8 October 2020
We hope you are well and getting on okay through this difficult period.
We wanted to once again thank you all for your support throughout what has been such a challenging season. We know it has been a million miles away from the season we all hoped for and it has been a huge disappointment that we haven’t been able to welcome you all to Bristol and Cheltenham or to see you on the road. We know many of you have been following matches through our live streaming and we hope that worked well as a way to follow our teams.
Despite the challenges it has been absolutely brilliant to see so much cricket played over the last few weeks and all credit should go to Richard Dawson, Chris Dent, Jack Taylor and all of the playing and support squads for all they have achieved. To reach T20 Finals Day for the first time in 13 years was a huge moment for all at the Club and although our rain-delayed and reduced-overs semi-final fell short of our hopes and expectations we have proven we can get there. With this group of players we should have every confidence we will be back again next year. Special thanks in particular should go to all of the Club’s medical and support staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the year in supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of the whole Club. Thanks also to Steve Nelson, David Partridge and Matt Windows from the Executive Board for their leadership through the Cricket Working group and the wise counsel they have provided to all at the Club.
A welcome returning team to the Bristol County Ground this season has been the mighty Western Storm. Western Storm has developed beyond recognition in recent years and now incorporates both the main playing squad and also the regional development elements. It is now a genuine year-round business developing the next generation of professional Domestic and International Women’s cricketers from across Wales and the West Country. We are hugely proud of our association with “Storm” and it has been an honour to host both match days and their training.
One area of recent discussion and press speculation has been around the potential domestic structure for 2021. Having seen the improvements made by Team England in recent years and our own success in getting promoted it is hard not to want to see two divisional cricket continue into 2021. We do, however, realise that we are in unique times and that we head towards 2021 with a great deal of uncertainty that stretches far beyond our own cricketing boundaries. The game needs to remain agile going into 2021 and for that season alone we may well have to be prepared to try something different such as a “conference” system.
In any season the Cheltenham festival is always a highlight and like all cricket it has been a real shame not to be able to play cricket at the College Ground this year. The provisional schedule we have seen for 2021 does allow for both red and white ball matches in July and we very much hope that we can return next year to celebrate our 151st year as a Club and our 149th anniversary of the Cheltenham Cricket Festival.
As mentioned, before we remain in a strong financial state for this current financial year and are confident that we will achieve the break-even position we referenced earlier in the year. Everybody has played a part in helping us achieve this and we are very grateful to all our members, supporters and staff who have all contributed to this. 2021 remains more of an uncertainty and despite the amazing support from the ECB we have received so far there will undoubtedly be challenges ahead.
2020 represented the 150th anniversary of the Club and as such we had much planned for the year. However, we think that being a year older in 2021, especially after the challenges of 2020, is worth even more of a party and restrictions allowing we plan to celebrate this great Club with as much energy and excitement as possible in its 151st year.
Our 150th anniversary year has also given us time to reflect on our future – it is hard to hit such a milestone and not think about the next 150 years too. We prepared a strategy earlier in the year which we presented to the ECB in March just before we went into lockdown. It is a strategy we will publish soon but we very much see it as one that will help us to grow in a considered and sustainable way. At the heart of it is the desire to reflect the views and values of the communities we serve; to be somewhere that is recognisable and welcoming to all our visitors and partners.
A major feature of this is our environmental legacy and we have stated our clear intent to be the most environmentally considerate and sustainable cricket stadium and Club in the country. Our commitment to this has been building for years but now, as we reflect on our past and future it is essential, we make changes. To this end we have this year:
- Installed 13 electric vehicle charging points
- Installed a further 125 bike racks
- Purchased electric mowers (replacing older petrol models)
- Continued our zero to landfill policy for all our waste
- Swapped our electricity supply to being only from renewable sources
- Changed our catering partner to Fosters who specialise in high quality, local food with a minimal carbon footprint.
- We have become the only UK cricket signatory on the United Nations Sports 4 Climate Action and this Saturday (10th October) will be announced as being part of the Global “Race to Zero” campaign.
As an organisation we’ll also be reviewing the amount and type of printed material we send you, our membership. We recognise that not everyone has access to the internet and that some Members don’t have email, but we will be finding more sustainable ways of communicating with you all without losing the regularity of our communications. We hope that you will all join us on this “journey”.
Hopefully you will have all now received the papers relating to the AGM which has been postponed to Tuesday 20th October at 7pm. Details of how to access the meeting were included on the recent mailing but also will be published on the Club website on the day of the meeting – it will take place virtually via Zoom. If you haven’t yet sent your ballot papers, please do so asap as the deadline for those to be returned is 5pm next Monday (12th October). Similarly please do send any questions in advance to our firstname.lastname@example.org address or the Bristol County Ground address.
We look forward to seeing many of you on the night of the AGM.
All the very best,