Cricket goes from strength to strength at Goodwood

Goodwood - an idyllic setting for cricket
Goodwood - an idyllic setting for cricket

Goodwood Cricket Club held their annual meeting in the Lennox Room at the Goodwood Hotel.

The meeting started with a vote of thanks to the Duke of Richmond and his staff led by Adam Waterworth (Goodwood managing director of sport) and Phil Helm (general manager, sports turf) for their support and help in developing cricket at Goodwood during the 2018 season.

Chairman Richard Geffen, captain James Mayne and treasurer John Clifton reported on an excellent season on and off the field. Goodwood won 67 per cent of their matches with significant performances coming from:

* Matthew Bennison, winner of the Arthur Miles Batting award with an average of 63.13 and the Steve Miles Shield as Clubman of the Year.

* Matthew Geffen, winner of the Jack Miles Bowling award with an average of 5.77.

* Matthew Beard, winner of the Comedy Moment of the Season.

This year sees new fixtures against Petworth and Fernhurst as well as regular fixtures versus London New Zealand, the Royal Household, Sussex Martlets and 20 other clubs.

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Geffen said: “The Goodwood and Chichester alliance continues to work well and develop. The wonderful Sussex v Duke of Richmond’s XI match in Priory Park last September and the ECB Women’s softball tournament at Goodwood, enjoyed by 82 women, and the 200-plus adults and juniors who played for the Goodwood and Chichester last year underlines the continued enthusiasm for cricket in and around Chichester.”

He added: “One of the highlights of the 2019 season will, I am sure, be a repeat of the ECB women’s softball tournament on Sunday, July 21, which will be followed in the afternoon with the Sussex women’s team playing Goodwood. They will also be present in the morning to support the tournament.”

Last autumn saw another stage in the development of cricket at Goodwood with the relaying of the cricket square.

There are no records to suggest that the original cricket square was ever professionally laid. It is far more likely that generations of groundsman have just developed the pitches from the natural South Downs turf, not ideal for cricket; hence its reputation for slow low bounce. Both Goodwood and

Chichester cricketers were delighted that the Duke of Richmond and his senior management gave the go-ahead for the reconstruction of the square last September.

The work was undertaken by AT Bone Sports Solutions. The top 25mm of the surface was taken off and the grass removed; it was then replaced with 50mm of Boughton Country Loam. The central pitch was cut out to 50mm and replaced with 100mm of loam.

The estate and both cricket clubs are very grateful to Andy Mackay (Sussex head groundsman) for advising on the best way forward and drawing up the specification for the work. The seed has taken and a thick new squad of grass now covers the 13-pitch square.

The following officials were elected for 2019: Chair Richard Geffen, Vice-Chair Tim Odell, Secretary Henry Whitby, Treasurer John Clifton, Fixture Secretary Steve Miles, Captain James Mayne, Vice-Captain John Heyworth. Tim Pitman continues as Welfare Officer.

Goodwood will be holding nets at Westbourne House School on Tuesday, April 2 and Tuesday 9 from 6pm to 7.45pm and welcome any new players wishing to play Sunday cricket.

Please contact James Mayne on james@marchwoodifa.co.uk if you are interested in playing for Goodwood or see www.goodwood.play-cricket.com – and all are welcome at the club’s annual NatWest work afternoon on Saturday, March 30, from 2pm.