The 2013 season brings with it high hopes on and off the field as we look to continue to remain the premier cricket club in north Hampshire. On the field we look to build on a steady performance in 2012, which could have been so much better without a stuttering final month in the 1st XI, and a bit more luck in the 2’s.

This year we see a number of new faces at the club, including new overseas player Trent Keep, Tasmanian U19 player and highly recommended by James Reagan, who unfortunately leaves us to try and force his way into the Somerset reckoning. We have also built on our strong army links, bringing in Morlon Simon and Ravie Gilbert (both British Army), as well as welcoming Tim Smith from the RAF. Troy and the team work wonders trying to make us a success on the pitch, we have some unbelievable talent at the club; maybe this could be our year again?

It’s great that given our location we can have such strong links with the forces, something we can build on in the future, especially as this year, the highlight of our cricket festival in June will be a 20/20 game against the Army on Friday 14th June. We hope this will become a regular event and hope that we can see all club members come along and support the first team, there will be lots going on both during that game and in the week. It’s our first attempt at a cricket festival, certainly in my time at the Club, so let’s make it a success and a staple of our future. The cricket festival is just one of many events Duncan Redhead is putting together for us during the year, details of which can be found within our Handbook.

Paul Lynch and his team of coaches continue to build our colts and ladies sections, who following a successful 2012, look to have more success in 2013. Paul is ensuring we have a lot of community focus in 2013, through our “Chance to Shine” work, and we look forward to welcoming England Women’s captain Charlotte Edwards again to the club. Our colts section is large, let’s hope the future Cove captain’s, fast bowlers and number 3’s are round the corner when the current crop hangs up their boots.

Which coincidently brings me onto another playing “innovation” during 2013, the inclusion within our fixture list of a couple of Veterans matches, which will hopefully encourage those recently retired (or not so recently) to don their whites again, and bring the senior element of our Club down to provide support.

Our ground continues to be the envy of most clubs who visit us, and the playing surfaces provided under the expert guidance and hard work of Nick Randall, together with a lush, green outfield continue to impress the Leagues within which we compete, as evidenced by improved marks year on year. You will also hopefully have noted the continued clearance of the copse, and the installation of a new chain-link fence around the perimeter, the results of the considerable effort of a few hardy playing members during the winter months.

Finally this year, the new Executive Committee look to build our reputation, build our potential for income generation and generally grow commercially with our current sponsors (Barclays and Currylicious) and new sponsors. We are putting together a new sponsorship pack, which all members, Vice-Presidents and Life Members can take and use to sell the club to businesses, both big and small. We will also have the opportunity for both individual player and match sponsorship. If you are interested, then please contact a member of the Executive Committee.

We are also working hard on our new website, which will be maintained regularly, and we are very strong at social media, our twitter account currently has almost 900 followers and growing!! These are strong messages to put to any local business. Thanks go to Stuart Heron for his work on the website and Kevin North and Will Fearnley-Whittingstall for their work in this area.

It’s a new Executive Committee, working hard for the club, please talk to us. Jeff Smith kindly volunteered to support me in this role as Vice-Chairman, and Marie Taylor has been great as Secretary. I was also very pleased that Ali Anthony agreed to look after membership for me, as that position went unfilled at the AGM.

This year we have a lot to be positive about. It will be tough, but hopefully we can make 2013 a great success.