INCHMORE ROLLS BACK THE YEARS AS NOVEMBER GUEST SPEAKER

John Inchmore rolled back the years when he appeared as Worcestershire Cricket Society's guest speaker at November's monthly meeting of WCS members and cricket followers in the Graeme Hick Pavilion.

The former Worcestershire paceman, who took more than 500 first class wickets for the County, earned rapturous applause after an entertaining two hours.

Nearly 100 cricket enthusiasts turned out to hear anecdotes spanning all facets of John's life and career, many of which were laced with humour.

The Reverend Mike Vockins revisited the role of asking the questions of John which he undertook for many years with the WCS before his retirement as the county's long-serving secretary-chief executive in 2001.

Beforehand he asked the packed audience to "enjoy" the evening in tribute to Worcestershire legend Tom Graveney who had sadly passed away the previous week.

Judging by the positive reaction at the end of the evening, an enjoyable time was had by everyone present.

Ashington born John – the same birthplace as the Charlton brothers, Steve Harmison and Mark Wood – recalled the very first game of his career for Worcestershire in 1973.

He dismissed county colleague Glenn Turner playing for New Zealand to claim his maiden first class wicket but only after he had scored 143.

John also remembered his very last appearance against Derbyshire, in the John Player League in 1986 when he was dismissed by former Worcestershire paceman Allan Warner at New Road to deny him the double of 100 wickets and 1,000 runs in the competition.

The 66-year-old provided many entertaining and amusing anecdotes from his lengthy career including when he nearly forced Eric Clapton to cancel a mega bucks tour of Japan after injurying the thumb of the guitarist during a charity match.

He played semi-pro football for Oldbury United and Alvechurch and Minor Counties cricket for Northumberland and Birmingham League cricket for Stourbridge before joining Worcestershire after having trials at New Road and Warwickshire.

John, one of the members of the 1974 Championship winning side, recalled some of his prized scalps including Viv Richards who returned to New Road to play for Ombersley Post Office in a six-a-side tournament during his benefit year, and his only century against Essex as nightwatchman.

He enjoyed playing in an era when the best players in the world played full seasons of county cricket and returned to the same clubs for many years.

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BEST WISHES TO TOM FELL

The WCS would like to extend its best wishes to Worcestershire batsman Tom Fell who has undergone surgery after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Tom was one of our guest speakers last winter along with Tom Kohler-Cadmore and gave a fascinating insight into the life of a young professional cricketer.

We all wish him well during his recovery period with Tom opting for regular check-ups rather than chemotherapy.

The good news is that Tom was able to fly out to Australia yesterday this week to play grade cricket for Mount Lawley for the next three months.

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DATES FINALISED FOR PRE-SEASON MANCHESTER TRIP

WCS committee member Mike Hitchings has been working dilligently on an itinerary for the Society's proposed two-day trip to Manchester shortly before the start of next season and is happy to report that the dates have now been finalised.

The trip will take place on Tuesday April 5 and Wednesday April 6.

Mike has worked out a provisional package which will cost members £95 based on 40 people undertaking the trip – including overnight accommodation in a Manchester hotel – and £90 for 50 people.

More concrete details will be announced shortly but here is a work in process proposal from Mike for the trip.

DAY ONE

Leave New Road 9-9.30am

Lunch at Salford Quays 12.30pm

Afternoon TBC

Go to Hotel, Evening Meal at Hotel.

DAY TWO

Breakfast at Hotel Tour of Old Trafford Cricket Ground 10pm (approx one and a half hours)

There are then two options at 12 noon 1) A stadium tour of Manchester United's Old Trafford ground 2) A visit to Manchester City Centre for shopping, museum visits etc

Leave Manchester at 3pm Travel home via the 'scenic' route as opposed to the M6 via the Peak District

Arrive back at New Road approximately 6-7pm

We will be asking members to make their interest known in such a trip at the Society's next meeting to give Mike an early indication of the numbers he is working with.

