Making Saturdays Afternoons More Enjoyable
Posted by Brian Hudson on 04/05/2017 16:10
Three GACUS officials came, not as umpires, but as people who love cricket and visit a lot of clubs. There’s also a lot of experience and no affiliations so we came with an open mind.
Each club was asked to put down three things, within their control, which were stopping Saturdays being as enjoyable as they’d like. There were many ideas and some were chosen by lots of captains and chairmen. Some produced opposites, such as starting earlier or starting later!
But three issues came up most frequently. These were:
3rd (about 20 responses) – Poor facilities and grounds
2nd (just under 35 responses – nearly half) – Lack of independent umpires. Probably this was chosen because of the next one.
1st (over 40 responses – over half) – Poor player behaviour and cheating.
Interestingly, the first two are not obviously within the immediate control of clubs, but perhaps with goodwill and all round commitment and support, they could be.
The captains and chairmen were then asked to try and start putting down strategies that could be used to try and address these.
A summary of these views are attached as an Appendix.
A few personal thoughts from the GACUS team that led the session.
- Because of the high returns on these three things, it may be that the GCCL and/or the GCB will take the lead in seeking a consensus, but this should not stop clubs creating their own “to do” action plan.
- We cannot really say much on grounds and facilities. What we do know is from our visits to clubs that the GCCL and GCB have been very proactive and supportive in helping clubs address this. We are also aware that there are many clubs, often without a great history, who are only able to play by using recreational grounds or school facilities. We would suggest the GCCL and GCB would be able to help develop that still further. However, some clubs in recent years, who could not improve their existing facilities have found ways to actually find a new improved location. But it needs people within the club with both vision and time to commit to such a change.
- It is highly unlikely that there will suddenly be enough independent umpires to be appointed to seven divisions in the foreseeable future. However, it was only two years ago that Division 2 had their first independent umpires. The aim of GACUS, the GCCL and the GCB is to keep growing this number, but it is a slow process. The GCCL expect clubs to send delegates to courses and reimburse clubs who have people who go on to stand from the panel. GACUS will go to any club that can guarantee 10 delegates to run an introductory course and the feedback suggests these are very well received. Book one now! Just think though, if every club at the meeting found one person from their club who has attended an introductory training session to train and join the panel, we’d have 70 additional umpires. We strongly believe that the clubs themselves are in the best position to aid our recruitment of umpires, so why not start now finding that one person, ready to stop playing perhaps, who can continue to give something back to the game and address a complaint from nearly half the clubs present?
- On the Introductory Courses, one of the most common practical questions is who is responsible when there are no umpires? The answer has to be the captains who need to work together before the game to agree. If over half the people present identified player behaviour as an issue, perhaps everybody needs to ask this question of themselves. Is it always the opposition who behave poorly, or do some of our own players let the team down? Division 1 and 2 captains are expected to ensure the players abide by the 3 GACUS principles – no dissent, no swearing and no comments to or about the opposition. Perhaps that could be a starting point before the match for both captains.
- If the club captains and chairmen had other priorities then they should look to create an action plan for themselves to address those priorities. They might not have got a mention here, but they are clearly important to your club.
Bob Owen GACUS
May 1st 2017