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GMCL Player Registration

We have received the following email from the GMCL regarding Player Registration for the 2020 season. If you wish to play this year you will need to complete league registration of £10.00 and Stretford Membership Fees. You will be required to subscribe onto Cric HQ and upload a passport style photo (before you read the following release from GMCL please bear in mind that the registration is free for juniors and needs to completed by anyone who plays senior cricket – no photo upload is required for U12 and below)

GMCL will have a new player registration system in place for the 2020 season which will go live in March 2020.  This will be operated via a link from the GMCL website.  
This Update (Feb 2020) follows on from the original briefing note and gives additional detail where held and responds to all the comments and questions we have received where we are able.  

This briefing note is to give you all advance notice of this arrangement and provide you with details of the work we have been doing over the last few months to hopefully answer your questions.
Our League costs over £40,000 to administer every year and to fund this we rely heavily upon the generous support of sponsors such as Marston’s, Carlsberg Tetley, Tiflex and others. As you know, there are no league fees and we have used money raised to date to set up and fund the cricHQ system and give away access to the cricHQ ‘app’ in past seasons.  
UPDATE Feb 2020:
The new registration system is not an easy route for us to end fundraising through sponsorship, in fact we are continually chasing leads and contacts to help us develop and grow and, more importantly, allow us to support our clubs’ development and we want to be able to use our funds raised to provide direct help when we can. Carlsberg Tetley’s are sponsoring us again in 2020 as are Marston’s and only recently our team have added Malbern Windows as our main sponsor of the website, so if you need a quote please contact them by clicking on the web page image and say you are with GMCL; as always with Malbern you will get a great deal and the league benefits too!
We won’t be charging league fees and we are continually trying to drive down fines by improving processes to make it easier to comply with the rules that make our league fair and equitable for all clubs and all players; our aim remains that clubs use their hard-earned resources to benefit their club and their members. We are not looking to create a bank account full of clubs’ money to which clubs have no access.
Our new 4 year licence agreement and main League Sponsorship with CricHQ and MAR (My Action Replay) is now vital in giving us the advanced technology used to power our website, Twitter and the cricHQ app with live scores, results, video and information and we are taking the opportunity to build the system for our future by extending the agreement to include administration functions, initially player registration in 2020 onwards.
UPDATE Feb 2020:
We are not in debt, we run with the aim of not generating profits or building assets unnecessarily so the registration fees paid by the senior players to cricHQ will be used not only to cover our cricHQ fees but also to cover the supply of the premium cricHQ app for all senior and junior players as well as match officials and our scorers.
Because of the numbers involved we have been able to negotiate the fee down significantly from the current individual off the shelf rate of £30 per person for the premium app giving the same highest level of access to every player at every club irrespective of standard, division or competition.
To further ensure maximum benefit for players we have also negotiated, again using the scale of the league to provide the best price, personal accident cover with the excellent Extra Cover Insurance for every player irrespective of age in every GMCL game in every division or cup competition. This provides benefits for the player should they be injured travelling to or from the game or during the game. Many clubs have insurance, but most do not have personal accident cover.  We believe the provision of this benefit for every player meets the stated aims of the league using the size of the league to generate great value services for our players. Why are we doing this? We want to make the excellent match records and statistics service on cricHQ even better by eliminating scorecard errors so that our scorers generate stats that are as accurate as possible at the close of the game for the benefit of all our players and officials.  We need to change what is happening now so that club and league administrators don’t have to spend hours each week correcting errors. To achieve this, we need to tighten up how players are registered and recorded with our clubs. 
UPDATE Feb 2020:
With a clear registration all scorers will have all players available to add to teams ready for scoring, all players stats will be correctly grouped against their name and not lead to players with multiple records as happens club and league volunteers will not spend hours each week trying to correct errors Also we must act, following concerns raised by many clubs and players, to eliminate the growing use of ineligible and, most particularly, unregistered players by the introduction of a photo ID system within the registration and scorecard system allowing player photos to be brought up on device screens as soon as the team has been entered on to the scoring app.  Photo ID as a printed card has been a successful deterrent in several leagues, we believe the electronic version of this that we are designing with cricHQ will match or better that success and prevent players playing under other’s names.
UPDATE Feb 2020:
With a clear online registration the improved player stats will provide transparency for captains, opponents and the league on which players are available to play in games where there are player restrictions. The improved player stats will provide transparency for club and league awards at any time without several weeks work checking figures and merging player records. We will no longer have post-match complaints of unregistered players when everyone has gone home, and neither the league nor the clubs are able to prove anything.  A visual check on matchday will ensure that the players named on the team sheet are the players playing in the game. Heavily penalties will be enforced for any false registrations or for any club, captain or player taking actions with the intention of deceiving the system. We do not have to wait until a plastic ID card is available for players to take part in a game. We do not have to have a separate registration procedure for late additions to the team, already registered players can be easily added, players new to the club in the season who are not transferring can be registered at the club online up to an hour before the game and before the scorer uploads the fixture ready for scoring. The app and the personal accident insurance are also available to the player immediately after completing the registration. We also hope to finalise the integrated captains report and umpires report systems and make this available to all our users. The system generates direct contact from the league to relevant persons to ensure reports are not forgotten, to reduce unnecessary fines for our clubs.
UPDATE Feb 2020:
Some of the additional benefits of registration we are looking to in the future will give captains and club officials direct contact with all players in a squad.  Give improved team of the week stats Mean annual forms require less repeated input Ensure banned players cannot be selected  
