Exeter CC Development Plan 2015-2020

by Pat Steward

Time for change
Exeter CC is 190 years old. Exeter CC has been at the County Ground, Prince of Wales Road, since 1902. WG Grace played in the first game at the Ground and, since then, the club has remained one of the best in Devon. The Club is proud of its history and, with the redevelopment proposals and new lease, has a long, sustainable future. There has not been a huge amount of physical change at the Ground for more than 100 years. But, with the granting of planning permission on 1st July 2014, the Ground is set to change quite considerably – whilst protecting the playing area. In early 2015, the existing pavilion, net facilities and machine shed will be demolished. In its place new blocks of student accommodation will be built. In return, the Cricket Club secures a new lease (30 years), a new pavilion and a replacement machine shed. This will provide the Cricket Club with a new lease of life. This provides a good opportunity to refresh the Cricket Club’s Sports Development Plan. 
The Cricket Club does not own the Ground. Consequently it is important to work in partnership with the landowners, local residents, the city council, sports organisations (such as DCB) and other sports clubs – especially the Devon & Exeter Squash and Racquets Club, Exeter University and Isca Hockey Club.
In the last 5 years the club has, with support from ECB, laid a new square. The club has a full time groundsman who, along with the support of volunteers, manages and maintains the square and outfield. It is widely recognised as providing one of the best cricket squares and outfields in Devon. The Club has more than 70 senior playing members and 70 junior playing members. It runs three senior Devon league teams, four junior sides, two mid-week sides and a Sunday League side. On average, one hundred and twenty home games are played per season.
The Club is one of the most successful in Devon. It has been in the Premier Division of Devon Cricket League for all but two years since the league was established. In 2012 Exeter CC won club of year award from the Devon Cricket League. In previous years the club has played in the National Cup, bringing us wider recognition.
Exeter CC continues to provide high quality, enjoyable cricket for a large number of players. Our 1st team is in the Devon Premier League and, in 2014, the average age of players was 21. At one point the team’s opening bowlers were 16 and 17 years old. Young players have featured strongly in the team’s success. The 2nd team also plays in the top league, regularly finishing close to the top of the league. The 3rd team has secured promotion for the 4th season running and, in terms of players and ability, is going from strength to strength. The club is proud to have supported inter
In the last few years Club junior players have represented England and Wales at under 18 level, and have represented West of England, Devon and East Devon youth squads. The Club has also provided for international players (such as Chris Rogers, Australia) and 1st Class County Coaches (such as Giles White, Hampshire).
We are well known as being a friendly, welcoming, happy and successful club. We tend to attract lots of new players who want to develop their games; we tend not to lose players to other clubs. We have a good range and number of social members. Those characteristics must not be lost, and must be enhanced, over the next 5 years.
This Development Plan, which covers the foreseeable future, is set out as follows:
What is it we want to do? This Development Plan headlines seven ambitions that the Club wants to achieve over the next 5 years.
Why? Each ambition is accompanied by a brief explanation as to why it is important to the Club.
When? This Plan sets out timescales within which we want to achieve the ambitions.
How? We have set out how, in broad terms, we believe our ambitions can be delivered.
Ambition 1: Successful redevelopment
Why: The Club needs a new lease (30 years), a new pavilion, a new machine shed and new net facilities to secure its future. The majority of those are provided by the construction of student accommodation on a small part of the ground, in place of the existing pavilion, machine shed and nets. The new facilities will attract more players and renewed interest in the club, allowing the club to develop and improve existing partnerships, for example with local schools and University of Exeter.
When: Redevelopment will commence in Spring 2015. The new pavilion and machine shed will be completed by end Summer 2015. The student accommodation will be completed by Spring 2016. New net facilities are required by end April 2015.
How: Working in partnership with the City Council and Yelverton Properties (the developer) the Club has secured full funding (£800,000) for the new pavilion and machine shed. The developer will also provide temporary accommodation for the 2015 cricket season. An Inspired Facilities funding application will be submitted to Sport England for the new net facilities.
Ambition 2: Thriving junior cricket
Why: Exeter is a city in need of new and improved cricket facilities. The club’s junior section is already successful, with 4 teams providing cricket for under 10’s to under 15s, around 70 playing members and 50 young (under 9 years old) on Sunday morning community coaching sessions. These players represent the playing future of the club.
When: The Club will continue to participate in the successful East Devon Youth League. The Club will look to increase the number of participants in junior cricket over the next 5 years. The Club will continue to be the only club in the city offering hard surface training, on allweather surfaces on the square and in nets.
How: Additional coaching will be provided during winter months, starting in Winter 2014, especially for those young players who do not otherwise receive ‘off season’ coaching. Additional coaches will be available for junior coaching sessions from the beginning of Summer 2015, with senior players also getting involved in that coaching.
Ambition 3: Young player progression
Why: The club has a successful junior section. There are 4 junior age group teams, all of which have been successful within East Devon. The older age groups have also been successful in national competitions. The U13s were ECB national champions in 2011. We need to build on that success, to ensure young players are receiving the coaching, amount of cricket and support they need.
