The 2018 Annual Meeting of Cornwall County Cricket Club, held at the Cornwall Cricket Centre, Truro, was one of the more momentous in the 123 year history of the club. It saw the retirements of two long serving officers, Colonel Ronnie Potts and Douglas Nance. It also saw the election of Matthew Rowe, who becomes the 25th captain in the club’s history.
Colonel Potts stood down as Club President, in the week of his ninetieth birthday, having served on the committee for the past 47 years. He joined in April 1971 representing an affiliated club, Pencarrow. The following year he was elected as a general committee member in his own right. He also joined the selection committee that year, a post he was to hold until 2011. He was appointed the Club Chairman in 1989 following the sudden death of Leslie Northey, who was in his twentieth year in the post. In 2012 Colonel Potts succeeded Father Ken Rogers as the Club President. He was made a Life Member back in 2001.
Douglas Nance has also retired, having served the club for 32 years. He took over as Honorary Treasurer in 1986 following the sudden death of Frank Hobbs. When Keith Hore succeeded him in 2006 Doug became Assistant Treasurer and remained on the committee. He was made a Life Member in 2007.
The new President, only the eighth in the club’s history, is stalwart Eric Willcock. He has had a long association as a former player, captain, committee member and is a current selector. He played for 21 seasons between 1967 & 1987. His 141 Championship appearances is the fourth highest on the all time Cornwall list and his 6,588 runs, with seven centuries and 36 fifties, has only been bettered by Malcolm Dunstan. He captained the club for five seasons between 1983 and 1987. After his election he said “It is a great honour and I feel humbled to take up the position”.
Matt Robins stood down as county captain after five seasons. He took over from Tom Sharp midway through the 2013 season. Team Manager Godfrey Furse praised Robins for his time in charge and highlighted his win / loss ratio as one of the best on record by a Cornwall captain. In 28 championship games he won 11, lost 11 and drew 6. He also led the county to their only national one-day title, famously winning the Unicorns KO Trophy in 2015.
The new captain is Matthew Rowe, who celebrates his 29th birthday this month. Having played through the Cornwall Schools system he represented Gloucestershire seconds before making his Cornwall debut, against Wales at Falmouth, in 2008. Opening the batting he made 72 in the match. After Robins he is the most experienced current member of the squad having made 34 championship and 18 one day appearances. He was capped in 2015, having hit championship centuries in successive matches. He played club cricket for Troon, St Austell and Camborne before moving to Berkshire to work as a cricket coach. He is a current member of the star studded Henley-on-Thames team that includes a number of the very successful Berkshire squad. He was part of Cornwall history in 2011 in the game against Herefordshire at Truro. Joined by siblings Tom and James it was the only occasion that three brothers have played for Cornwall in the same game. Their father Christopher (1981-82) and uncle Martyn (1982-83) have also played championship cricket for Cornwall.
The meeting also formally appointed Truro’s Scott Harvey as Vice Captain. The intention is for Rowe and Harvey to work closely together as a partnership. The process has already begun with great drive and enthusiasm to take things forward with the Under 21/Development team. Cornwall Cricket Board Performance Development Manager, and former county all-rounder, Chris Hunkin will manage the side in a joint partnership between the Board and County Club. The aim is for an increased player pathway opportunity with representative games against Devon Lions, Somerset Academy, Bristol University, Millfield School and Dorset Leopards, amongst others, being planned. In common with current trends is intended to brand the team as the ‘Cornwall Choughs’.
In presenting the committee report on the 2017 season Club Chairman Michael Williams reflected on a mixed year. He was impressed however with the opportunities given to so many young players. There was just one championship win, remarkably inside four sessions against Wales at Truro. The game against Shropshire at St Austell was abandoned as a draw before lunch on the final day, with Cornwall needing just three wickets for victory. A well contested game at Penzance saw Herefordshire complete a last day run chase in a game that could have gone either way. Tom Rowe all but broke the county individual highest score record, ending seven runs short on 188. On the road it was a different story with rain helping to draw at Berkshire but there were heavy defeats at Cheshire and Dorset. Cornwall finished eighth. In the Unicorns KO Competition a disappointing campaign saw a narrow defeat in the opening game at Oxfordshire by just one run. However three more defeats followed as all four group games were lost for the first time.
