Chairman's Pre-Season Statement for 2022

After a winter that saw the England test side comprehensively beaten by the Australians in the Ashes and also lose a three match series in the Caribbean against the West Indies, our thoughts are turning towards our own SCCL programme, where we hope that all COVID related problems are a thing of the past.

Equality, Discrimination and Inclusion

Perhaps, the biggest issue in English cricket, over the winter was the enquiry and subsequent fall out of the Azeem Rafiq accusations of racism and bullying, by his team mates and some managers, during his time as a Yorkshire player. The accusations made were shocking and disgusted all right minded people in our country. This was not just discussed within the cricketing fraternity but within Parliament and was headline news across all media outlets.

We are all, I’m sure, aware of the outcome of these accusations and the subsequent fall out within First Class cricket, mainly but not entirely, at Yorkshire. I was shocked at some of the individuals named in these accusations and it was clear that the ECB would need to take action to “clean up” this type of behaviour.

The ECB decided that training in Equality, Discrimination and Inclusion (EDI) would need to be given to all clubs, and indirectly all players, before the beginning of the 2022 season. This training would be delivered by the SCB and it was agreed between the SCB and the SCCL that our captains meetings would be the appropriate forum for the training. These meetings were held at Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Shifnal and the training was delivered by Sacha and Jo from the SCB.

A number of issues were identified at these sessions and full discussions took place. It was generally accepted that we as a League need to ensure we are able to deal with any EDI matters, should they arise, urgently. Captains, in the first instance, and also Umpires,( both panel and club), have a big role to play in dealing with and defusing potential EDI situations, always working together in conjunction with the senior players.

In addition the ECB have launched a new Anti-Discrimination Code of Conduct ahead of the 2022 season, which will be mandated for clubs and County Leagues in 2023. So be prepared. A link to that code is provided below.

The Disciplinary Committee will deal severely with reports of any breaches of EDI and Clubs and players can expect serious action if found guilty. The SCCL dealt with a racist incident last season and would have no problem taking the same type of strong action in the future, but I have faith in you all that we won’t have any EDI problems in 2022.

Remember what you consider harmless banter and sledging may be funny to you but to the alleged victim they can be really serious and cause them problems.

Shropshire Cricket has always welcomed players from lots of different ethnicities, while being open to all ages and genders, and it will certainly continue to do so in the future. This season Lara Jones will captain Alberbury first eleven in our Division 1, the first female to captain a major club in our League. Good luck Lara.

League Rules

Last season a few Clubs, having played ineligible players in their senior teams, complained that it was unfair that the other teams in their Clubs would also lose points. In most instances this would effect promotion of these lower sides within the Club. Unprecedentedly the SCCL Committee as a democratic body took the decision to discount the secondary penalties. Those attending the captains meetings will have heard my view on the matter. This year the Executive officers expressed the view that any rules breaches should be treated exactly as laid out in the rulebook that your captains and club have now received, and the Management Committee has endorsed this position. I urge all Captains and club officers to read the rulebook particularly paying attention to the eligibility rules, because ignorance is no defence, and that excuse will not wash. The rules will be enforced as written down in full this year.

Brian Kitson

As you are aware Brian has decided to stand down from his position as SCCL Secretary due to ongoing health issues. I would like to express my thanks to Brian for his dedication and commitment to Shropshire cricket from time immemorial and to show our gratitude for that enormous contribution it was unanimously agreed, at the last Management Meeting, that Brian should be elected as the SCCL President. I am sure that you will all join me in wishing Brian well.

I would like to ask you, if you have any issues you want the League to address, then let us know and we will try and deal with it. If we don’t hear about it we cannot do anything.

To all you players may I wish you the same success as you wish for yourselves during 2022 and remember it is the taking part not the winning that is the main thing. We all want to win but there are more losers than winners, so go out and enjoy.

To all our Umpires, both on the panel and from the clubs I hope you all have trouble free seasons but remember that if there is unacceptable behaviour from any player, reporting the incident is the best action, not ignoring it! If players get away with unacceptable behaviour then you are just making it harder for your colleagues later in the season. Good luck to you all.

Finally, I hope to see as many of you as possible during the season, when I again will be visiting different grounds weekly and I hope that the weather is good to us and that you all go out and enjoy your cricket each week.

Gordon Smith
SCCL Chairman

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