Really liked the fact that both my first game of the season and the last game of the season were for NBCC (@NBCCCIC) against the Birmingham Unicorns (@bhamunicons) as they gave a good example of how far they have progressed this year, and at the same time gave an insight into my own development in cricket both on and off the pitch this year.
I recently had to submit a Request For Information which included a section on what we had achieved this year and what our plans for 2024 were:
What are the aims for the club?
Short, Medium & Long Term
The short-term aim was to establish the company, get a presence on social media and within cricket, to play a few games to ‘test the theory’, and to increase our understanding of the ‘market’ so that we could fine tune the vision and revenue opportunities. We also wanted to look at which causes would be our major focus moving forward.
Our medium-term aims are to play games and increase awareness of our three primary causes:
- Alzheimer’s Research which we will support through the excellent Runs4Research which gets players to sign up to donate for every run and wicket they take.
- Animal Welfare which will concentrate on the plight of the Spanish Galgo/Greyhounds and supporting rescues in countries around the world where Cricket is played but animal welfare is poor e.g., Sri Lanka, Pakistan. We want to try and get professional cricketers from these countries to raise the awareness of issues within their own countries.
- Leonie Hadley-Wilkinson a remarkable young girl with Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy whose mother is a keen cricketer and has introduced Leonie to the game, which gives her great enjoyment.
All these games will also raise awareness of our Cricket Kindness Project (detailed below)
Off the field we have identified two specific revenue streams to explore:
- Consultancy with the specific aim of helping club cricket, county boards, and sporting institutions to deliver diversity and inclusivity through the provision of development plans, educational programmes, and skilled resources.
- Investment Funding to support new initiatives for people looking to develop new businesses in or for cricket, to provide ‘match funding’ for clubs looking to develop through diversity and inclusivity.
Long term the aim is twofold:
- To attract investors who want to help grow the business.
- Find and deliver an exit strategy which ensures the longevity of the NBCC ‘concept’.
Example Projects – 2023
Cricket Kindness: we absorbed this project into NBCC when the original founder moved back to Australia and the first thing, we did was to raise the funds and negotiate a waiver on custom and import duties so we could ship 7 pallets of donated equipment to the West Indies. We have also restructured the project, so it is much more sustainable and manageable with the focus for 2024 being on setting up hubs within cricket clubs for people to drop off unwanted kit and equipment and for clubs to use this to give new players the opportunity to experience cricket.
Birmingham Unicorns: the second LGBTQ+ cricket club in the UK we have developed a partnership with them where we provide coaching and development consultancy (for a modest fee).
Games: we have played four games this year, two against the Birmingham Unicorns, one against Green Lane to support Runs4Research and one against Hospital Services to promote the Cricket Kindness Project. They have all been a success both on and off the field and games are arranged for 2024.
Guest Appearances: I have played in games for Save Village Cricket, Runs4Research and captained the Gloucester LGBTQ+ team in the UK’s first LGBTQ+ T10 tournament, all of which helped promote NBCC.
Kit & Equipment: we have established a stock of both coloured kit and white kit so that players representing NBCC all have the same club kit, and access to good quality equipment.
Ambassadors: we have appointed eight ambassadors associated with the game to help promote NBCC
Mentors: we have appointed three relatively well know people from within the game to act as mentors to people wanting to get involved in cricket off the field of play.
Coffee: we have teamed up with the Cricket Coffee Co to produce and sell our own brand on NBCC Coffee called the Whakapapa Wake Up
Affiliated Grounds: we have partnered with three Grounds that will host games for us around the UK.
Affiliated Clubs: we have partnered with five clubs to help each other with fixtures and players.
Club Partnerships: we launched an initiative that will enable us to work with clubs and develop our Consultancy Services and we will be announcing our first partner over the winter.
Example Projects – 2024
The focus for 2024 will be on making the above work and learn from the lessons of 2023.
We have one significant project for 2024:
Girls & Woman’s Team: we are launching a G&W team to provide the opportunity of playing cricket to those that don’t have access to it and to work with clubs wanting to develop G&W teams. We have partnered with NEXX who produce woman specific bats, pads, and gloves and who have agreed to provide us with a club kit bag as well as a discount and commission on any sales, and with Lacuna Sports who produce female specific kit and accessories. We are also talking to Birmingham Unicorns about this being their girls and woman’s team as well. Roberta Moretti Avery the Brazil Woman’s Captain is consulting on the project and will be involved longer term.
Social Media: we need to develop a far more targeted social media strategy with a heavy bias on education, and I am interested in exploring a podcast that addresses how cricket can and should become more inclusive and diverse.
Educational Hub: the current site needs updating to be more than a Blog and I am very keen on having a large educational hub on both the site and YouTube.
Last one during the season and I should probably have waited until l had stopped playing, but with two games this weekend and being more than a tad sore I wanted a check up and to confirm the off season schedule. Once again no signs of injury of that the body wont continue to improve and still the same key areas to work on: left outer calf, thigh and groin, right hip, glutes, right shoulder/neck/arm.
Church Eaton v Stafford
Last game of the season and another hammering. Losing is fine if you play well, try hard, and develop. Not much point having a development team that doesn’t develop though!!
Personally bowled well enough but fielding didn’t help me, and batted 11 and didn’t face a ball.
Have enjoyed my time with the club, and despite being tapped up by a few clubs for next year I am going go talk to CE and see if I can get involved over the winter with the coaching and give their development team some guidance, then hopefully play for them next season, where my personal objective will be to play in the 1s as a bowler, who can catch at slip, and get a few runs in the lower order and with the tail.
NBCC v Unicorns
We managed a 30 an over game before the rain arrived, with the Unicorns the well deserved winners. Bizarre event of the day was myself failing to catch one which burst through my hands, damaged my thumb, smacked into my head and was caught at deep extra cover!
And …. rest!! I will post a review of the season and my off season plan over the next couple of weeks, during which time I will be doing NOTHING other than walking the dogs. I want (need) to give my body a total rest from stretching, rehab and playing so that when I start my rehab programme I know exactly what I am strarting with!