The following represents my seventh Chairman`s AGM submission to the Members of BHCC and marks the start of our 140th year of operation. The AGM was held on 21st February 2023.
Trawling back through content on the Club Website it is clear that this has been a year where considerable progress has been made both on and off the field of play.
Off the field in no particular order some of the highlights of our activities are represented in the following:
- A new sound system in the bar
- A partially resurfaced pothole free Car Park
- Significant investment in Grounds Maintenance Plant and Machinery
- New Practice Mat in the Nets plus new netting installed
- A new carpet in the Club House funded by an ECB County Grant
- A new Computer Screen to facilitate Squash Bookings
- Further Investment to insulate the NCB office.
- A sponsored system to stream First X1 games
On the field the First X1 won the prestigious Banks Salver Trophy, the Juniors won trophies at U13 and U19 Level and all our sides were competitive and in contention throughout the season. This was despite a Post Covid return to normality where unavailability seemed to hit Cricket everywhere and where it felt like we incurred more injuries and public exam absences than hitherto.
In 2022 the Juniors were the Jewel in our Crown and All Stars for younger children has become a significant element of our offer to Members. Several Juniors represented Northumberland Schools whilst two U15`s Freddie McGregor and Warren Poxon had the honour of playing at Lords. Hayden Mustard also represented Durham 2nd X1 and played regularly for the First X1 at 16 years of age.
Mark Charlton of Trilogy Turf has had an excellent first year of operation in looking after the Ground ably assisted by Geoff and John Chambers. I am grateful initially to Barry Evans and latterly to Bill Smalley for helping Mark to settle in and for providing a lead in the operation of the Ground.
The General Committee has begun to meet again post Covid and three Advisory sub committees have been formed under the following headings:
- Cricket and Ground
- Finance and Assets
- House and Social
The Board of Directors continue to drive the day to day business operations of the Club and our finances are in a healthy state despite the rise in the cost of living. I am ever grateful to Board Members Hugh Dyson, Larry Dawson, Phil Haves, Bill Smalley and Keith Shaw for their unstinting efforts on behalf of the Membership.
I must also thank all our professional staff who continue to go the extra mile. My thanks also to all those who sponsor the Club and to the General Membership for their ongoing support.
To conclude, the Benwell Hill Family has suffered some grievous blows through the course of the the year with a number of sad and untimely deaths. However, the Club remains extremely strong as a collective and is well placed to forge ahead as a great place to play both cricket and squash and to socialise.
As someone memorably said `A Proper Cricket Club`.
Simon Lunn February 2023