In the Championship Tom Rowe made 409 runs at an average of 58.42 and Brad Wadlan 277 runs at 55.40. Matt Robins hit 286 runs and Scott Harvey 248 runs. Professional Greg Smith played two games and in two innings made 183 runs for once out. Centuries were hit by Tom Rowe (188), Wadlan (128no & 101) and Greg Smith (127no). Rowe’s 188 was the fifth highest individual score in Cornwall’s history. Andrew Libby was again the leading wicket taker with 25 wickets at 21.88 each. Tom Dinnis took 15 wickets at 27.66 and Greg Smith 14 wickets at 10.35. Libby’s career best 7-17 against Wales were the best figures of the season and he took 11 for 69 in the match. Robins recorded a career best 4-18.
A total of 20 players played in the championship with debuts by Tom Dinnis, Mark Gribble, Adrian Noott, Lewis Goldsworthy, Nick Lawson, Alex Bone, and Gareth May. Daniel Lello and Tommy Sturgess made one-day debuts. Two players, Tom Rowe and Greg Smith, were capped.
In his financial report Treasurer Keith Hore reported a surplus of £1,791 on the year. On the income side sponsorship had decreased by £3,000 but ECB/MCCA grants were slightly higher. Match Expenses had increased by £1,200 but had been offset by a reduction in professionals fees and also no development games were played. He thanked former sponsors Conway Bailey Transport. The accountants Lang Bennetts were also thanked for their long and continued support, which is greatly appreciated.
The Chairman presented the Arthur Lugg Cup, for outstanding services, to club scorer Jim O’Brien and the Donald Cocks Cup for fielding to Scott Harvey. The Canynge Caple Cup, for the outstanding player, was won by Tom Rowe. The Caerhays Cup, for the highest partnership of the season, was won by Greg Smith and Matt Robins for their stand of 190 against Shropshire. The Canynge Caple Colts Cup was won by Lewis Goldsworthy and the Ron Tither Memorial Cup for Under 21 bowling was won by Tom Dinnis.
Elections: President – EG Willcock; Chairman – JM Williams, FRICS, DL; Hon. Secretary – Mrs Anita George MBE, JP; Hon Treasurer – RK Hore JP; Captain – MH Rowe; Team Sec / Manager – GR Furse; Over 50’s Representative – T Lee. Women’s County Manager – S Nicholls. General Committee: L Bond, P George, NTP George, CA Hunkin, JP Kent, W Manuell, RVG Sharp, TG Sharp, TM Thomas, MA Weeks. Scorer – JE O’Brien, D/L Manager – DG Eggins.
There is a new format as the Unicorns KO reverts to a straight knock competition. Cornwall are away to Dorset at North Perrott on Sunday 29 April.
There are four group days in a new T20 competition against Devon, Wales, Dorset and Wiltshire with the winners going forward to a finals day on August Bank Holiday Sunday. Two matches will be played against the same opponent on each match day.
The usual six games in the three day Championship begins later than normal, at the end of June, with the final game being played in early September. The final is planned for mid September.
Pre Season Matches
Sat 14 April Somerset II’s (50 overs) at Taunton Vale
Sun 15 April University of Bristol (2 x T20) at Coombe Dingle
Unicorns Counties KO Competition
Sun 29 April Dorset at North Perrott (11am)
Sun 20 May Round 2 Winners v Berkshire at Oratory School, Woodcote
Sun 10 June Quarter Finals
Sun 1 July Semi-Finals
Wed 29 Aug Final (Res Thur 30) at Wormsley
Unicorns Counties T20 Competition
Start times tbc – first game no earlier than 11am or later than 12.30pm.
15 minute interval between innings and a 45 minute interval between games.
Sun 6 May Devon (2 xT20 games) at Truro
Mon 7 May Wales MC (2 xT20 games) at Newport
Sun 3 June Dorset (2 xT20 games) at St Austell
Sun 17 June Wiltshire (2 x T20 games) at Calne
Sun 26 Aug T20 Finals Day (Res Mon 27) at Wormsley
Unicorns Counties Championship (Western Section) (11am unless stated)
Sun 24 – Tue 26 June Herefordshire at Colwall
Sun 8 – Tue 10 July Devon at Werrington
Sun 22 – Tue 24 July Wiltshire at St Austell
Sun 5 – Tue 7 Aug Cheshire at Truro
Sun 19 – Tue 21 Aug Oxfordshire at Banbury
Sun 2 – Tue 4 Sept Wales MC at Usk (10.30am)
Sun 16 – Wed 19 Sept Championship Final at Banbury (10.30am)