Sunday, 23 February 2014

A new season, a new start.

There's some exciting developments at Stafford CC. After struggling to put out four full teams a couple of years ago we've now found ourselves with probably enough players to field a fifth team, and yours truly has been invited to lead this new experiment as captain. It's a very interesting new challenge for me, but it will be a massive task to keep a team together when we're short of players, especially given there's now four other teams with first pick, each capable of kiboshing my plans as drop-outs work their way down through the teams.

There's a short but very good piece on the Pitchvision website about the six important roles a club captain has to perform. It lists these as Selector, Tactician, Motivator, Rudder, Coach and Player. It's just about the best summary I've found anywhere, but in those six words lies a whole host of challenges and countless opportunities to screw up big time. I've only captained four matches so far, and they've been a bit hit-and-miss, but the big difference is this season I won't be a mere stand-in, it's MY team, and I can develop relationships and give people clear roles and forge a strong team identity. My opportunity here is much greater than it would be had I taken over the Fourths, as with a new team there's no "well this is the way our old skipper did things" to get in the way. Wish me luck, because I'm really going to need it...

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I popped in at the club on Saturday and a few of the regulars were in. I had a chance to have a good chat with Chigsy (still 4th team captain) and Gaz (team secretary) and it's left me with lots of things to think about. Gaz explained the way teams are selected, which is a fairly simple but fraught process of each captain in turn picking his team from those available. One thing I didn't know was that when players are dropped from one team then if available they are automatically played in the team below. It seems obvious but it doesn't necessarily follow for this to happen, and this is a new headache for me because it means I may be landed with players I feel give off the wrong vibe to the team. Oh well, I'll just have to step up my man-management game in that event, and to get eleven players in the first place each week will be quite a formidable challenge in itself.

I ended up talking to Chigsy for quite a while, exploring how things were likely to work between us and also comparing notes on how we thought things went last year and how the changes in the club would affect the Fourths. It's going to be really important we're both on the same page this year, probably more so for me than for him, partly so we're not arguing about selections but mainly because we're now solely responsible for the Club's second pitch and we might occasionally need to band together if we need something from the committee. Chigsy seemed to have decided (like me) that as captain he'd be best placed fielding next to the bowler, but while I definitely intend to do this myself I said to Chiggs he should stay at slip, because he's always been an excellent close catcher and he'd be hard-pushed to find a better replacement. That's up to him but I thought it was a valid point that he ought to consider.

To be honest, chatting with Chigsy and Gaz it was clear I hadn't fully appreciated everything that was going on behind the scenes last year, and I did take care to start the conversation off with a self-deprecating joke - "Well Chiggs, seems they've decided I'm so damned difficult to captain they've created a whole new team so I have to captain myself..." Anyway, the main thing is we're on good terms still and he seemed receptive to what I had to say. He seemed to accept my suggestion that I'd ideally like to hang on to my vice-captain without having to worry about him being called up to the Fourths, so that's a helpful start.

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So, our fixtures are out and our season starts on April 19th, the day after my birthday in fact, playing at home against our own Fourth team. I may have said on here once or twice that from the way I've seen them bat I always wished I could just for once have a crack bowling against our own Fourths, so now that my fantasy's become a reality I suppose I'd better make sure I take a few scalps. One can only dream we might be able to pull off a coup...

1 comment:

Dave Thompson said...

You and me both mate! I'm waiting to hear if I get voted in this Thursday, but it does sound as though it's a foregone conclusion and I will be the captain of the team facing almost identical issues as you. I'll have to keep checking your blog to see how you get on and what ideas you come up with.

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