Latest update

New discussions this week:

  • Club Apps; any recommendations? See here
  • Anyone for tennis?  Anything to be learned from the professionalisation of club activities?  See here
  • ECB seek new chairman.  Any thoughts?  See here

Other current discussions:

  • Administration software; what would clubs want from a cricket or sports club specific product that isn’t currently available.  Or maybe it is?  See here
  • ECB Club Support role specification.  Future insights? See here
  • Is your season over?  If yes, or even no, get in on the active discussion on what went well for you…….and what didn’t?  Contribute here now.
  • How many?  Why we need proper data on adult and junior playing numbers.  See here

To access the discussions, you need to be a member of the Network and logged-on to LinkedIn.  You will find the Network’s LinkedIn group page here (it is a closed group and not publicly listed).

Anyone involved in running a recreational cricket club (maybe Clubmarked but not exclusively so) can join, contribute to and benefit from discussions with club peers, on everything and anything related to running a club. 

SHMS implementation: Network ‘Flash’ Forum

Is your club coasting to SHMS compliance or already compliant?

The July 31 deadline is fast approaching and we hear the picture is mixed; both in terms of club progress and the support from County Boards. The central SHMS helpdesk is often very busy as a result.

To help, we have organised this one-off online ‘Flash’ Forum, at short notice, to share information, guidance and helpful tips. The emphasis will be on active participation and practical solutions to real problems.

We are pleased to be joined by Richard Dixon who leads SHMS implementation at ECB.

The Forum is open to Network members and non-members so please forward details to the person responsible for SHMS in your club if that isn’t you.

Participants simply need to register on the Network’s dedicated LinkedIn event page here and the link to join the event online will be added shortly before the date.

There will be reminders, helpful articles and other activities on the event page prior to the date so please check it out from time-to-time.  

Back to the future; building a sustainable club

Presumably you have heard the Build Back Better mantra? What does it mean?

Are you expecting the world to change as a result of events since March 2020? Or do you think things will look pretty similar to 2019 once we get coronavirus under control or at least learn to live with it?

Some things have changed for certain as far as recreational cricket is concerned. The game will be grappling with the financial impact of Covid-19 for some time. That probably means less money available for clubs unless ECB can capture a sizeable chunk of the £300 million HMG funding for sport recently announced……and see investment in the recreational game as a core priority. So what other options are there?

Many clubs…..or at least forward thinking people within clubs…..are beginning to embrace Build Back Better. Can you use it to galvanise a broader commitment to create a sustainable long-term future for your club?

What might that look like? Does it go beyond short-term financial solvency? Revisiting plans for your facilities and, perhaps, becoming more ambitious? Fundamentally reviewing your business and operating model? Assessing how fit-for-purpose your ownership structure is? How can you future-proof your sport, recruit and better retain players, given the foreseeable challenges from within and outside cricket?

Are you considering you could well be asked within the next 5 years to develop a Net Zero Club Development Plan? Not a high risk yet, maybe, but still significant. At a more immediate practical level, if you have to plan replacement of your heating and hot water boiler, what are you going to do? And while climate change is already having an impact – just ask your groundsman (and your insurance company) – are you going to actively think about water harvesting, renewable energy, and travel to away games? And not just as risk issues, and potential costs, but as a business opportunity, too?

All of these issues will be included in a wide-ranging Network forum session on May 27 designed to stimulate thinking as preparation for a practical discussion on core elements of Build Back Better. Indeed, to begin scoping out the ‘Club of the future’ agenda with which we are likely to become very familiar over the next few years.

You can find the events page on LinkedIn here.

Developing the agenda – beyond Clubmark; what now for club development?

This is the first in a series of online Network forums focused on key club development issues, identified by Network members, on February 25 starting at 6.30pm.

This event explores the future of Clubmark following recent developments and will update participants on what is happening and why. It will also share understanding of the purpose and practical implementation of the Safe Hands Management System.

Beyond Clubmark, we will focus on some critical club development challenges that repeatedly emerge from the Network’s online discussions: applying leadership skills, identifying strategic priorities, delivering plans, getting and keeping others involved.

However, this is not about warming-up well rehearsed problems but seeking solutions and different practical approaches. Some will be presented to the session, others will be teased out of the discussions.

We are delighted, therefore, to have some great speakers and contributors.

Be warned, though, there’s heavy emphasis on attendee participation with posted discussions on the main issues both before and after the event, allowing us to weave your comments and questions into the agenda.

As well as our members’ LinkedIn group page we have set up a Network event page with more information here.  This allows members to invite club colleagues and other club leaders who are not members of the Network.

You can register for the event, now, here

Quick wins

On the back of the successful Covid-19 support webinar series over the summer and the new found universal passion for Zoom (or equivalents) we wanted to gauge the appetite for further virtual sessions on a range of club development issues.

