Hi Everyone!

Well the time has come – after 6 years at the helm of this fantastic club, I am finally raising the bat, holding the ball high and retiring from the Presidency.  This season I have been extremely lucky to have Ian O’Donnell stand up to be Vice President with the intent of him taking over as President.  He’s been a real find and will be a fantastic President.  I personally will be staying with the committee but focussing on girls (and maybe u17s??) as well as equipment.

This season has been yet another good year for the club.  Our numbers remain strong across the age groups with good numbers from In2Cricket to U16s.  We also have good numbers in girls with girls in In2Cricket/T20Blast as well as our three junior Girls teams.  I am confident that this will only get better.

In terms of our on field success, we have 4 teams out of 7 making finals, with 2 of those teams finishing top of their ladder and one winning the Grand Final.  We have strong representation into our District clubs, as well as beyond into State ranks.

Support wise, the club continues to be strong.  We are financially strong as can be seen by the Treasurer’s report.  This enables us to continually update and refresh our kits replacing major items like shades, bats and pads.  We as a committee have been able to do a number of key activities – the most obvious is, as you can see, putting up our memorabilia in the club room.  There is still some further work to do, but this is well in hand.

Last season, I reflected on the past, this report, I think it is worth looking to the future.

With our younger players, the In2Cricket and T20 Blast format continues to grow and improve.  Cricket Australia and the WACA are providing a strong input into these formats in their search for the most attractive to new players format.  What has been evident is the need for these bodies to find supportive clubs – and Whitfords Junior springs to mind when they look to the north of Perth.  This is great for us because not only the support that comes our way, but also it provides us with a direct opportunity to influence the governing bodies so that they account for the opportunities and difficulties for clubs’ running the formats.  It also allows us to take full advantage of their recruiting efforts!

A major initiative coming out of Cricket Australia is a review of the rules around U10 – U15s.  Here in WA, the CJCC rules are very different to what is played in the Eastern states.  In general, it’s full rules from U10s – there’s no adjustment at all for different ages.  The Cricket Australia work is driving across Australia a series of rules that are much closer to what we are currently doing.  But there will be some changes for us, with the major change being reduced pitch lengths based on age.  These are being trialled at the moment and if introduced, will be introduced gradually.

For us within the club, I’d like to see us consolidate our numbers but also continue to grow in some areas.  I am hopeful that next season will see us have an U17s teams for the first time in many years.  I’d also like to see our girls numbers continue to grow, especially in our In2C and T20 teams, hence feeding into our higher age groups.  Most importantly though, I’d like to see us grow our coaching abilities and skills – both in our coaches and in the support that we can provide our coaches.  The current accreditation regime provides a basic skill set but has some difficulties in its administration.  A likely requirement in the near future will be for all our coaches to have an accreditation.  This will necessarily drive changes to how the accreditation is done.  But at the end of the day, an accreditation is just a piece of paper – it’s how the skills are applied to the players that is important.  And this is an area that I think we as a club can explore.

Probably the biggest challenge that I see for us in the future is our volunteers.  This not only extends to a coach and manager for each team, but also into the club as committee members or people providing their time for specific activities.  Whilst we exist for our players, we can only exist because of the parents of the players volunteering their time.  We are not unique here – but we must strive to get and retain our volunteers.

Finishing the point off, I must thank all the volunteers past and present for their help in making our club as successful as it is.  I am always overwhelmed by the positive messages I get from players and parents within the club as well as from outsiders.  Thanks.

Finally, I must thank everyone of the committee both past and present for all the help you have given me as President.  I couldn’t have done the job without you all.  In writing this, I tried to list you all and found that the list went to multiple pages.  I have been blessed with working with the best of people – I can’t thank you all enough.  I leave the office knowing that Whitfords Junior Cricket club is in good hands and that the future burns bright.

Steve Emery