Some larger leagues around the country bring in thousands, some up to £10,000 in fines per annum. We want our fine income to be nil and we will continue to find ways for our clubs to more easily comply with our rules and requirements.
 So, summarising, in the first instance the amendments should – reduce the occasions where scorers cannot access the correct player for the team. improve the match commentary function and shot description with more accurate feed. better align player details to the MyActionReplay (MAR) video and provide a player ID capability so that umpires and opponents have certainty over the players taking part in any game. reduce fines for clubs for missing reports allow us to pre-populate umpire appointments on to fixtures give us and all clubs full use of the team and club communication system inbuilt into cricHQ support our reporting requirements on player statistics and participation of around 3500 senior and junior players to feed reports to the ECB and LCF to improve the game for all who participate. support GMCL administration by informing us of player numbers and levels of activity and changes year on year. This will allow us to better respond to concerns or highlight successes. cricHQ and My Action Replay are leading the way around the world with their cricket scoring and linked video technology and we at GMCL are driving and developing our partnership with them to deliver the best one stop system for players, scorers, club officials and coaches as well as our panel and club umpires. Who does this apply to? Before the start of the 2020 season every player including juniors and all panel & club umpires must register on to the system, and non-playing league & club officials, non-playing club managers and coaches, non-playing club volunteers should register on to the cricHQ system.  
Please note that registration is mandatory for all players of all ages; without a registration a player cannot play.
The details requested for all groups listed above will be Name, Date of Birth, Gender, Player Type (England Qualified/ Overseas etc) or role (scorer etc), Player Ethnicity, E-Mail address and a passport style photograph.
We have the guarantee and certainty of compliance with GDPR by cricHQ which will mean that this data will not be removed from cricHQ for any other use.
UPDATE Feb 2020:
Whilst we are satisfied that in restricting the data available visible in cricHQ to the display of only a name and player photo it should significantly reduce any fears around disclosure of young players information we do understand that we must do everything in our power to reduce concerns to an absolute minimum without losing sight of the reasoning for the upload of a photo.
Therefore, we will not seek mandatory upload of a passport style photo for any junior player who will not be playing senior cricket,
So, this amendment means the following do not have to upload a photo all juniors at under 12 and younger, who are not allowed to play in senior cricket Junior players who do not take part in any 1st XI, 2nd XI, 3rd XI, 4th XI league and cup fixtures. Passport style photo upload is still required from Juniors who will take part in any senior games All Juniors still have to register on the cricHQ system and from the point of registration they will have access to the premium cricHQ app on the e-mail used and be covered by the Extra Cover Personal Accident Insurance.
Thank you to the few representations that were made to the Board, we recognised we could do more and have reacted accordingly. What does this cost? Anyone 18 or over on 1 September 2019 wishing to play in any GMCL competition must pay £10 at the time of registration.
There is no fee for the following: – players who were Under 18 on 31 August 2019 any of the following who do not play in any GMCL competition Registered Scorers Registered Team Managers and Club Coaches Registered Umpires (League Panel or Club) Registered Club Officials and Volunteers UPDATE Feb 2020:
It  has been suggested that this payment is unfair on occasional players or fill in players with last minute call ups but unfortunately our experience shows it is often the last minute players and fill ins where the issue of unregistered players or players playing under false names arises as clubs look to plug gaps and for ease will often turn to a player with experience rather than one without.
The benefits kick in at registration for the season ahead and the app can be used to follow the team however many games are played; of course an alternative for avoiding the fee is registering a junior which incurs no cost, something we want to encourage at all clubs.
We also believe that this will encourage better management of playing squads, to avoid last minute registrations and player shortages.
We will not be making any changes at this time for senior players however we have agreed we will look at the stats at the season end to determine any negative impact and consider how we can respond to this going forward, perhaps looking at patterns of play of occasional players and look into the possibility of refunds What is given in return? The club and league administration benefits are very good but there are other benefits to those registering.
Everyone registering will receive: – Free access to the Premium ‘All Access’ cricHQ App (worth £30 per year). This gives access to all live ball by ball scorecards and videos on match days and all year round. This will be done by a simple mail to your registered e-mail to claim you profile with no further forms to complete All registered players (of all ages) competing in any senior or junior GMCL organised match will receive: Free Personal Accident Insurance Cover from the date of registration through “Extra Cover”, brokered by Marshall Wooldridge.  The cover provides benefits to players for accidental bodily injury whilst engaging in official activities, including: Competitive cricket matches organised by the insuring body (GMCL) Including pre-match activity for GMCL Organised matches Practice matches or official practice or coaching session organised or attended by the insuring body (GMCL) Duties on behalf of the insuring body (GMCL) Direct travel to/from any of the above activities. The league already pays insurance for our umpires and those taking part in GMCL representative games.
If you already subscribe to the app and pay monthly but qualify for free “all access” in accordance with the above, please log in to your account and cancel the subscription before March.
Please check your club policy for Personal Accident Cover.
  What happens next? We will be writing to each club’s secretary to explain the system and procedure in full in due course, when all details are known.
The system will be ready for inputting on 1 March 2020 giving 6 weeks for all players to register prior to the new season.
UPDATE Feb 2020:
Concern has been expressed that clubs do not see or communicate with many players until nearer the season and so they will not get the message to players to register early.
The beauty of the online system is that there is no cut-off date, players can register in the week leading up to their first game, The only deadline is that they must be registered before they can play.
Some clubs have said that they are having a registration night, some will do it at winter nets and some have said they are in regular contact with their players so should have no problem sharing the details as soon as we share the full rules. We leave this to you.
We believe this is another major step forward in the efficient, forward thinking administration of our league enabling us all to make best use of the full benefits of the cricHQ system and allowing us to support you as clubs and players to make the game more interesting, fairer, safer and more enjoyable for more and more to play this great game.
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AGM Date Accounced

