Dom George returns to captaincy as McBurnie steps down

Dom George has returned to the captaincy of Midi Cricket Club following the resignation
of John McBurnie who felt it would be unfair on the team to continue in the role given
his limited availability for matches and family commitments this season.

In accepting his resignation at its meeting on 22 February, the Midi CC Bureau thanked
him for his efforts last season and hoped he would continue to play a role within the
club.

George stepped down as captain in July 2011, having been a driving force in the club
for five years and now, after putting together a new practice programme for the coming
season, is looking forward to overseeing improved performances on the field of play.
Club Secretary Alex Lalljee steps in as Vice Captain with the situation to be reviewed at
the end of the season.

George, a major contributor with both bat and ball, is keen that the team put the
disappointing results in 2012 behind them and is looking forward to a repeat of last
season’s victory in its first match – an annual friendly at home on Saturday 30 March
against UK visitors, the No Hope XI.

The dramatic five-run victory did not however prove to be the hoped-for platform for a
successful campaign in 2012 and Midi suffered defeats in all Midi-Pyrénées Division
league and cup matches and only one more win in half a dozen friendlies.

With a number of experienced players again available for this season, and with the
blooding of a number of the Club’s French juniors in senior matches last year, George is
confident that the new practice regime will yield dividends.

“We are aware that practices have not been particularly well organised or effective over
the past few years and if the club wants to develop on the playing front we need to
make sure that we are not wasting everyone’s time,” Club Secretary Alex Lalljee said.

The first of weekly Sunday practice sessions is planned for 10am on Sunday 17 March
at the St Pons ground, and will be followed by a welcome BBQ at which all family and
club members will be welcome (please let Dom George know your attendance at the
BBQ dom.george1968@gmail.com). Cost will be €5 pp for a burger and salad. Wine and
beer are also available.

Under the new practice programme, a second set of nets will be provided against the
ground fencing as well as the normal nets (which will be lengthened to allow the
wicketkeeper to stand for all bowlers and the new bowling machine).

Two nets will provide more in-depth work, particularly with the bowlers who will be able
to work intensively on line and length without always having a batsman in front of
them. The more targeted training, the more the team should improve.

Practices will start with a proper warm-up and fielding practice for everyone and before
this, from around 9.30am, players can take turns coming early and having an intensive
batting session with the bowling machine. This applies to all players, experienced or
not.

Dom George will organise the sessions, ably assisted at various times throughout the
season by Dave Mickelborough and Paul Rogers.

With George back at the helm this season, he can call on McBurnie, Rogers, Allison and
last season’s enthusiastic recruit Patrick Dubois to join him as the main bowling strike
force. He also has Ken Miller, Dave Mickelborough and Alex Lalljee in reserve.

In addition, George has the club’s inspirational Frenchman David Amoros behind the
stumps, a revelation last season after taking over from departed wicketkeeper Steve
Field. Amoros’ contribution in promoting French involvement in the strange English
game was recognised by regional cricket sponsor Siddalls with ‘Best/most improved
player of French nationality for 2012’.

George, a prolific run-scorer, also has an experienced batting line-up with runs
expected from an ever-improving Alex Lalljee, Rogers, Allison, McBurnie, Dubois and a
slimmed-down President Marc Dalling.

Midi’s eighth season will see four clubs battling it out in Pool D of the Midi-Pyrenees
Division while, after the summer break, a season high point will be the clubs festival of
cricket week from 24 September till 1 October, a first for the region, which is likely to
involve three touring teams from the UK.

Fixtures

As a reflection of the current health of the club, McBurnie provided the AGM with a
provisional fixture list, with 12 matches already confirmed (now posted on website).
McBurnie also announced the club’s first cricket festival, a week of cricket in late
September which could involve three visiting teams.

McBurnie said the festival, a first for the region, would provide the club with a good
opportunity to raise its profile through media coverage. One of the club sponsors,
Beziers Airport, would be involved in the promotion of the event.

The season will open, as in the two previous years, with a friendly match against our
UK visitors, the No Hope XI, scheduled for Saturday 30 March. The opening league
fixture will be played on Sunday 21 April away to Toulouse Cricket Club.

Finance

Treasurer David Amoros presented a healthy set of accounts boosted by fund raising
from the President’s Day, the beer and sauerkraut evening in Montblanc and the regular
fortnightly bars run by David Cole and Joy Powell.

However, increased transport and equipment costs, particularly the purchase of the
bowling machine, prompted the AGM to raise the membership fees this season to 60
Euros, the first increase in six years. The juniors fee was set at 20 Euros while social
membership remains at 10 Euros. The club has now activated an online membership
form on its website to make joining and payment easier.

The AGM also heard that the club’s official practice sessions will start on Sunday 17
March at 10am ahead of the first match a fortnight later. During the close season,
former Captain Dom George has been spearheading the development of a practice
programme aimed at making better use of the improved facilities, including the new
bowling machine and additional practice pitches.

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