New Chairman's Rallying Call

As most of you are aware I was voted in as permanent chairman at last week's committee meeting after holding the role on an interim basis since James Butterfield stepped down a few months ago and thought this would be a good opportunity to try and rally the club as a whole.

Firstly it is a great honour taking on the role and feel I have the enthusiasm and drive to move the club forwards, this will take a lot of hard work and I will need support which I will come on to in more detail later on. Outgoing Chairman 'Butts' had done a great job in his time in the role most vitally securing sponsorship for the first team for the 2016 season as well as forging a stronger link between the senior and junor sides of the club.

Obviously things aren't going according to plan for the first team and Saturday's defeat at home to Scholes was particularly disappointing although underlines that in my opinion we should still be tossing up before a game as weather conditions can be used to either sides advantage and therefore giving the away side a free pass at bowling first in those conditions is completely wrong. We have lost some close games at Bowling Old Lane and Undercliffe but have been largely outplayed in the others. However with the quality we have at our disposal we should hopefully be able to register that first win soon and then go on a run that will take us away from the Championship One trapdoor. It is important that the senior players step up at a time when we really need them to and also get behind captain Simon Bailey.

The second team have been performing well winning three of their five games with only a narrow defeat and an abandonment going against them so far. Daniel Metcalfe who came in to captain at short notice has a good mix of youth and experience in the side which will hopefully result in us being at the business end of the table come September as well as allowing some of the better performers to put pressure on any underperforming first teamers.

The third team were dealt a blow when captain James Cottle quit the club after just two games meaning that I have returned to skipper the side. It is clear that this year will be a challenge for the threes but it is already good to see that our better juniors are contributing heavily to the cause which can only be a positive in the months and years to come.

The fourth team unlike most games last year are putting pressure on their opponents. Again made up of several juniors we are starting to see them compete rather than just turn up on a Saturday which means that the team is serving a purpose and allows the youngsters to take a positive experience back to junior cricket.

The juniors are performing very well at all age groups and we can look to the future with some excitement given the obvious progress they are making. Credit to all the coaches and managers who are making it possible plus all parents/guardians for making Friday night training where we have upwards of 100 juniors participating a success.

In the coming weeks we will be finalising a 1, 3 and 5 year plan across all aspects of the club. This isn't just to help us with applications for funding but also to give everyone associated with the club an idea of the direction that we will be taking the club in. For too long we have stood still and allowed season's to pass us by and then turn up the following April with no real idea of where we want the club to go. As a result of this we want the right people in the right positions within the club both in a playing and non-playing capacity. When it comes to players we have for a long time brought players in because they serve a purpose in the short term rather than in the long term. We want to have people playing for Baildon who want to play for Baildon not someone who is here just for the cash or because there is a guarantee of Bradford League cricket. It's easier said than done I appreciate as it is undoubtedly getting harder to recruit players due to financial demands or just general dwindling participation but we have to get it right and therefore will be being more selctive in who we bring in from this point onwards. A lot of clubs in the Bradford League have gone to the wall due to an expectation that things will just get done for them whether that be ground prep, scoring or other matchday duties. We don't want that to happen to us but examples such as Windhill demonstrate that no club is safe in that respect. We have a group of volunteers who help out, attend meetings and run around like headless chickens without asking for any gratitude but these are the lifeblood of the club and need our support so if you can help out in any way whether it be in an admin or non-admin way then this will be of huge help and will ease the burden on them.

There are a few fundraising events coming up which need all of our support. On Tuesday 6th June our annual Golf Day will be taking place at Hollins Hall Golf Club. There are still spaces available with the cost being £200 for a team of 4, this includes a 2 course meal. If you want to enter a team or donate a raffle prize then please contact Bob Reynolds on 07817 940061 or email

On Friday 23rd June and Saturday 24th June we will be running our Beer Festival up at the club. This has been gaining momentum in recent years and we hope that this will be well attended again by both members and non-members alike. On the Friday the event starts from 6pm with a barbecue, on Saturday we will be starting at midday with the first team in action against Bankfoot as well as live music in the evening. We will also be running a raffle with prizes so far including Yorkshire T20 Blast tickets and tickets for 2 to Ripon races. This is our big event of the year so we need all of our members support whether it be helping prepare for the event, donating raffle prizes, sponsoring a barrel for £75 or helping during the event behind the bar, on the door etc. Events like this keep the club going as well helping form and maintain relationships between all areas of the club. It will be very disappointing if we don't see faces in the club from the playing side as it's events like this that allow you to step out onto the pitch on a Saturday. As some of you may be aware organiser Simon Heginbotham damaged his collar bone playing recently so needs more support than in previous years to help make a success of the event. If you want to get involved by volunteering, sponsoring or donating then please contact Simon on 07809 157845 or email There is also a Twitter page for the event @bccbeerfest.

I'm always approachable so if you have any ideas, suggestions or want to get more involved then please contact me on 07415 709104 or email me at

Ashley Free

Baildon Cricket Club Chairman

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