In these uncertain times, the health and well-being of everyone in our cricketing family and beyond is front of mind for the committee here at Hale Barns Cricket Club. The bond between the club and members is a special one, and we are doing everything we can to keep members up to date with what is happening.
We wanted to assure you all that the committee is still active and we’ve been in regular conversation about what the uncertainty means to the club. The committee recently gathered via a video call (with varying levels of success!) and discussed some key items for the future and we wanted to update everyone on what was discussed and agreed to maintain the club’s resilience against the uncertainty we’re all facing.
There’s quite a bit to cover, so apologies in advance for the length of the update!
Status of cricket
The Government advice has been evolving and the club has worked hard to keep up to date and adjust activity as appropriate. As a result of the Government’s social distancing advice on 16th March, we immediately postponed all cricket activity, including senior and junior nets.
Our junior teams all participate in the South Manchester Junior Cricket League and that league has confirmed that the season will not start as scheduled. We’ve been informed that they are still aiming to run some form of season when the time is right, but this will happen at a later date and they will re-assess the situation in May. The club will then provide a further update on junior cricket as we receive it.
Our senior teams all participate in the Cheshire County Cricket League and that league has announced that there will be no promotion or relegation this season due to the uncertainty and disruption across all its member clubs during the coronavirus outbreak. The league is still hoping that there will be cricket this season in some form and we will update as we hear more. This early decision from the league is a great help as it allows us to plan as a club.
We were excited to welcome an overseas player from Australia for this season, but after discussions with that individual, we have agreed to delay the offer to the 2021 season. We’re hugely grateful to Liam for agreeing to this and the club will stay in touch with him over the coming months.
The ground is the most important asset for the club and it’s vital we keep it maintained and ready for when cricket returns. Ian Schora and his team have so much passion and dedication for maintaining the Barns Arena and this uncertainty has caused a great deal of worry and angst, especially following the wet and stormy February.
Ian has done some essential maintenance on the ground to keep it in a good place for the coming weeks, and the committee are supporting Ian by appointing a contractor to cut the outfield every two weeks during the current circumstances. Without this ongoing maintenance we could be facing some serious damage to the ground that would take a lot of time and effort to put right.
Also worth noting, the ground may be a tempting place to go and practice social distancing, but we’d urge you to please follow government advice to stay home and stay safe. The gates are locked and we ask that people stay away from the outdoor nets at this time.
Clearly the uncertain times will put a big strain on our finances. We are cutting back on outgoings by limiting ground work to a minimum, the bar is not being restocked and we’re in discussion with utility providers about payment breaks to help ease the burden on the club at this time. One big outgoing every year is cricket balls and the leagues have agreed measures with suppliers that will help ease those costs, which we’re grateful for.
At the start of pre-season, we asked members to pay their annual fees by a monthly subscription to help with cash flow and this has been a huge help, with members able to enjoy a good set of winter net sessions before this situation started. The money from subscriptions will continue to be a huge help to the club as it manages the essential outgoings, but we do also understand the financial uncertainty this situation creates for some individuals who may need to cancel these payments.
As a club, we are reliant on member subscriptions and donations from sponsors. We are in touch with sponsors about their kind donations to see if there is any support they can still provide to the club.
Our treasurer, John Pope, has done a lot of work to reshuffle the budgets and we’re confident that if we continue to have support from members and sponsors then the club can get through this and will come out the other end ready to play cricket.
When normality returns, the club will put on some free social and cricket events to thank all members and the community for continuing to support the club. The bar will be stocked, the ground will be ready, and barbeque will be lit!