Its almost a decade since Australian Mitch Williams played at The Boundary and we managed to catch up for a chat about his memories of the club
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost a decade since Mitch Williams signed for Stretford as overseas player but he still remembers his time at Stretford very fondly.
“I was fortunate enough to be the overseas player for Stretford CC for the 2010 season and what an amazing experience!”
Mitch primarily signed as a batsman and had a very fruitful season amassing over 700 runs and always batted with distinctive brutality. Possibly to his own surprise he also contributed wickets with his bustling medium pace.
Left handed Williams cites his time at Stretford, playing in the MDCA at the time, as a being important in his development as a player.
” The cricket was very enjoyable and I feel my batting developed a lot playing in different conditions. It was very different from playing cricket in Sydney but just as tough. I still play first grade for the Fairfield Liverpool Lions in the Sydney Premier cricket league and have recently passed 200 first grade games for the club “
Though a hard hitting bully with bat in hand, Mitch was a true gent off the pitch and forged some great relationships with everyone at the club, especially the few long suffering Everton fans.
“The people are what made Stretford so special. It had a great family feel and some of the best memories I have are enjoying a beer in the Clubhouse with the locals. Being on the door step of Manchester was also great and I definitely made the most of it!
It was was definitely box office viewing watching Mitch dismissively swat away bowlers to the rope; more Gayle than Gower and hopefully we will see Mitch again soon
” I look forward to bringing my young family to the UK in the next few years and Stretford will be one of the first stop ”
“Stretford had shown me that I was so much better than I knew. I may have hated school but I had an outlet to express myself without being punched or called names. I was so high after my first wicket that I could’ve fist pumped Helen Sharman “
school big shot bursts through the last line of defence I manage to
stand up tall and tip his strike over the cross bar. As the football
lands safely out of play I’m left in the firing line.
vengeful dig is planted into my arm and the jock shouts “You
fu**ing fat ba**ard”, “No wonder I can’t score because you’re so
wide” No big deal right? A small verbal remark and a punch won’t
cause any harm, and it’s not like I took a major beating or had my
head flushed down the toilet.
Imagine though, the same thing happening multiple times per lunchtime or break time every day for four years.
up didn’t seem an option and retaliation would only caused further
suffering. Instead I let those school bullies eat away. Any feeling
of self worth dissolved away with every throwaway insult. I was like
the piece of air dried charcuterie hanging from the window which gets
sliced and sliced and sliced until only the hanging hook is left.
Sticks and stones is the worst advice I’ve ever been given because
it’s simply untrue.
following yet another insult and jab to the solar plexus it all just
became too much. I broke down. Tears began to roll down my face. Most
people were glad it was not themselves getting sledged so remained
passive. There was only one person who asked if I was OK and he took
me to speak to the head of year. I advised the head of year what had
happened but my earlier fears of the situation being brushed under a
rug were confirmed when I was simply told “you’re OK aren’t you”.
on the horizon however and it wasn’t down to any education
institution. My spirit hadn’t been totally broken by the idiots but
it was in fact on the verge of being restored thanks to the sound of
leather on willow.
other curricular activities fell by the way side I found that I
started to focus on playing cricket at my local club. I had joined
with my brothers at the age of 9 after being taken down to the club
by a family friend.
no U9 or U11 team in those days so after a few years of pottering
around at the training sessions where I learned some basics I was
selected to play my first game when I made up the numbers in the U13
team. I spent all Friday nervously trying to make up excuses why I
couldn’t play but it was too late because before I knew it we were in
the car on the way to the match.
the game the captain had made a hash of working out his bowlers
spells and it meant I got the nod to bowl. Oh shit. As my arm rolled
over, sweat beads pouring off my forehead, I thought to myself “this
ball could go anywhere, it could even meander into the river at deep
“Walking in, on your toes” shouted the
captain; a form of encouragement.