So if you have yet to give us 2 minutes of your time to complete a quick survey, please click here and tell us NOW.

If there is sufficient interest, and it looks as though there is already for at least a few of the topic areas, then we will pursue discussions with the cricket bodies, outside providers and potential guest contributors to Network hosted events to look at doing something over the winter.

And please also tell us if you’re NOT interested so we don’t get carried away with the response from a skewed sample of the Network membership.  We know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

The focus has to be on short punchy sessions with maximum participation – our sharing knowledge and learning ethos –  which adds value to you as a club leader; delivering practical things you can do that you’re not already doing in areas that present the most challenge or where there is scope for deriving the most benefit for your club.  This is not about training but quick wins. 

Thank you in anticipation of your support.

Leadership or management? And what role can your coaches play?

Do you have:

  1. A clear vision for the Club
  2. A defined and agreed strategy
  3. A live action/development plan
  4. Allocated responsibilities for delivering the plan to those with the right competence/skill sets

Can anyone genuinely respond 1,2 3 and 4 and claim that commitment to the vision is largely unquestioned, all who need to buy in to the strategy have bought in, the plan is guiding everything the club focuses time on, and you and your committee are leading – that is inspiring, engaging, guiding, supporting, coaching, mentoring and occasionally directing – and not just managing yourselves or the few involved in delivering?

If yes, then what’s your secret?

I have had some very interesting conversations on the back of the ECBCA Zoom calls over the summer.  Primarily around the role of leadership in clubs………………..

Continued on LinkedIn here


Funding and funders

We posted a link to the Charity Excellence database of community/charity funding organisations in the notes from the May 7 Network webinar.

Still the most comprehensive we have seen and now up to 903 different funding sources.

Most will not be relevant but the database can be sorted by location, focus and scale of funding required/available. You will need to register.

We would be keen to hear who has had any success with funding – Covid-19 emergency or otherwise – from agencies and funders other than government schemes. ECB? Sport England? Others?

Any new or novel sources you have tapped into?

And those who have used Crowdfunding……..any unanticipated results? Have you managed to reach out beyond your membership and immediate community?

Love to hear about the successes………….and frustrations!

Add your comments to the post in the LinkedIn group here.

Playing in 2020 – poll results

The poll has closed with nearly 750 club responses – around 40% of all Clubmark clubs – in little over a week.

58% of you want to get the game on and, if league cricket is now unlikely, you’re looking for guidance on what’s possible to deliver meaningful cricket at some point this summer. The ECB Routemap published last night sets out what progress might look like.

However, nearly 30% of respondents are keen to play whatever form of cricket, whenever that is possible. And that might be ahead of or without official guidance, if it comes to it, so long as legal and insurance requirements are met.

13% of respondents think the practicalities of putting the game on make meaningful cricket unviable and we should focus instead on keeping the family silver safe for a return in 2021.

Some further analysis using raw data:

How and when are we getting the game on?

These are the questions uppermost on people’s minds and the focus of the next Network webinars on Thursday 11 June at 4.00pm and 8.00pm.

The webinars will cover some key issues:

  • The Playing in 2020 poll results and why people voted the way they did
  • Where are we with getting back on the field, what are the main challenges, and what might the game look like?
  • What’s stopping us getting the game on, now, and can clubs really ‘go it alone’?
  • Is no cricket in 2020 an option?
  • How do clubs participate in the decision making and what can we contribute to the recovery

I am delighted we will be joined in the 4.00pm session by guest contributors to help frame the discussion:

  • Richard Cox is ECB’s Head of West Midlands region, former CEO of the Dutch Cricket Board, and integrally involved in cricket’s response to the crisis
  • Alastair Symondson is Head of Media at CricketWorld and has published challenging digital articles advocating an early return to the field
  • Colin Mico is a member of the Network’s advisory board as cricket development lead at Caterham CC and one of the leading club insurance experts

The 8.00pm session will reflect on what we heard and broaden the discussion.

We want to ensure the sessions are as interactive as possible and draw on the wealth of evidence and views already on show in Network discussions.

If you want to join one of the webinars, simply post a comment with the time you prefer to attend – 4.00pm or 8.00pm – on this post in the LinkedIn group. We will add the simple joining instructions there ahead of the events.

If you haven’t already spent the one minute responding to the Poll – and over 730 clubs have to date – you have until midnight tonight and you can find it here.

Playing in 2020

With league cricket looking increasingly unlikely, leagues and clubs are already exploring other options.

That, of course, is dependent on the development of appropriate playing conditions to comply with government guidelines.

To gauge a club view, we have put together a one question poll with three options and asking you to identify which option best fits with how you see your club’s view on its appetite for cricket in 2020. 

There are a few identifying questions – name, club, county,  league(s) – but, as usual,  the results will only be published in aggregate and anonymised form

So please take a minute to complete the poll HERE