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20/20 Vision: Guy Robinson – Director of Cricket

ML & GR

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.