I bowled the slowest ball
you could ever imagine which seemed to take an eternity to reach the
other end of the pitch. It was so lacking in speed that spectators
could be forgiven for thinking that I was trying to bowl spin. As the
ball set off on its course; with the trajectory of a damaged Slinky,
the fielders winced and braced themselves.
The batsman at the
strikers end waited impatiently for the ball to arrive; his eyes
lighting up like the Aurora Borealis. In his haste to smash the ball
to the moon, the batter played across the line of the ball. Although
velocity was not on my side I at least had direction in my favour.
on I think he’s missed it”………….the ball nudged into middle
stump and the bails fell to the ground. As my team mates rushed into
the centre of the pitch to celebrate the fall of a wicket my mind was
taken back to what happened last time I made a save on the football
pitch at school. Expectantly I tensed my arm and then,……nothing.
Nothing but praise!
adulation I felt with a fleeting moment of success with a group of
people who were genuinely pleased for you was totally unreal. Nobody
is digging my arm, instead I’m getting pats on the back and
congratulations. Maybe this club was different? It was the first
place I’d gained some kudos and respect and I’d got my first wicket!
moment the ball struck and tilted back the stump is the moment I fell
in love with the game of cricket, the club and it’s people and when
life started to turn around. I may have hated school but I had an
outlet to express myself without being punched or called names. I was
so high I could’ve given Helen Sharman a fist pump. I actually
is very different to most sports because it’s a team game with very
individual elements. Even a beginner can experience glory because
just a single moment can provide a spark. Even the least talented
player gets a chance; it might be a piece of fielding that helps to
dismiss the best batsmen on the opposition or it could be a catch
that changes the course of match. The beauty of the game and probably
of sport in general is that it doesn’t matter who you are, how
intelligent you are, how much money you have, what your daddy does or
where you are from, if you disrespect it and the people involved it
will bite you on the backside. Everyone is equal on a cricket pitch.
focussed more on cricket I found that I improved; quickly scoring my
first 25* retired, taking catches and getting wickets. All I wanted
was for the school day to end so I could go to the cricket club and
practice some more with real friends. It occurred to me that if I put
some effort into the sport and the club that I would be rewarded.
grew as a person and gained confidence; both my school grades and
cricket scores increased as I was happier outside school. My first
coach was instrumental in supporting me and was the first person to
treat me as an individual person. This just wasn’t the case in any
other place. I’ve taken on this mantra by trying to treat everyone
with the respect they deserve and I think that attitude is at the
core of Stretford Cricket Club. There has been the odd person who
doesn’t follow that unwritten rule, or the odd person who tries to
buy there way out of issues but they’ve fallen by the wayside.
after my meltdown the school finally decided to create a cricket
team. The PE teacher arranged some trials and asked me to be captain.
In truth the team was average but contained a few experienced
players. Often the team was short and pupils who were in detention
were forced to play. My football pitch nemesis who delighted in my
ritual humiliation was to be our opening bowler. I wanted to give
other people an opportunity so I would bat in the middle order.
match came around after a couple of practice sessions and confidence
was not overly high from the teachers who didnt even know the names
of fielding positions let alone an understanding of the LBW Law. We
fielded first and restricted the opposition to a score of 110 off 18
overs. The opening bowler finished with five wickets to his name.
Impressive spell but would you expect anything less?
reply we quickly lost wickets and slumped to 30-3. I walked in with
determination and knowing that away from the school team I had
already helped my club to win games from similar situations. The
bowlers served up the odd poor ball which was dispatched as we inched
towards the target but we kept losing wickets. We reached the final
over with 8 wickets down needing 5 to win and the the number 10 was
on strike. I was leaning on my bat next to the PE teacher who was
simultaneously umpiring and scoring such was the disorganisation of
the school. Number 10 took huge swipes at balls one, two and three
and was bowled on the fourth bringing our opening bowler and football
lunchtime villain to the crease.
I was now
batting with someone and trying to win the game with someone who had
previously demonstrated that he had zero respect for other people.
