It is an enormous privilege to have been given the opportunity to be CWC Chairman, a role I have now carried out for almost five years. Following our 2019 AGM on Monday April 29, at Lord’s, I will step back down into the ranks delighted that Alison Mitchell has accepted the Committee’s invitation to be my successor. I do hope that as many of you as possible will get along to Lord’s on April 29 - from 2pm - to mark my own last day ‘in office’ and to welcome Ali as our next CWC Chairman (if I may be permitted to call her that!).
Ali, who is due to speak to members of the Committee in late March to outline her thoughts ahead of becoming Chairman, will be appointed ‘officially’ by the wider Club towards the end of AGM business on April 29; I know she is very much looking forward to becoming our Chairman and, from that position, leading the line for all cricket’s media in a rapidly-changing environment. As I have already said in committee, but which I think bears stressing to all CWC members, I firmly believe it is time for the ‘next generation’ of cricket journalists (of which Ali is a prominent member) to provide our Club with the clear and decisive leadership it will need in the coming decade and more.
Much might be made of the fact that Ali will be CWC’s first female Chairman but, in my opinion, that is largely irrelevant; it is far more important that she is a highly-respected, successful and visible cricket journalist - in both the broadcast and written media - and someone who is at the right age, and at the right stage of her career, to lead our line with distinction. Also sitting on Committee now, by the way, are a sizeable group of other probable future chairmen, so I am absolutely sure that our Club is in very good hands for the foreseeable future.
It is also very much worth saying here, of course, that it is not at all unusual for women to play leading roles in the running of the Cricket Writers’ Club. Wendy Wimbush, Treasurer for 31 years of CWC’s 73-year history, and also Assistant Secretary for much of that time, holds such a magnificent record as the Club’s longest-serving officer that it may well never be broken. And, while Wendy has set quite a standard, others such as Gemma Wright, Shilpa Patel, Raf Nicholson, Mandy Shepherd, Clare Skinner and Ali herself have also made significant contributions in recent years to CWC affairs. Additionally, Tanya Aldred has in the past year joined both the CWC Awards and CWC Book of the Year sub-Committees.
Between now and the AGM, however, there is still much for me to do as Chairman before handing over the reins to Ali and then giving her my full support as a continuing member of the Committee.
Preparation for this year’s Annual Lunch, on Tuesday October 1, is already under way (see below) and there has been much liaison in recent weeks with ECB on both the accreditation process for 2019 and on the resumption next month of the ECB Reporters’ Network.
At this time of year, too, the final touches to the CWC Handbook are being made, again in liaison with ECB, so please send any contact or home address changes to Gemma Wright, our Handbook Editor, as soon as possible. The 2019 Handbook will be printed in late March and distributed in the first week of April.
SECRETARY’S REPORT - VITHUSHAN EHANTHARAJAH
Our AGM has been set for Monday April 29 in the pavilion at Lord’s. Many thanks to Will Macpherson, soon to be in the hot seat, for organising the date and liaising with MCC to allow us a run at the Pavilion Bar for our post-AGM social. The AGM starts at 2.00pm and the social will start around 3.30pm-6.00pm. Please adhere to the dress codes applicable to the Lord’s pavilion. The AGM agenda and further details will be circulated by the end of March.
LUNCH SUB-COMMITTEE REPORT - MARK BALDWIN
Ticket prices for the 2019 Annual Lunch on Tuesday October 1, again to be held at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge, will be discussed by the CWC Committee in late March and ratified at the AGM on April 29. It is hoped at this stage that there will not be any increase on 2018 prices.
The sub-Committee is due to meet on March 7, to discuss this year’s arrangements with the hotel venue staff, and menu choices and other details about this year’s Lunch will be circulated soon afterwards and also placed on the CWC website. I am delighted that Alex Winter has accepted an invitation to join the sub-Committee, in order to provide input from the sizeable county commentators’ group - and also from the younger end of the Club - following the sad loss of Dave Callaghan last year.
SPONSORSHIP SUB-COMMITTEE REPORT - DAVID FULTON
I need to place on record my and the Club’s thanks to both William Hill and the Lord’s Taverners, our two most notable sponsors, for their continued support in 2019. Their respective annual sponsorships are crucial in allowing the Club to offer significant discounted tickets - especially for individual members - at the Annual Lunch.
The news earlier this winter that the Lord’s Taverners have signed a new three-year agreement to continue their support of CWC into 2020-2022 is hugely appreciated. A sub-Committee meeting is planned for late March, at which we will be discussing other potential sponsorships and partnerships, for the benefit of all CWC members.
INTERNATIONAL SUB-COMMITTEE REPORT - SIMON WILDE
Chris Haynes is to leave his role as ECB’s director of communications at the end of April, only weeks before England host the Cricket World Cup.
Haynes joined ECB in 2015 and his tenure was dominated in the later stages by the task of selling the new competition and handling the Ben Stokes trial. There was speculation that Haynes carried the can for the ECB’s difficulties winning over the counties and the public to The Hundred, although Haynes himself insisted he had reached a natural end point after four years, and with plans for the new competition nearing completion.
The Club had recently made its feelings known about Tom Harrison’s lack of availability to print media throughout 2018, although that changed during the recent West Indies tour. James Motley, like Haynes a former Sky employee, has been appointed head of communications for the new competition.
FACILITIES SUB-COMMITTEE REPORTS
Midlands - Jon Culley writes:
I’ve had an email round to all my grounds - and to Eddie Bevan on his Caribbean cruise - and apart from a minor Wi-Fi issue at Northampton, which is being sorted, everywhere gets a clean bill of health. Evidently, even the Wi-Fi on Eddie’s boat works.
North - Graham Hardcastle writes:
Nothing of any real significance at any of the venues, although it may be worth pointing out that at Yorkshire the new development of the Football Stand will certainly have no impact on parking for domestic games. Parking is still in car park F. At international games it can sometimes mean parking a bit further down St Michael’s Lane.