When: The Club will, from Winter 2014, ensure young players are ‘eased’ into senior cricket, using mid week, friendly, Sunday league games and Winter 6 a side games. Additional 1:1 or small / specialist (e.g. wicket keepers) group coaching will be provided from Summer 2015.
How: The player pathway, starting from Sunday morning coaching through junior squads and into senior cricket, will be made clear to all players. Junior age group managers will take opportunities to use players from younger age groups in older age group games. The Club will continue to promote young players to the East Devon representative age groups.
Ambition 4: Young player retention
Why: There is, generally, a lack of ‘peer group’ cricket for 16 – 19 year olds and, for a range of different reasons (e.g. other interests, education priorities) the club has tended to lose players between the ages of 15 – 25. These are sometimes high quality players, who are important to the Club’s success.
When: The club has, over the last 4 years, used midweek, friendly, Sunday league games and Winter 6 a side games to develop and retain young players. The club has also been proactive, over the last few seasons, in playing high quality young players in its 1st and 2nd team league games, enabling those players to develop their games. In 2014, the Club deliberately promoted young players to captaincy and vice captaincy roles – to develop young leaders. It will continue to do that for the next 5 years. The club will consider, in Winter 2014, entering the national T20 competition for young players, currently being promoted by the ECB. Over the next two years the club will be even more proactive in providing opportunities for young players to play at a level and in a format that will challenge and interest them.
How: The senior Playing & Selection Committee will positive promote opportunities for young players, in all formats of cricket. The club will continue to support and encourage young players to gain coaching qualifications and use those skills to provide coaching to junior age groups. The Club will continue to promote young leaders and to provide opportunities for national and regional cricketers to play at the highest level.
Ambition 5: Successful senior teams
Why: The Club participates in high quality, high profile senior cricket. However, the Club has not won the Premier league title (at 1st and 2nd team level) for more than 10 years. Similarly the Club has not won the Devon Cup for 5 years.
When: The Club will seek to win the Premier 1s and 2s league titles in the next 5 years. The Club’s 3rd team will continue to secure promotion to the highest possible league, recognising that – at present – two teams from the same club cannot play in the same league. The Club will look to enter the National Cup competition within the next 3 years.
How: The club will support the development of more Level 2, Club and Level 3 coaches. We will continue to support and retain young leaders and young players. We will actively seek a permanent 3rd team ground. The Club will continue to ensure a good relationship with University of Exeter Cricket Club and will renew partnerships with cricket clubs in Western Australia, to encourage quality cricketers to play at Exeter CC.
Ambition 6: An integrated club
Why: There are a number of reasons for this: The Club’s senior and junior sections need to be better integrated. ECC has formed a joint and symbiotic arrangement with Isca Hockey Club and Devon & Exeter Squash Clubs – both are high profile clubs that bring significant kudos and benefits to the City and the County Ground. The Club’s facilities are used extensively by local schools (e.g. Exeter Cathedral School) and local clubs (e.g. Devon Dumplings, The Victorians, Ernst & Young, Westexe and City Council). The Club needs to ensure its relationship with the local community remains strong. All these things will be tested during the redevelopment period (2 -3 years).
When: The club will, during Summer 2015, run a fantasy league involving all junior and senior players. The Club will use the Devon & Exeter Squash club for social purposes during Summer 2015. The club will, from 2016, organise all club social events – one a month. The Club will encourage Isca Hockey Club to use the new pavilion as its base, from end Summer 2015.
How: Greater use will be made of the Club’s web site, to advertise events, promote successes, results etc – across the whole club. The Club will apply for funding and construct new nets before Summer 2015, to ensure Exeter Cathedral School can continue to use all the facilities. Loss of Exeter Cathedral School’s use of the ground would be catastrophic for the Club. The Club will actively promote use of the ground, especially during the redevelopment period, to local clubs. The Club will support community projects, for example loaning equipment to allow the community to maintain local green spaces.
Ambition 7: A profitable business
Why: Completion of a new lease, which requires the Club to pay more than an annual peppercorn rent, and of the new pavilion provides the need / incentive for the Club to become more business- like in its activities. The Club has an opportunity to tap into income streams that have not previously been available and, as such, to ensure that it can continue to invest in sports facilities, coaching, grass roots cricket, equipment etc.
When: The Club secured a record amount of sponsorship, from local businesses, in 2014. Building on that success the Club will, in 2015, seek to secure more and sustainable sponsorship. During the winter of 2014 and summer 2015, the Club will encourage use of the ground by local clubs and sports organisations. In 2016, the Club will seek to secure greater and broader use of the pavilion by local businesses and organisations.
How: The Club will seek to secure more MCC, University and Devon games at the Ground. The Club will attract former players and members back to the club. The Club will consider appointing a pavilion / events manager, possibly working in partnership with other local clubs.

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