At the Members’ forum, attended by around 140 people, there was a sense of disappointment and a little frustration that the club had ended up without a trophy, and especially that the team fell away from a promising position in the LV=County Championship.
Chris Rogers, the four-day captain, made it clear that he shared the members’ views. He felt that we had a quality squad and excellent management, but it is the players themselves who must take responsibility. Batting is down to individuals and they must stand up and be counted. They have got all the support they need, it is down to them.
When asked if he was frustrated by the lack of progress, Rogers stated that we have improved and progressed, but that we kept making the same mistakes. Players who get the opportunity must take their chances or we may have to look elsewhere. He praised the qualities of batting coach Mark Ramprakash and said he was outstanding and an exceptional person to have around. It was easy to blame fatigue but it was the same for everyone, and the players must be more ruthless.
Richard Scott agreed, but felt that as a sport cricket is not predictable, and sides in the bottom half of the league were fighting for their lives. He said that Rogers felt that the Somerset bowling here at Lord’s was the best he had faced all season.
Rogers said being part of the Ashes was an amazing experience, and felt that the first test in Australia will be crucial. He had also been trying to persuade Sam Robson to play for Australia rather than England!
A member felt that we had come a long way in the past 4 years, and that the step from third to first was the hardest one, though he believed that this squad will win the championship (much applause).
There was a disappointment regarding our Twenty20 performance against Surrey when playing in front of a capacity crowd. Angus Fraser agreed, though he felt that in T20 there was always one or two performances where the game could be over very quickly. Surrey played exceptionally well and everything went to hand. There was a similar situation in our favour during our away match at Essex.
Before leaving, Rogers said that he hoped he would be available for all of next season (there are no Australia test matches at the moment). He was already looking forward to next season – there was so much to like about the club, and he really wants to win the county championship. He left to a standing ovation.
There were some questions regarding new players and Eoin Morgan’s central contract. Fraser stated that until the situation was clear on Morgan’s contract, it was difficult to make those decisions public.
One member was delighted with the reaction of Ollie Rayner seeing his father after his 15 wickets at Surrey. Richard Scott said that we have a super bunch of players who are good friends and great professionals, who have proper family values. Fraser said that we are a family club, from the members down, and that when we play we aim to play hard and win but “in the right way”.
This was demonstrated by how the players conducted themselves at the kit sponsors party after a disappointing day against Somerset.
Other questions included the role of the Executive Board (to run the cricket club as a business but very much a members club), the major and unique challenges faced by finance, our relationship with the MCC being central to that; the Regulations that allow players to be bought in for the last month of the season, the Middlesex Room and the public announcer.
The meeting ended with a member saying how pleasant Radlett was, and Ian Lovett finished by explaining some of the events planned for our 150th Anniversary in 2014.
The meeting closed at 8.40, and was followed by a buffet and a glass of wine.
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