A general update on the new pavilion, signing on night, outdoor training, membership fees and Cricket Force.
The season is now only a month away and I was at Hesketh Park yesterday and the ground looks in great shape despite the winter weather, so well done to our ground staff Mac & Neil Wilson!
As I keep saying 2014 is such an exciting and momentous year for our Club and over the winter there has been lots of hard work and effort across the whole club which I've tried to keep you up to date on.
One piece of feedback I keep getting is the effectiveness of our communication and so we are trying to develop the website (www.dartfordcc.co.uk) so it becomes the hub for all information about the club. Whilst we will continue to send communications out via email, twitter and Facebook, if you have any questions please check the website in the first instance.
If you're not already following us on twitter (@dartfordcricket) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/dartfordcricketclub) please do so to get up to the minute news.
The other area I get most questions on is the new pavilion. As I write we are 3-4 weeks into the planning process and understand all is progressing smoothly towards a formal decision point at the end of April.
We are also well into the detailed design process and met with Steve Macdonald, our project manager and architect, to start talking about the interior spec which is starting to look amazing. The building itself is a modular build and will be fabricated abroad in Bosnia, and I'm hoping to be able to actually go out and see it being made over the next couple of months.
The main question I get asked is when will we start and when will it be finished. With planning not yet in the bag dates are obviously still not definite but groundwork is likely to be late May/June, the building constructed in July & August and we are still hopeful of meeting the end of September deadline for completion.
Plans for the farewell to our old pavilion before it is demolished at the end of the year are beginning to take shape as are those to celebrate the opening of the new one. This will probably be low key to start with at the end of the season, with the official and more grand opening being in Spring 2015 when phase 2 (demolition, nets, scorebox and other ancillaries) will also be complete. I will of course keep you updated.
Winter training is nearly finished and the sessions have been really well supported and great fun and I've really enjoyed getting to know the players. We have some real talent in our junior ranks and a great group of kids. We have a number of new coaches supporting us this year and they have really made their mark, if only because of their new orange shirts!
I'm also really pleased that Grahame Clinton (ex Surrey player & Head Coach and now Head of Sport at Colfes school) has agreed to work with us going forward as Head of Coaching, to support Junior Head Coach Ian Sels. Many of you will know Grahame already but trust me he is one of the best coaches about and can only strengthen the development of our players.
We will move straight to outdoor training from Monday 14th April and below are the specific dates and times. As you will see this year all age groups will be training on the same night which we've done to try and better integrate the various age groups.
Tuesdays will now be used for smaller invited groups and 1-to-1 sessions and we will let you know more about these as we go through the season. If you are interested in any 1-to-1 sessions to support the main coaching please let me know as we can arrange this for you although there will be an additional charge but this will be to cover costs only.
Outdoor training times 2014 (venue: Hesketh Park)
Juniors: (14th April to 25th August)
School years 1-5: (ages 5-10 ie those that have trained on a Saturday morning during the winter) - Monday night 5.30-7.00pm
School years 6 & above: (ages 11+ ie those that have trained on a Monday during the winter) - Monday night 6.00-8.00pm
Girls only sessions: Wednesday night 6.00-7.30pm
Seniors: (from 17th April onwards) – Thursday night 6.00-8.00pm
Easter junior coaching course
There are still some places on the Easter coaching course, if you are interested please let me know as soon as possible;
Academy junior: (U17 as at 01.09.13) - £85 (reduced to £75 if paid by 30th April)
Academy family: (more than one child in the same family) - £105 (reduced to £95 if paid by 30th April)
Senior player: £130 (£100 if paid by 30th April, £90 if paid by 31st March)
Signing on night - Friday 4th April
Our signing on event this year will take a slightly different approach as it's on a Friday evening. Adam Ball (Kent player & former England u/19 captain) has agreed to come down and meet the juniors (and others obviously) and spend some time talking about his cricketing experiences growing up and progressing to the 1st class game and representing his country. There will also be an opportunity to purchase Aero and Nike kit at discounted prices and we will have details of how you can help support the club.
Finally a plea. I realise it's not always possible for you to be there at every training session or match but I would encourage you not to just drop your child off and go. Thirty years ago I was part of the junior section myself and I know only too well how important it was that a parent or carer stayed to watch and shared in my development.
If you are also able to help out with the tuck shop or can help with running one of the junior teams I'd love to hear from you. We hopefully now have someone from the coaching team to support each side but I do need people to help with the administration/organisational side as well as umpires and scorers and don't worry if you have no experience I will support you personally so if you think you might be able to help or just want to see what's involved please let me know.
In the meantime I look forward to seeing you during the course of the season.
Chairman, Dartford Cricket Club