You couldn’t write it could you?
just get me on strike for the last ball” I forcefully instructed.
initially insulted by the command he nodded and managed to nudge a
single into the off side leaving me on strike for the last ball
needing 4 to win and 4 to reach a half century in the match.
the field to weigh up my options; there were no fielding restrictions
and every player other than the wicket keeper was on the boundary.
The bowler ran in confidently but delivered a full ball which missed
the difficult-to-play yorker length and I managed to smear the ball
straight over the top for a once bounce four.
celebrated, the opening bowler, walked over and again I thought back
to those moments on the football pitch. I tensed my arm.
well batted mate”
probably my chance to unleash a volley of home truths; “mate!?, who
the hell are you calling mate!? But no. It was pretty clear in that
moment, Stretford had shown me that I was so much better than I knew.
I just smiled;
It has taken some pain staking work and a few late nights but I’m pleased that our mid-term Clubmark “Health Check” is complete and signed off by the ECB.
We must not rest on our laurels though! We need to build up our junior section (with link schools, friends of friends, winter nets), recruit more senior players and get more members/parents through some coaching and adult helper courses (all of which we can fund)
Any time that anyone can put back into the club is both needed and appreciated!
If you are thinking about how you can get involved just let us know! Lots of things to get involved with from assisting with the organisation of the junior section, lending some DIY skills in looking after the building, using your green fingers to help on the ground, joining a social committee to arrange some celebrations, doing the odd cricket tea, buying a match ball, sposnoring the club, joining the 100 club, playing a few games, having a drink as a social member………..
2019 was a season filled with promise for Stretford. There were highs and lows for a young side containing only one veteran. Finishing third was a good solid achievement for the club.
A hightlight for Stretford were the consistently excellent performances by home-grown off spinner Thomas Coulson who has been in the awards with the GMCL now the season has ended.
GMCL give awards at the end of season dinner for the best performing players in each Division (cup matches not included). These are given for best performance by players playing over 50% of the season’s games in that Division, which for the Saturday Competition is 12 games, Sunday Prem, Div 1 & Div 2 is 10 games, Sunday A, B, C & D is 7 games or pro rata where the number of games is different.
Named Professionals, Overseas Professionals and Overseas Amateurs are not included in the awards.
Thomas collected the best bowler award after amassing an amazing 56 wickets at 6.98 and also was named Div 2A Most Valuable Player. The MVP is calculated using an algorithm with the Cric HQ Scording and Results System and allocates points based on the value of the individual performance in each game.
Winning the MVP award is hugely impressive and was secured when Coulson stole a march on his team mate Ryan Williams towards the end of the season who was in the running all year along with the likes of Barnes of Edenfield and Dangerous Danny Hawthorne of Ashton.
Sunday superstar Usman Hassan was also in the awards and very much the stand out performer in the Sunday 3rd XI. Usman is unavailable to play on Saturdays due to other committments however demonstrates that he is a class above.
Usman smashed 348 runs at 43.5 and also won the fielding award for good measure plucking 8 catches.
Congratulations Tom and Usman, I hope 2020 is just as good.
The club has been hosting the Urmston Pub Quiz for the last three Thursdays – with one more week to go before the pub reopens. It woudl be nice to see a few SCC teams taking part on final week next week from 8.30pm
Quizmaster Dave pulled the names from the hat and i’m quite frankly outraged that Margaret Sharp hasn’t won again!
1st Myra Turner £117.50
2nd Gary Armstrong £70.50
3rd Andy Fazakerley £47.00
Thank you to everyone for your continued support and if you fancy joing the 100 Club and winning cash please let us know
We all know the club has its points of excellence; great people yes, picturesque semi rural setting yes – Manchester Craft Lager yes. However, beyond the imperious iron gates, the seductive blue and gold bordered patio (which is ripe for a BBQ in the sunshine) and the expertly extended pavilion we still believe that we must continue to work and develop your club.