Thursday 30th January 2020
The Boundary, Lesley Road

PRE EGM 7.30

Proposed Rule Change

Rule 4a – insert “First XI Captain” as a member of management committee with full voting power.

Club Officers 2020

Please use the link to post your nominations. You cannot nominate yourself. To be able to stand for a position you must not be subject to any ban and be fully paid for the year 2019.
Nominations will close one week prior to the AGM. Nominated person will be elected if unopposed if only nomination up to a week before AGM. Nominations for vacant posts will not be
accepted on the night of the AGM however the new committee may co-opt any member following the AGM

Role – Nominated Person (Proposed by/Seconded by)

Vice Chairman
Director of Cricket
Fundraising Chair
Ground Chair
House Chair
Social Chair
Bar Manager
One Other Memeber
Press Officer
Child Welfare Officer
Club Captain
1st XI Vice
2ndXI Captain
2ndXI Vice
3rdXI Captain
3rdXI Vice
Junior Manager
Junior Committee
House Committee
Ground Committee
Fundraising Committee
Social Committee

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20/20 Vision: Guy Robinson – Director of Cricket


I’ve always tried to live by the principle of giving 100% in everything that I do. If you give 100 % and it is not good enough you cannot question yourself. Thats exactly what I try to do from day one when I joined Stretford in 2015.

I have been involved in cricket for many years and whilst Junior Chairman of a thriving junior section at Brooklands,I was approached to see if I would be interested in overseeing all cricket at Stretford in the role of Director of Cricket .I could see massive potential in taking the club forward and jumped at the chance to try to fulfil that potential .I had already had a good rapport with Stretford over the years whilst both playing and in a coaching junior teams against them .

