Seaton Cricket Club gearing up for the new season

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Picture: Thinkstock - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

With the 2018 cricket season fast approaching, Seaton Cricket Club would like to extend a warm welcome not only to existing members, but especially to anyone who is thinking about joining the club as a player, volunteer or social member, writes Richard Honnor.

The club has two senior teams, playing Devon League and Cup cricket, as well as a Sunday side which plays friendlies plus a number of midweek fixtures against quality touring sides from all over the country.

The club places a high importance on junior cricket and has a thriving juniors section offering boys and girls of all abilities the opportunity to learn to play the game of cricket in a safe, well-managed but enjoyable environment under the supervision of ECB qualified cricket coaches. Parents are warmly welcomed and actively encouraged to become involved in junior cricket and with social activities at the club.

Seaton Cricket Club is part of the Seaton Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club which was formed in 1875.

In the early days cricket was the dominant sport, but, since the 1960s, tennis has become very popular and now enjoys a large membership.

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During its existence, the Cricket Club has experienced highs and lows on the field of play, depending on the quality and quantity of players available to the club at a given period of time. In recent seasons, Seaton 1sts and 2nds have experienced mixed fortunes in Devon league cricket, but notably the 1st XI won the T20 County Corinthian Cup in 2016.

Over the years, some outstanding Seaton cricketers have been selected to play for both the Devon County and Devon League representatives side.

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Those representing Devon County and Devon League include Norman Humphries, Arthur Critchard, Mike Marsh, Richard Newton, Peter Anderson and Bob, Andy and Mike Cottam.

Not only did the Cottams represent Devon, Bob Cottam played Test Cricket for England and professionally for Hampshire and Northants for many years.

Bob’s sons Andy and Mike both played for MCC Young Professionals and Somerset. Also, whilst working in the Far East, Seaton Cricket Club stalwart Peter Anderson captained the Hong Kong representative side in two World Cup qualifying competitions!

Current Somerset bowling coach Jason Kerr played for two seasons as the club’s professional. Looking back on his time at Seaton, he says: “Playing at a good club like Seaton was an important part of my learning process as to how to conduct myself and set an example to others on and off the field.”

In addition to the cricket club’s own list of fixtures, the famous Free Foresters touring side have for many years played a three-day festival at Seaton against teams such as the MCC and the club has also played its part in supporting Devon County Cricket by staging youth representative matches against various counties.

One of the biggest challenges that Seaton Cricket Club faces is retention of young players. In Seaton, many of our talented young players tend to leave the area to seek out higher education and employment opportunities, which is absolutely right and proper but quite frustrating given the importance the club places in youth coaching. But this does not deter Seaton Cricket Club from trying its very best to carry on its proud tradition of providing recreational and competitive cricket at junior and senior levels.

The generation wheel turns, of course, and just as some of the younger folks leave the area so some in later life return or move into the area who have played or participated in cricket.

Peter Anderson, who has been involved with the club as player and administrator since 1960, has always maintained that ex cricketers retiring or returning to the area rarely involve themselves in the running of the club.

Peter says: “We are totally dependent on volunteers and need help to keep the club running. So the club appeals once again to ex-cricketers and to anyone else who wishes to be involved, please come and give us a hand.

The club very much depends on volunteers for its continued success.”

Looking ahead to the 2018 season, the club will again field 1st and 2nd XI Senior sides in the Devon League.

Training sessions for the seniors will be held each Wednesday.

With regard to junior cricket, the club will be running cricket taster sessions for young beginners under 10 years old. For the under 11s, 12s 13s and 14s, teams will be playing friendly and league matches against local clubs.

Peter Anderson says: “We have always run junior teams, some of which have been really successful in competitive cricket, but the key point is that we welcome any girl or boy who wants to learn and play cricket regardless of natural ability.

“I am enthused by the news that the East Devon Cricket Centre of Excellence will be based at the Colyton Grammar School indoor facility in the knowledge that it was Seaton Cricket Club which raised monies to pay for the installation of indoor cricket nets there several years ago.”

Also, in 2018, the club is again proud to be able to host several youth county matches at U14, U15 and U17 level.

Club captain Ben Morgan said: “We are always willing to help out the future stars of Devon, which is now a very successful Minor Counties team. Our own fast bowler Kersley Sutton is in the U17 squad and one day may well open the bowling for the full Minor Counties side.”

The club can also boast that the prestigious Free Foresters Cricket Festival will again take place at Seaton in July.

The opening match is a mouth-watering prospect against a Devon League Representative Xl.

For those wishing to become members, whether it be as players, volunteers, or socially, please feel free to come and have a look at the club.

The social facilities for both tennis and cricket sides are excellent, as are the playing pitches and surfaces for both sports.

To cap it all, the ground is in a lovely setting, which provides an enjoyable environment for playing and watching the game of cricket. So, if you are interested in joining the club, please get in touch as follows:

? Senior players wishing to join, please contact Ben Morgan, club captain Tel. 07787 436583.

? For Juniors under 11, please contact Steve Pritchard, Tel. 07432 424186.

? For Juniors aged 12-14, please contact Peter Anderson Tel. 01297 23507.

? For general enquiries, please contact Kim Pritchard, club secretary Tel. 07977 10642.

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