It is the beginning of May, the weather has been pretty good of late and there is still no sign of any cricket – only some great old footage on the television. Our sports club remains closed and it is hard to assess just when or if we will be allowed to play in 2020.

The committees of both the sports club and the cricket section have been working very hard to ensure the safety and security of not only our buildings and grounds, but also our finances. None of this is easy and like most businesses and individuals, this time of crisis is presenting some really stiff challenges that threaten our very existence.

In particular, your cricket club needs to continue to maintain its grounds even though we cannot use them. We were already recovering from the effect of the autumn flood to our playing surface and some of our equipment. We have been fortunate enough to secure some flood reparations focussed funding from Sport England and the ECB, but that very much related to the effects of flooding. We have recently submitted an application to Sport England’s Emergency Community Fund, set up to support Covid-19 related hardship, but to expect a favourable response, particularly in light of the recent flood fund award, would be foolhardy.

Based upon the guidance we have received from the ECB and taking account of unavoidable expenditure, we have set a budget for this season assuming that we end up playing no cricket at all, which is the least costly of all of the possibilities for this year. A short season will increase our outgoings significantly, while the only income we are going to receive is
from subscriptions, donations and grant aid. Sponsorship, match fees and effective fund raising events are expected to be well below last year, for obvious reasons. Based on these assumptions, the Club shows a projected deficit for the year of just over £1,000 but this relies on a significant number of membership fees being paid.

I wrote to you all a few weeks ago encouraging you all to pay your subscriptions, even though the likelihood of playing cricket was receding all the time. The need for you to do this is to ensure that we have both a cricket club and a sports club to come back to next season. The maintenance of these facilities and the club infrastructure is not something that can just be turned on and off when needed, and there is a significant element of
needing members to stand by their club in a time of crisis, much as the rest of the world is doing in a host of contexts.

I am pleased to say that a number of you have renewed your memberships and I am very grateful to you for that. I know that for a few this has not been the easiest thing to do set against personal financial uncertainty, but your generosity in such circumstances has shown admirable and highly appreciated commitment. However, about three quarters of our members and VPs have not so far renewed.

The reason for writing to you today is to extend my thanks to those who have already paid but also to urge those that have not to please do so. This is a time when we must all come together as owners of our club and its challenges, not simply abandon it and return when it suits us. Over the last couple of seasons I have seen a real resurgence of club spirit but what
is happening now is really putting that to the test.

I understand that for some this is just too big an ask in these difficult times, so please do not feel unduly pressured by my request. For others who do have the ability to pay, then please do join the number of your friends who have already done so. Your support at this time will not be forgotten in the seasons to come.

I wish all of you and your families the very best of health and luck and look forward to seeing you all sooner rather than later this summer.

Nick Abell
Stratford upon Avon CC