to single one out but I’d like to see one of the young lads from the 2nds kick on and beat the door down for a 1st XI spot. It’s obviously a big step-up in terms of intensity and standards, but the lads are working hard on their game and we arguably have the most talented under 17s squad in our history…if their numbers reflect this then it will be great for at least one of them to follow in Charlie and Sam’s footsteps in 2017.
Related to the above but young George Stuart is someone who looks to have a bright future...plus you can't beat watching a leg-spinner. Looks like a young Steve Smith (if that's possible) and bowls like him too...if he turns into even a tenth of the batsman then we'll be delighted!
Any other predictions?
Whoever is the designated driver for the ‘away day supporters club’ to be suitably embarrassed by their fellow ‘members’ come 7pm (constant seems to be that Fishhead is never driving, so that may go some way to explaining things).
Players tend to be a bit more distanced from the supporters at Lancs League grounds, but I’m expecting to be evicted from the players’ enclosure by Paul Gaskell/JD on at least one occasion.
Other things worth having a wager on – Gask to be seen wearing a hoody in 25 degree heat, Michael Houldsworth to be spotted dancing up town in the new twenty20 shirt (again), JD to be ruled out injured at some point, and Boris Dewhurst to be involved in an incident of some concoction.
LANCASHIRE LEAGUE PREDICTIONS
Only watched a bit of Lancashire League cricket, but looking at the last few seasons, the pros, and the other names on the teamsheets you’d think Burnley, Ramsbottom, Lowerhouse will be up there. Dark horses could be Darwen perhaps? Then there are the teams who will also be looking to put pressure on the aforementioned (e.g. Todmorden, Haslingden, Enfield etc.) and our games against those sides should be a good gauge of where we are at. If you look at the relative history of these clubs, the size of the towns they represent, and the fact that they know the league inside out, I think we have quite a challenge to compete, so if we can sneak into the top division at the time of the league split that will be a massive success for us.
Where would you like to see the club in 12 months time?
Hopefully we will be making a positive contribution to the Lancashire League, both on and off the field. 12 months might be a bit short term, but I’d like to see us make major improvements to the outfield and the clubhouse. Can’t be right that we missed 13? junior practice sessions in 2016 due to the outfield and I think we have outgrown our current clubhouse, which despite our best efforts, is structurally somewhat dated…hopefully we can progress with this in the not too distant future :)
I’d also like to see the junior section continue to grow, the club as a whole too, and the senior sides to compete well on the field and continue to do the town proud.
Updated 13:35 - 31 Mar 2017 by Web Manager