Being such an active club member natural to me.We are getting a very good core of club members not who are willing to help in all aspects of the club now which is very encouraging.

I would hope that I was approachable to everyone and if they need any advice I am always available. There is not one style of management,certain players need an arm around their shoulder or others need to be encouraged in a slightly stronger way .

Bonfire night was a prime example of what the club does well.It is such a massive event for the club and the number of club members who volunteered in many capacities to make it such a success was  absolutely fantastic.We are always looking for more volunteers and new ideas coming into the club so if anyone is willing to help in any way we would love you to get involved.

There are many things that can be improved at the club but I feel better communication is needed.We are doing an awful lot of work on our new website  to make it easier for players to advise their availability and paying memberships etc at the moment.

My vision for the club on the field is to keep improving and to continue to give opportunities to younger players in the senior teams.All our senior teams have players who have come through or are still in the junior section and I am very keen for this to continue.We are always looking to increase our junior and senior members so any new members would be made more than welcome.

I would say the highlights would have to be the 1st team getting promotion in my first season and the Under 18/19 having great successes in reaching the the Lancashire Cup final and winning the South Manchester League .

I have had my own opticians practice for 30 years in Stretford Mall,’Specialeyes Optical Centre which keeps me very busy and all club members get discounted rates for all their optical needs!! I love all other sports and have been a ‘massive’ Manchester City fan all my life so watching the style of football we are playing now is fantastic.

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True Grit: Australian Leary signs for Stretford and promises to show true fighting spirit

We are delighted to announce that Australian, James Leary has signed for the club for the 2020 season to fill one of our overseas slots. The highly regarded 19 year old from Sydney is an innovative right handed batsman currently playing for UTS North Sydney Bears.

It has been no ordinary journey for James who has already achieved so much at a young age both on and off the pitch. His story is one of defiance, stark realisation and triumph over adversity. His passion for the game has never been brighter and he is intent on giving it his all in trying to achieve his dream.

I’m left feeling humbled very quickly only seconds into our conversation and it becomes clear that this Aussie is someone who thrives with his back to the wall. He has a serious will to win and passion for the game along with with a clear perspective on life that developed early;

“I’m from Sydney and I currently live on the Central Coast in New South Wales. I was born with a heart condition called Aortic Stenosis, which is a narrowing of the aortic valve opening. I’ve already had 3 open heart operations in my lifetime when I was one, fifteen and another at the start of 2019.

I live with my Dad and Granddad and have two brothers and two sisters (Duan, Lilly, Kiara and Jezzie) My mum passed away in 2009 when I was 8 and it was about that time I first started playing cricket.”

A young James instantly took to the game of cricket and managed to bag 3/3 off 2 overs and scored 21* retired in his first game. His most cherished moment in cricket as scoring his first century as a 13 year old with his Dad (who is a bloody legend) batting at the other end.

Despite his remarkable duck to water introduction into cricket it was by no means easy. He already overcame a number of odds to begin playing but it was not until his dream was threatened that James began to properly focus on his game

“Dad tried to keep me off the streets as a young kid but I grew up in a really tough area so it was hard up until around 15 when I got into some trouble. I got selected in a touring team to play cricket in Sri Lanka. My Dad had told me that if I ever got into trouble that I would not be able to travel. That was a scary moment and was a bit of a wake up call. I got my head together and needed to be more mature. I got my life on track and completed school and now I’m training exceptionally hard to hopefully one day fulfilling my dream of becoming a professional cricketer. In the end I went on tour and its the only time I’ve ever left Australia but I did score the most runs on that tour including three half centuries at an average of 38 ”

“I love the game, there’s not a day that goes by where I haven’t either trained at the nets or played backyard cricket with my mates, I work very hard on becoming the best cricketer I can be and I hope to bring a focus and will to win to Stretford. I wear my heart on my sleeve and will do anything required to see the team over the line for a win and sing the team song.

“I take my cricket seriously but I love to see people laugh and having fun, I think I’m also very easy to get along with and I love meeting new people, getting to know my teammates and club mates really well. I think my teammates would say that I am a fighter at the crease. I love it when it’s tough and difficult that’s when I bat the best especially when I copping a lot of sledging from the opposition about my unorthodox shots and shot selection I love a celebration when I take a wicket and when our team gets a wicket you will hear my “whoooooo” in the next suburb!”

