A Happy New Year to All
Wonder what 2012 will have in store for us
Well 2011 ended a little differently for the Heaton’s. The junior Heaton’s had originally planned to visit the Land of Oz where two of Pam’s aunties reside. They last visited them five years ago when England led by Andrew Flintoff faired rather badly. The relatives live in the Melbourne area and this enabled both Mr and Mrs Heaton to be present on Day 1 of the Test Match at the MCG. Unfortunately this year just at the time they were getting ready to book the flights they got news of some family problems over in Oz and had to abandon their plans. Philip had booked two weeks of his holidays over the festive period and was looking like he would spend them at home when they uncovered a rather splendid deal which saw them fly off to Barbados to join P & O’s ship, Ventura, for a two week Caribbean cruise. They jetted off on December 17th and I picked them up at Manchester Airport early on New Year’s Eve. This, of course, meant that the senior Heaton’s spent Christmas at home alone. We did have the option of going with the junior Heaton’s but just having paid for a “biggie” cruise in the New Year she who holds the purse strings advised against. We did, actually, have a full family Christmas Day on Saturday December 10th when presents were exchanged and drinks drunk. Whilst the junior side of the family almost missed out on Christmas dinner on the ship, the senior end had a romantic dinner and drinks at home. The reason Philip nearly missed his dinner was they had decided to opt for Anytime Dining on the ship which normally means heading to the dining room “any time” between 6.00 and 9.00. They had not read the daily news properly as they needed to book a table especially for Christmas Dinner. Now as you know the Heaton name in cruising circles is very well known and as soon as the Maitre D’ realised who they were he whisked them off to a table reserved for forgetful people.
We had delayed our presents until Christmas proper and I must say although it cost me an arm and a leg my prezzie for the missus should have gained me incalculable brownie points. The good lady likes doing puzzle books and over the past year when not engaged in that pastime she had taken to playing a silly game on our laptop computer. This was not only silly but also noisy and repeated “ad infinitum” all evening, most evenings. Now granddaughter Sophie has an iPad and introduced the iPad version of Scrabble to the good lady in the couple of months before the Christmas period. This may be the most expensive game of Scrabble anybody has ever bought but I presented the Missus with her own iPad2 for Christmas gaining zillions of additional brownie points, I hope. In return after some serious prompts from me I now have a new bigger and better camera to capture those special moments – like pictures of me for the Blog.
Anyway let‘s look ahead to 2012 in cricketing terms. Prior to the season getting under way at the end of April there is much to do. The next three months are the busiest of all for me as all the arrangements for our county programme have to be finalised. My first task, however, will be to get the Entry Forms for our Inter-School Competitions out to all the secondary schools across the county. We have decided to send these out earlier this year. I, also, need to get my head round potential ways in which we, that is Lancashire Schools, can celebrate our 90th Birthday. The official day is May 22nd but I am hoping we can have a number of occasions over the season when we can gather past players and families together. As soon as we decide what to do I will get the news out over the Blog. Prior to the festive break I did manage to finalise the “Book” complete with selected pictures from the archive. I have converted my Office 10 version into an Adobe Acrobat eBook version and left a copy with Dipesh. We intend to meet fairly soon to look at the options available in terms of publication. Obviously a paper version would need a certain level of investment and the eBook may turn out to be the best option available. This is an area in which neither Dipesh nor myself are expert. The eBook version I have prepared may even need amending. If anybody reading this Blog has expertise in this area and would be willing to advise please will you get in touch. The “Book” is some 220 B5 pages in length with 32 pages of photographs many in colour. Help ???
What are my hopes for 2012. Most of all I would like to see wall to wall sunshine all season. We have had enough rainfall over the past couple of weeks to mean there should be no problems with drought.
In 2011 Lancashire County Cricket Club won the County Championship outright for the first time in 77 years. Could we make it back-to-back wins in 2012. Why not ???
Our Under 14 County boys’ team won the National Championship in 2011 and will be aiming for the Under 15 title this year. I have every confidence they will do just that.
The Under 13 girls were National winners in 2011 but unlike the boys there is no Under 14 competition. Many of the girls will play at Under 15 level and I am sure they will do very well. We would normally see this as a year to gain experience for the title push in 2013. There are some very talented players in the ranks and I would not be surprised to see them make a serious push this season.
I would hope that all our teams at whichever age will look to bring trophies back to Lancashire whether nationally or from the Festivals we travel to.
In personal terms 2011 was a year to remember. I can only hope that 2012 will follow the same path. As the season progresses I am sure I will once again find stress levels reaching peak heights. The expectations are very high indeed but cricket is a game that can test the best at any time.
The age group Squad Coaching Sessions get under way this week and will continue through until April. You may have seen in the Excellence section that the Academy players for 2012 have been named. This enabled Steve Titchard to finalise the Emerging Players grouping and then to determine any movements within the Levels of Excellence system. Can I remind everyone on the Levels Scheme that if Steve has not made contact with you then your “Level” will be the same in 2012 as in 2011.
In looking through materials to decide which pictures to include in my “History of LSCA” I came across a number of files that we had issued to Levels players in the early days of the Scheme. The County Club had helped put together a special front page which I have inserted below. The three players shown are all old boys of LSCA – all of whom went on to play for England with two of them becoming captain.
I am writing this on New Year’s Day evening after a weekend in which three of the four clubs at the top of the Premier League have lost. This has helped me overcome my disappointment at Bury’s defeat at Tranmere on Friday. Tomorrow we play Walsall at Gigg Lane aiming to get back to winning habits.
Off to China Cottage in Rammy now for a New Year’s Day nosh.
I am sure I will find time later for a Tesco Moment. There were plenty of those over the last two weeks.
PS Although I wrote this on New Year’s Day I am just posting it on the Website this Monday January 2nd. I am able to report that China Cottage continued to live up to its excellent reputation and that, yes, I did enjoy some Tesco Moments later as this holiday period comes to an end.