Three new committee members were elected at the Czech Cricket 2015 AGM, which also saw a representative from Czech Republic's second city, Brno, come up to join us and explain their plans for the future.
20 people joined the meeting, held at the Boscolo Hotel in downtown Prague (photo: Dan Casey)
Wojtek Kedzior joins the committee as Treasurer, while teammate Rajh Gnanatheeswaran will take over as the High Performance Director, responsiible for the national team. Vojta Haša will join the committee "without portfolio", offering support wherever necessary.
The meeting opened with Czech Cricket President Karel Ziegler's statement on 2014 and the year ahead. Karel explained that finding practice nets are a priority, with the union researching options carefully. He heralded the Pepsi Cup tournament that was well received, stating that he hopes the tournament will become an annual event in our local calendar.
League Administrator Jonathan Hodgson took the floor and reflected upon his time in the role: "the amount of cricket played in Prague has risen significantly in recent years." He commended the clubs for a greater maturity and a more pleasant atmosphere, which he had received positive feedback on.
In 2015, there will be seven 40-over league games for each team, an increase from five in 2014. There will be a new team in the T20 league, from Chemnitz in Germany, and for the first time ever a Czech league match will take place between two German teams in Germany when Chemnitz play Dresden. We will also see for the first time two 40-over league matches take place on the same day, with the two pitches at Kriket Vinoř now fully operational, a credit to Hugo.
Development Director Chris Pearce spoke about the challenges of getting junior cricket going in a country unfamiliar with the sport. Some progress is starting to be seen, with one schoolkid playing for Vinohrady last year and potentially two more joining teams this year. He emphasised that the main thing everyone can do is to simply spread enthusiasm and joy about our great sport to everyone who asks you about it.
Hugo spoke, firstly to acknowledge the necessary transition phase our finances are undergoing as previous Treasurer Gary has left for Germany. He was pleased to reflect on the improvements that have been made in 2014, and that in spite of the fact that the committee has been losing members (which has been happily rectified at this meeting). Things will take a further step forward this year, with two pitches operational for the full season, as well as two containers at the field for storage and shelter.
Hugo had a word of caution that we can't aim for too much or expand too quickly as we simply don't have enough time: "man-hours is the only thing we lack."
In the round-table discussion, Miša Tavlaridis spoke about the necessity of running effective first-aid courses and having clear useful instructions at the ground, in case of an emergency, as seen by the tragic case of Phil Hughes in Australia in November 2014.
Mark Smart travelled up from Brno for the meeting, and he explained about the club's recent lull from official activities and how he plans to help the club re-emerge. The main news was that they have a decent potential ground, and they are looking for ways to make that a more viable proposition. All clubs showed enthusiasm towards the idea of getting down to Brno for a weekend, as well as Brno possibly participating in this year's T20 league.
The meeting drew to a close, and the participants relocated to a nearby pub to continue informal discussion and plan further successes for 2015!