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    From the President: CRICKET – Old and New

    In the last Yearbook, I was suggesting that the gap between 20/20 and Test Cricket is narrowing but we now have the prospect of a City-based tournament each year that will surely help to banish County cricket and all that it stands for into the mists of time? I feel it especially sad after the exciting finish that we had at the end of last season’s championship.

    Old cricket has tended to be played on county grounds in front of a sparse number of predominantly aged spectators, dressed either in scarves and rainwear or in rolled-up shirt sleeves and droopy sun-hats. Many of these loyal supporters will have brought flasks of tea and sandwiches in tin-foil. There was never much noise apart from the sound of the ball on willow, the occasional appeal and the ripple of applause when a stylish off-drive pierced the infield. Tranquility is perhaps the best word to summarise the scene.

    New cricket is usually played at stadia, often under floodlights, with packed hordes of supporters, both young and old, usually both males and females dressed in shirts that declare support for a team or country. Banners and flags are waved feverishly as well as the advertisers’ cards with a 4 or 6 on either side. Every gap in play is plugged with  a burst of loud pop music while each huge maximum over mid-wicket or reverse-hit for four is greeted by an eruption of flame and a swift dance routine by three young ladies wearing not very much. Pandemonium might be my chosen word.

    How does Sou’wester cricket fit into all this?

    I must admit that the game played during the club’s recent Corfu tour on the famous town ground had perhaps some of the feel of New Cricket while Harry Thomas regularly seems to play shots that no self-respecting Sou’wester of the 20th century would have dreamt of playing but overall our annual South-West tour is still decidedly Old Cricket.

    Does this mean that we, as a club, are now out-of touch with the modern young cricketers who we hope may become the Sou’westers of the future? What can be done to bring our club into the 21st century? Perhaps the new, slightly garish blazers are a start? Perhaps it is a good thing that I have come to the end of my short spell as Club President?

    However you can be sure that I will be keeping a close eye on future Sou’wester developments and I wish every success to those who will be guiding the Club into an interesting future.

    Philip Spray