Over the last few years consistent run scoring has been an issue for the club. The bowling has generally been good and we’ve managed to bowl teams out. I spend a few minutes talking about the club and I ask what he knows already:

“I heard you guys finished third last season and just missed out on promotion however due to a league restructure the standard will be better than last season. So on the field I’m hoping to contribute runs and wickets to drive us up the league and win games. Winning a comp with your teammates has to be the best feeling in the game of cricket! Personally I am setting my targets very high and hope to get a couple of centuries and some wickets!

I briefly tell James about what he can expect in Manchester and at Stretford. I inform him that there is something for everyone whether you like music, sport, art, eating, pubs, clubs but such is his focus on cricket that the conversation again turns to what he can do better;

“Off the field I want to experience some good nights out in Manchester and London. I have a couple of mates from my club in Sydney who play in th Lancashire set up that have told me those places are good for a night out. I’d like to travel a bit to places like Paris, Amsterdam, Ireland and I would like to go to some place with snow. Despite this I do want to start eating a lot more healthier in England than I do in Australia and become a lot fitter than I am at the moment”\ which I think will help my game”

We are looking forward to James joining the Stretford team and can guarantee that he will be well looked after at the club. We wish him luck for the rest of his summer in Australia as our search for new members and players continues.

Join the club here

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Schoor so Schoor: Danie’s Road to SCC and National Cricket

Danie van Schoor played for Stretford in 2015 and 2016 and is another member of the southern-African contingent who enjoyed stints at the club. Danie took time out from his training with the Namibia national team and work to chat about his road to Manchester and being part of the national team

The van Schoor family has a fine cricket pedigree with father Melt, uncle Ian, brother Raymond and cousin Anneri all playing for the National Team. As a result Danie was always going to be involved in cricket from a young age

“ I was taken to the field as a young kid, like 5 or 6 years old and I would be playing with my toys next to the field watching my dad play. I didn’t really play any mini cricket. When I reached the age of 8 or 9 that is when I started to play big boy cricket and at 13 I played my first game in the Premier League in Namibia. It was a quick rise but I have never looked back since then. I played my first first class game at the age of 17. I think youngsters in England have a bit more of advantage because the age groups start at U7 and U9 and it gets them involved earlier” (indeed Stretford has u9 cricket so take advantage people of Stretford! -ed)

His first 1st class game was a proud moment for Danie and the excitement and expectancy he felt was a result of hard work over the years however, his first memory of the match was a reminder that you can’t do it all on your own in cricket and its a team game.

“The captain Nicholas Scholtz threw me the ball and sagely advised “it is your time now””. My older brother was standing behind the stumps. I was so excited and fuelled by adrenalin and I knew as soon as I released my first off-spinner that it was going to rip square. I can still can feel the ball coming out the hand . The ball took the edge of the bat but the catch was dropped at first slip. I finished wicketless in my first spell!”

During 2012 Danie’s brother, the late Raymond van Schoor, played for Stretford and took home a Stretford Cap and shirt which was placed in the family trophy cabinet. It was then Danie knew that he wanted to follow in his brothers footsteps.

“Raymond played for Stretford in 2012 and after that one of my biggest childhood dreams was to play for the Three Lions of Stretford. I always kept in contact the bloke where my brother stayed for that season because we had a few FIFA duels over the year. One day I received a mail from Stretford asking if I would play for them the following season . I could not believe it! I didn’t have to think twice because I had heard so many good things about Stretford from Raymond and Craig Williams who also played there. There is no doubt about it that my stint at Stretford was a major factor in helping me work towards my dreams of playing for my country”

Danie was not a seasoned traveller at the age of 19 and by his own admission struggled to get to grips with cricket in the first year

“There were many up and downs in the first season. My cricket did not go as well as I wanted but the experience was definitely worth it . Primarily I learned to be more independent and that nothing in life is given to you . Its essential to understand that you need to put your head down and work for success. At the age of 19 I did not know much about life but Stretford welcomed me with open arms and I am still grateful for all the effort of the members and families who looked after me.