If over the last season you have been the victim of a ball which has shot along the ground, or dodged a ball that has leapt from a good length, or if you prefer to blame the pitch for your dismissal instead of your shot selection, or if the wicket hasn’t been flattened that week because the heavy roller is leaking oil then listen up; we hear you!
Let me lift the lid on how the ground desperately needs investment and what we plan to do about it because of course we recognise that due to the nature of the land upon which we are built the playing surface requires attention due to subsidence. We also know that the machinery we use to maintain the square is older than the groundsman himself. If the opposition request that the pitch be rolled at tea there are only a handful of people who even know how to start the heavy roller further more how to stop it by wedging a cricket stump into the engine. This just wont do! We want inclusion for everyone!
To this end the club is pleased to announce that we launched an ambitious project to secure £45000 funding from the SUEZ Communities Fund in order to refurbish the playing square, invest in new grounds maintenance machinery and plant a perimeter hedge to replace the concrete wall. The plan also includes the installation of a state of the art artificial wicket at the east end of the square to open up opportunities for hire-outs and community use whatever the weather.
SUEZ Communities Trust is an independent, not for profit funding organisation dedicated to making lasting improvements to community life and the natural environment. The Trust is a registered Environmental Body through the Landfill Communities Fund and an Approved Body through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund.
SUEZ Communities Trust distributes funds contributed by SUEZ recycling and recovery UK.
The Trust’s funding programmes are designed to improve a broad range of publicly accessible amenities which benefit a wide cross section of the community. Whether improving a local play area or a nationally significant historic building, each project has the potential to transform the community in which it is based
The refurbished playing square will encourage better cricket and open up the playing of cricket to the wider general public and young people in Trafford. If we are successful in securing funding the work would begin towards the end of August 2020 and we would seek to play the final few home games at a different venue. The club will look to off set any costs and loss of income by utilising the outfield for a music and beer festival, a family fun day and other social activities.
There is a small team working on the project and the club now has ten weeks to submit a final bid having it made it through to round two last week. We will keep you posted on developments.
In the meantime I would be grateful if as many members as possible encourage people to use the club for a function and to take advantage of our very competitive bar prices. We will be required to find 10% of the funding towards the project ourselves so we need the money!!
Well done to this month’s 100 Club winners and thank you to everyone who takes part.
This weekend saw the end of the playing season for the 1XI and 2XI, with wins for both, and just one more weekend for the 3XIs to fit in two rearranged fixtures. So we had August’s draw at the senior end of season presentation night on Saturday. The 1XI secured 3rd place in their division and mid-table for the 2XI and the players celebrated players-player, top batsmen and top bowler in each team.
The Players-Players for 1XI, 2XI and 3XI drew the winning numbers from the bag – and some of the winnings was spent at the bar during the evening 😊
It is not just the club socials and presentation nights that go on at the club, we have been hired out for a range of events including birthday and Christening parties. With the playing season over, the club is available weekends and in the week – so if you need a venue please do get in touch.
If you know of a group that could use our fantastic facilities during the day in the week or over the winter period then please do let me know.
Well done to this month’s 100Club winners and thank you to everyone who takes part.
June’s draw took place at our latest management meeting. Attempts to have the draw at the weekends home game were foiled by the need to cover a number of duties.
It prompts me to use this months notice to remind everyone about the great benefits you gain from helping out. Taking part, learning skills, engaging with others are all proven ways of improving your Health and Wellbeing. They are also often fun. No matter the scale everything you do is always helpful and gratefully received.
Just drop the email above a note, or speak to anyone from the club, if you can help. Maybe with support to the team delivering training or help with production of the food on match day (teas). Maybe you could help with a specific event: take a shift on a BBQ or on the bar. Maybe your business could provide sponsorship.
All the best
(Chair Stretford Cricket Club)
Feb 26th to March 25th
All abilities welcome
£5.00 per session
Thurs 6th Feb 8pm