Your new and very capable Chairman, Brigadier Joe Cavanagh DSO’s excellent summary of last year is one with which I fully concur so I will comment more on the future.

BUT before I do, I would like to thank your quite excellent Committee that has undergone a considerable change over the last 12 months. We have said goodbye to three stalwart players:

Past Chairman, Tim Lerwill – I cannot recall one who has played consistently at the level he has at home and abroad and at the same time chaired the Club. We should all be grateful that he volunteered to stay on through dif cult times until a suitable successor offered his services – Joe Cavanagh.

Past Fixture Secretary, Eyre Maunsell – a really challenging role these days when nomadic clubs struggle to maintain worthwhile opponents and venues. Like Tim, he stayed on until Ian Perry kindly volunteered for this critical post.

Finally, a past Co-opted Member, Robert Pollock-Hill – whose positive input off the pitch over a number of years has kept the Committee on their toes with sound and fearless advice whilst at the same time offering more of the same to captains when on the pitch!

These three together with other members and co-opted members of your Commit- tee have continued to keep the Club going through difficult times. It has been and remains a pleasure to work with this band of dedicated, humorous, and talented people who really care about your Club.

Turning to the future, firstly your Committee. There are, arguably, only two groups who are actively involved with the Club: the players and the Committee. There was a time when the senior players morphed into the committee but more recently, there has been a growing gap in age between the two, with the result that a large number of middle-aged members who have stopped playing fade into the background never to be seen or heard of again. Whilst this is understandable given the pressures on nomadic clubs, it is still disappointing and means that as committee members get older, having done two and occasionally three tours of duty, the gap widens between them and the players. There is one group that can – and does – act as a link and that is the Match Managers some of whom no longer play but still take a real interest in the Club. For these reasons I am asking the Chairman to see what can be done to enlist younger people onto the Committee not least to take on a role which can exploit the IT revolution that now links the young in so many ways.

Secondly – touring. We have fallen at the first fence too many times over the last four years in our attempts to tour abroad and if our long term aim is for a centenary tour in India, our birthplace, then we need to have a few short, sharp tours under our belts over the next vear. Your Chairman is already on to this and I have written to HH The Maharajah of Patiala in the hope of rekindling the connection, particularly if he visits the UK over the Indian series later this summer.

Meanwhile my thanks again to both the committee and players and I hope to see more of you in the year ahead.