Monday’s cautious announcement from the government regarding the gradual lifting of lockdown measures has been well-received by sports club sand associations up and down the country, and at Old Southendian & Southchurch Cricket Club the sentiment is no different.
The Old Boys have made steady progress both on and off the filed in recent time. The clubs’ first XI lifted the Essex Cricket League Division Two title in 2019 and despite the global pandemic forcing a reduced schedule last summer, the Garon Park outfit still provided competitive cricket for players of all standards, field five teams throughout the shortened campaign.
And with their home ground having received an impressive makeover, including the new sightscreens and covers along with the introduction of a wellbeing centre and the planting of 2,300 trees on the site, there is plenty for local cricket enthusiasts to look forward to when the 2021 season gets underway in early May.
But it’s what goes on, on the pitch, which is of most importance to Old Boys Club Captain, Sam Hodgson.
“Everyone at OSSCC welcomes the recent Government announcements on the return of organised outdoor sport on March 29,” he told Yellow Sport.
“Having missed roughly half of the 2020 season owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the prospect of being able to play a full complement of fixtures this time around has got all playing and social members alike excited, as evidenced through the real positivity and optimism expressed by everyone during our recent (virtual) Annual General Meeting.”
Hodson focused on an abundance of talent coming through the ranks at Garon Park, adding: “One of the real positives to have emerged from the truncated 2020 season was the continued emergence of a number of our promising youth cricketers.
“The reorganised Essex League season – for which OSSCC’s thanks go to Tom Clarke and the Essex League Executive Committee for organising for member clubs at such short notice – provided the perfect competitive yet friendly platform for a number of youngsters to continue their progression into the adult game.
“We were particularly proud to hand 1st and 2nd XI debuts to a handful of these youngsters, a trend which we hope continues into 2021 and beyond.
Hodgson continued: “Much of that success has been made possible through the continued hard work of our Director of Youth Cricket, Henry Williams, and his team of ECB Level 1 and Level 2 coaches.
“They are currently eagerly awaiting official ECB guidance and protocols to be announced, and will then be publishing a full schedule of Training Sessions for adult and youth members alike, ahead of what will hopefully be an action-packed 2021 season.”
Old Southendian & Southchurch get the Hamro Essex Cricket League Division One campaign underway on Saturday, May 8 when Hutton are the visitors to Garon Park (12:30pm).