Friendly is a good word
So being a captain of a cricket club is all striped ties and after dinner speaking? Sadly at the friendly end of things that I play in it is far from that. I set up QUAD XI CC back in 2011 with the main aim of giving myself and others like me (i.e. given up playing, never played, not very good or simply not enough time to play every week) the opportunity to play the great game of cricket against likeminded teams in brilliant locations. The name comes from my place of work, QUAD, a centre for art, film and digital media in the centre of Derby.
QUAD is very proud to be the only arts centre in the country with a resident cricket team. Obviously the first job I had was to create the name, brand, motto and club colours.
Recruitment was managed via a mixture of cajoling friends and colleagues to take part, heavy use of social media targeting anyone that mentioned cricket in our local area and through discussions with some of the friendly local clubs who had players who wanted the occasional game.
My vice captains (of which there are around five) are incredibly important as they are the ones with experience of league cricket and most importantly field placing’s and all of the rules!
On the day of the game my key roles are – picking heads or tails and shouting lots of encouragement and the occasional taunt of our own players. The vice captains along with the more confident bowlers set the fields and that enables me to be free to perform (at best) erratically.
We have a core mission to be ‘the friendliest cricket club in the world’ a simple yet difficult status but ultimately the key thing we judge ourselves on, not individual or team performances. This manifests itself in us being welcoming to any newcomers regardless of ability, fitness or experience and we value a chirpy disposition much higher than the correctness of their forward defensive.
It is also apparent in the teams we play and the way we play the games, our golden rule is that ‘we only sledge our own players’ simple but very effective in building on field camaraderie and making the day enjoyable for everyone. That is not to say we don’t want to win and when we do (29.82% of the time for those that are interested!) we celebrate it like we have just won the world cup final.
Another advantage of being a relatively new team with relatively low expectations is that frequently we set records and this gives our players the chance to celebrate personal and club milestones frequently. I am passionate about the game of cricket but also recognise it is not for everyone and we need to do more to make the game accessible at all levels. We may play only a tiny part in the global game but it is clear that the more people playing, talking and celebrating the game of cricket regardless of age, gender or ethnicity is essential. In our small way we feel like we are playing a part and that is ultimately why we do what we do – we love cricket and we want to help others love the game too.
Captain, QUAD XI CC