Grassroots cricket will reap rewards from the new TV deal

SAD LOSS: Suffolk County Cricket Club secretary Toby Pound paid tribute to the late Tony Catley at the AGM
SAD LOSS: Suffolk County Cricket Club secretary Toby Pound paid tribute to the late Tony Catley at the AGM

Grassroots cricket will benefit considerably from the ‘staggering’ new TV agreement, according to Suffolk Cricket Board chairman Nick Shrubshall.

He told the annual meeting of the Suffolk County Cricket Association that the new agreement negotiated by the England & Wales Cricket Board with Sky and the BBC will come into effect in 2020.

Shrubshall, giving his chairman’s report to the meeting at Woolpit Cricket Club, said that the deal will provide more than £1.1 billion over a five-year period.

“This is a staggering figure which will give all counties financial security and the opportunity to plan ahead, with the guarantee of 30 per cent coming to the grassroots game, the same percentage as currently exists,” he said.

Shrubshall said that the All Stars programme for five to eight-year-olds across the counties saw 18 clubs in Suffolk take on the initiative and bring the game to a new audience.

“This will be further developed in 2018 when the aim will be to almost double participation,” he added.

Chance to Shine continues for schools across the county and will be fine-tuned to link in to the All Stars programme, giving a clear pathway for youngsters taking up the game and moving through their early years.

Suffolk County Cricket Club secretary Toby Pound reported that the new Unicorns T20 competition next season will comprise four groups of five counties, with the winners of each group going forward to the finals day at Wormsley in late August. Venues for next season’s fixtures are being finalised and will be announced shortly.

Pound also paid tribute to former committee member Tony Catley, who passed away in May. He said: “I cannot end my report without mentioning the sad loss this year of Tony Catley. Tony was present at the meeting in September 1991 when I was appointed county secretary.

“He was a fantastic servant of Suffolk County Cricket Association and, of course, Exning CC, never afraid to speak his mind or tell you if he disagreed but equally willing to organise a match or a venue or to give you an opinion — a great man who will be hugely missed.”

Catley passed away aged 69. His three sons, Russell, Matthew and Tim, all played for Suffolk.