Stretford CC today means still means so much to me; like a family. Two players who I played with have been to visit me in Namibia which I really appreciated . Stretford helped to make me into the person I am today and I would hope that others would describe me as a honest , hard working and caring person . Always willing to help and assist where I can ; that’s the Stretford way in my mind”

The popular off-spinner may not have accumulated as many runs or wickets as he would have liked but showed glimpses of real talent and leadership which he really demonstrated after he was signed for a second season

“I came over to Stretford for a second season and did much better after learning a lot in year one. Things had changed a bit at the club with some old players returning and the strength in depth increasing. We had a new captain and also a new Director of Cricket but the captain left the club due to personal reasons mid way through the season. Following a team meeting , Guy the Director, put his faith in the youngster from Namibia and appointed me captain. We went on a good run in the league winning 10 games on the bounce with all 11 players playing vital roles in achieving promotion which was secured in a brilliant victory away at West Leigh on the final day of the season. It was probably my favourite match for the club – luckily I managed to score a few runs and take a few wickets -but when we turned up at the ground in pouring rain we didn’t think we were going to play. We needed to play and win to finish in the promotion spots having worked hard in the 2nd half of the season to move up from mid table obscurity. The joy on the players faces when Alex took the winning catch was something I wont forget . Personally the season was much better and I managed to take over 30 wickets but it was a great season for the team and my cricket improved.”

“The time at Stretford were two of the best years of my life and playing cricket. I had got to watch city play football which was something I thought I’d only seen on TV. To experience the culture was so enlightening. I had a brilliant time in Manchester and a lot of it was down to the people there and I never forget to catch up with the special people at the club.”

Danie was a considerate and well respected overseas player who always wore his heart on his sleeve for the club and although now working in insurance as an assessor is still involved with the National team and playing for United Cricket Club in the Namibia Premier League. We hope that in the future he is able to visit us again.

Follow your dreams like Danie and join the club here

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Roelof van der Merwe: Stretford’s Superstar

When Roelof van der Merwe was asked “where have you been all this time?” following his match winning Twenty 20 international; debut for South Africa against Australia in March 2009, his reply was fairly succinct but you could see the cogs turning for a suitable answer. With a grin he replied “I’ve been in the wilderness for a couple of years”.

The swashbuckling 48 he made from 30 balls, including four monster sixes was no surprise to anyone at Stretford who saw his raw talent first hand in the summer of 2006 when he signed for the club as a young overseas player at the age of 22 and again at the end of the 2007 season. Far from being in the wilderness, he was making a big name for himself in Manchester.

The year 2006 was Stretford’s most memorable season since their move to the Lesley Road ground and Roelof was massively influential in that title winning year as the club swept aside all comers under the captaincy of Chris Barlow.

“My time at Stretford was extremely memorable and I have such fond memories of the club. We played some really good cricket and we were well supported off the field”

Although Roelof broke all records in 2006 scoring 1349 runs at 71.00 including 8 fifties and 6 hundred and taking 63 wickets at 11 he also acted as a catalyst for home grown talents like Andrew Crowhurst (439 runs) and Chris Barlow (49 wickets) to thrive. His lively and energetic performances and larger than life character provided a spark for the club. Experienced players such as Mike King and Chris Turner (900 runs) also weighed in heavily showing that the club had a great mix of players with plenty to offer both on and off the pitch

“I joined the club as a young man and I had never travelled away from South Africa before but the club made me feel right at home straight away all the way through my stay there for one and a half seasons. 2006 was immense”

The Stretford faithful will probably agree that Roelof was an absolute one-off in terms of his effect on the whole club. The way he played hard cricket with such a smile on his face was a joy to behold. He left Stretford with a bagful of runs the size of Jupiter and was the bringer of much joviality.

He is the most naturally talented player ever to wear the Stretford Badge but still reflects that his time with us as being an important time in his cricket development

“The two years at Stretford, and the experience it gave me was so important. It gave me a solid base to work from and fortunately I am still able to enjoy the game of cricket as a professional 13 years later”

In making his debut for Netherlands in 2011, Roelof became only the 12th player in history to play for two international countriesin ODIs alongside some illustrious names like Kepler Wessels, Ed Joyce and Luke Ronchi however, no matter who he plays for and when, he leaves a lasting mark on any team thanks to his bull dog spirit, will to win and box office talent.

The Stretford faithful always keep an eye out for Roelof and he’ll be representing Somerset in 2020 and playing for Netherlands in the T20 world cup in Australia in October next year. Good luck pal!!

the friends of SCC: Mitch Williams

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Kaptein! Span die seile (Captain, man the sails)

Ryan Williams enjoyed a successful first season at the club following his switch from Rainhill. He’s proven to be a popular member of the squad and earned the respect of his fellow players quickly with his quality all round performances. Having picked up the Players Player of the Year Award, Ryan is now set to start his first full season as 1st XI Captain.