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WINTER PROGRAMME IN 2016 RESUMES WITH PROMOTION HERO JACK SHANTRY

Jack Shantry will be the first guest speaker of the WCS in the New Year on January 12 in the Hick Pavilion.

Jack, a devout follower of Bristol City FC, capped another fine season by winning the prestigious Dick Lygon Award at Worcestershire's Gala Evening-Awards Night.

He enjoyed another successful summer with the ball, finishing as Worcestershire's leading wicket-taker in first class cricket with 67 victims, including 57 in the LV = County Championship.

But it was his achievements in September 2014 that saw Jack go down in the County's folklore with a century batting at number nine and 10 wickets in the promotion clinching win over Surrey at New Road.

Jack helped rescue Worcestershire from a lost looking cause to seal victory before heading off to play grade cricket for Greenvale Kangaroos Down Under last winter.

No doubt Jack will be recalling that memorable match and many other facets of his career.

On February 9 it will be turn of cricket writer, historian and statistician Peter Wynne-Thomas to entertain the Society. Peter has been the librarian and archivist at Trent Bridge for Nottinghamshire CCC for many years.

The winter programme for 2015-2016 will conclude on March 8 with Worcestershire Heritage Group Chairman and current Worcestershire Board member Tim Jones.

Tim will be reflecting on his new book about the life and career of former Worcestershire captain and the County's record run-scorer in first class cricket, Don Kenyon entitled 'Don Kenyon – His Own Man.'

A reminder that non WCS members are always welcome to attend at a charge of £3 per evening.

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PLANS FOR 2016-2017 WINTER PROGRAMME ALREADY UNDERWAY

Plans are already well underway in lining up the list of WCS speakers for the winter of 2016-2017.

WCS Secretary Ann Mullen reports that four of the WCS winter slots between October and March have already been filled.

Ann said: "We are making good progress with the line-up for next winter and, as always, we are trying to put together an interesting and varied programme.

"We have already had commitments for four of the six slots and, with one evening each year normally reserved for one of the current Worcestershire players, it means most of the programme is completed for 2016-2017"

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THE COUNCIL OF CRICKET SOCIETIES

The Council Of Cricket Societies recently held their half yearly meeting in Derby and our society was represented by Ann Mullen and Mike Hitchings.

There are more than 20 cricket societies situated around the country and most of them were represented at the meeting with all of them giving a presentation on their respective societies.

The WCS has about 110 members and the average membership around the societies is between 100 – 150.

There are some small societies such as East Riding with about 50 members while Gloucestershire have societies in Cheltenham ( 220 members ) and Gloucester ( 100 ) while Sussex have a very impressive 350 members.

The London cricket society has 1750 members which covers Middlesex and Surrey and other cricket lovers who live in London.

Most society memberships are similar to ours at £15 single and £20 joint membership with a £3 charge for guests.

The most expensive is Cheltenham who charge £22 single and £38 joint for new members and a lot of societies charge £5 for guests.

We are fortunate to be able to stage our meetings free of charge thanks to the generosity of Worcs CCC.

In contrast a lot of societies have to pay to hire rooms with the London society having to pay £350 per meeting

Most societies stage monthly meetings between October and April and an AGM and all societies reported how important their raffles are in order to keep membership costs down.

A recurring theme from delegates was how they struggle to attract members and also persuadng people to help by being on committees.

Sadly a couple of societies reported that they may have to close down due to losing members and having no one prepared to be on their committees.

Fortunately we do not have that problem and gained several new members towards the end of last season and we have a keen enthusiatsic committee.

The meeting was a great chance to hear about other societies guest speakers and we have compiled a list for future use of speakers who come highly recommended.

A lot of societies produce newsletters, some very basic and others very comprhensive, and most societies have some mention on county web sites with Hampshire and Leicestershire having excellent web sites of their own.