SCC: What is your cricket potted history?
RW: I’ve been playing cricket since I was 11 years old and got hooked after the 2005 Ashes which was simply the best series ever. I’ve played Lancs age groups between 14 and 17 and i’ve played for three clubs; Rainhill in the LDCC, Chester-Le-Street and now Stretford

SCC: You’ve had a season at Stretford, how do you feel it went?
RW: Really enjoyable. The people have been great with me from the first time I walked through the gates. We had a good season finishing third in the league meaning we are now in a slightly division next season following the GMCL restructure. Making the cup semi final was a highlight, we played very good cricket in the cup with everyone contributing. I was very proud to be appointed captain midway through the season and is a career highlight because it’s an acknowledgement of respect from the players and club and i’m really thankful for that.

SCC: What do you like about the club?
RW: I love the togetherness of the club and the can-do attitude the club has. The club is fortunate to have such a dedicated management committee and that helps to emphasise the community feel of the club. I like that we all have a laugh and it’s generally a great atmosphere

SCC: So how do you contribute to that atmosphere?
RW: Well I think I am a very easy going person who can be serious. I like to think I am approachable and can have a laugh. I have an old head on young shoulders and as a player I like to lead by example and I’m an experienced player who still believes he can learn.

SCC: How can the club improve?
RW: I think we need to believe in the brand of cricket we play and believe in ourself as a club to help us reach our goals. Off the pitch we need to build the junior section but to do that we need to engage with parents more effectively. That’s something I am aiming to do. We have beginners sessions planned for new year and we want to get those sessions filled and incentivise juniors to join the club with the parents being encouraged to get involved. It’s so important to the club to invest in youth and help them through into the senior ranks in a more measured way.

SCC: What do you do away from cricket?
RW: I’m a big Everton fan and yes being from Liverpool I do get some stick but its all harmless banter. I enjoy the simple things in life like food and drink and I like watching films and TV series. I love living in Stretford as its full of friendly locals who support businesses to thrive. This area has great transport links, top class sport and shopping nearby so its ideal. I even go for the odd walk around the marina and along the canal. On a day to day basis I work in the city within the Print & Design industry where I design packaging.

SCC: What are your hopes for next season?
RW: I really believe that we are strong enough to get promoted next season. We were close last year and with a few more runs on the board we would have gone up. It would be nice to go to a cup final and maybe lift some silver items

SCC: What is your opinion of the music played in the 1st XI changing room?
RW: Where do I begin?! I do like some modern music but mainly lots of old classics. Iv’e seen Coldplay lots of times however I have some guilty pleasures like Simply Red, Beautiful South and the Lighthouse Family. I enjoyed the sing song we had in the Longford Tap at the end of the season where the whole pub joined in to High when we put it on the jukebox! I also enjoyed the knees up at the end of season do with a special adapted version of Go West by the Pet Shop Boys. I have a wide taste and even got into some Afrikaans music thanks to Francoise, the overseas player.

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Only one Mitch: Catching up with former overseas batting star Mitchell Williams

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 ”

If you would like to bat for Stretford in brutal fashion like Mitch, join the club here
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Christmas Karaoke Party

Its the last social before new year, the last chance to wish everyone at SCC a merry christmas and a happy new year, last chance to say bye to Rich Mattehwson who is crossing the Pennines on Dec 20th. Starting at 7.30 pm Disc Jockey McTarten & Disc Jockey McSporren are going to take us through the ages with a christmas karaoke so make sure your name is also in the hat. There will be a nice Ruby Murray and a nut roast available from the kitchen and drinks from the bar. Join in the fun. Free entry and all welcome. Let us know if your coming. Cheers
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How I beat school bullies playing cricket

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

As a 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.

A 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.

Speaking 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.

One day, 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”.

Hope was 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.

As extra 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.

There was 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.

During 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 mid wicket”.

“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.

“hang 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!

The sheer 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!

The very 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 belonged somewhere!

Cricket 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.

As I 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.

I 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.

A year 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.

Our first 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?

In 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?

“Look, just get me on strike for the last ball” I forcefully instructed.

Although 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.

I scanned 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.

As we celebrated, the opening bowler, walked over and again I thought back to those moments on the football pitch. I tensed my arm.

“Really well batted mate”

This was 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;

“Thank you, well bowled”

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