Message from our New Club President – James Sadler

It is with much pride that I write to you for the first time since becoming President of this great Club. I am immensely grateful to my predecessor, Steve Calder-Smith, and the Presidents before him Neil Trestrail, John Pleasants and Ray Greatorex.  The hard work and dedication it has taken to make Wisborough Green Cricket Club inclusive, financially stable, with a thriving juniors section, and a great place to play senior cricket will be a hard act to follow.

Wisborough Green Cricket Club is an extraordinary place: unique and idyllic in its location, a marvellous place to play cricket with a social scene that can be vibrant and buzzing. Steve mentions the history of cricket at Wisborough and cricket being played on the green for 300 years. That is both amazing and historical and creates a wonderful cricketing tradition on the village Green.

A bit about my love for cricket:
I started my love for cricket playing at Horsham in the juniors under the guidance of Horsham’s then President Dr John Dew. These were great times and our under 16 team including myself, Howard Kasey, Terry Farley and John Page, were known as Horsham’s ‘golden generation’. When I was in my early 20’s, I was playing for Horsham against Middleton where I met my now wife Sam whose father was playing for Middleton. Part of the ‘wedding contract’ was that I had to play for Middleton, a club I now hold close to my heart. I loved the competitiveness of the Div 1, (now premier league) and when the time was right I captained the 1st Team for 4 years.

English test cricket was struggling and for some strange reason the ECB insisted the league structure then changed and the game became an 11am start. With a young family and working in London I struggled to balance the two so in the early 2000’s I stopped playing competitive league cricket for a number of years. During this time I qualified as a playing member of the MCC and enjoyed MCC cricket around the Country.

My Introduction to Wisborough:
Around 2010 Tim McMath introduced me to Wisborough Green and at the pre season social at the 3 Crowns Kenny Vickery gave me a traditional Big hug welcome and I was sold on the club.
Since that day I have been Captain of the 1st X1 and 2nd X1 for a number of years and taken on the role as Head of Senior Cricket. During this time we had some great success on the pitch with the 1st X1 moving up a couple of leagues from the Invitation league to the County League. A lot of this success was down to the great players we had in the teams, Ben Thatcher, Justin Grant, Jonny Farmer, Martin Hopkins, Tim Dodd, Tim McMath, Ed Bowes, Tim Monday, Steve Calder-Smith and James Newman to name a few. Now there are many new players at Wisborough who I am keen to meet and hopefully watch how they perform on a Saturday afternoon.

Culture and Spirit of Wisborough Green:
Every club has to find its identity, and our mantra was to practice often, play really hard cricket giving as little away as possible, but always to respect the opposition on and off the pitch and to celebrate well! From what I understand this is continuing at Wisborough today. There is nothing I (and I am sure most of you) enjoy more than winning a cricket match. The tension, the excitement, the personal achievements; pitting your skills and strategy against the opposition……then the elation of winning a cricket match that goes to the wire is second to none. It is usually a great team spirit that wins those close matches and this is usually achieved through practice and the camaraderie of belonging to a club. If you don’t practice (at any sport) you rarely deserve to win.

As a father of 4 daughters it is great to see a thriving women’s section at Wisborough. Well done to Sarah, Bex, and all of the ladies team. I wish women’s cricket had started earlier as to encourage my daughters to play. I haven’t given up hope of my girls playing, but more likely my 4 grandchildren may have to be my focus for the next generation of Sadler Cricketers. I am hoping to attend Friday Juniors with my 5 year old granddaughter Margaux and see how the Junior sections have flourished over the last few years.

At Wisborough you are very lucky to have an amazingly efficient committee and Chair, something I hope is never taken for granted. Tarni is a brilliant Club man and along with the committee, who do so much for you as members; I will obviously do all I can to support them.  

One of my tasks is to name a few new Vice Presidents. The role of Vice President is purely a position of honour, and a reward for people who have supported the club over the years. This support is usually through being a Captain, Vice Captain, scorer, groundsman or a great general supporter of the Club.  I aim to build the ‘Vice Presidents and Life members Club’ into a fun, supportive Group who will continue to be part of Wisborough Green Cricket Club. One of my first tasks is to host a Vice President’s and Life Members BBQ on May 11th on the Green. 

It therefore gives me great pleasure to announce the following new Vice Presidents for 2024:

Ben Thatcher
Tom Jenkins
David Vallis
Sarah Meurer
Andy Spiers
Byron Napper
Ed Bowes
Matt Bowes
Chris Francis
John Francis
Jenny Jones
Bex Samuelson

These people will be awarded a new Club Vice Presidents tie or a brooch (for the women) to distinguish them as Vice Presidents. Hopefully they will be worn on the Vice Presidents lunch, Presidents Day and the Club Dinner. In addition we have created a Presidents’ and Life members’ tie. This will be awarded to the current and previous Presidents and Life members of the Club.

Support from family is very important in any sport and especially cricket as it is a big commitment on a Saturday and I would like to thank my lovely wife Sam for all of her patience and kindness in supporting my love of cricket for the last 38 years. With families in mind, I would like to make President’s Day, on Sunday 23rd June, a great family party day with a lovely lunch, and a competitive cricket match and lots of families enjoying the hospitality. The Teams playing on President’s Day will be made up of current and previous Wisborough players and I have asked Sarah if she can invite 4 women members 2 per team to play on the Chairman’s and President’s Team.  For this Day, all members, Junior coaches, Vice Presidents, Life members, players and families are very welcome. We may ask you to bring a dish for lunch or tea but that will be coordinated by the New Vice President Jenny Jones.

Cricket during 2024:
Firstly, it is great to hear there has been such a good turnout to indoor winter nets. Outdoor nets and practice on the edge of the square is key to the start of the season, with catching practice being just as important. I really look forward to watching a few matches on the Green  – and look forward to meeting new members and reconnecting with old ones.

Have a great season – play hard – but win, lose or draw, always be gracious and be proud to wear a Wisborough Green shirt!

Best Wishes:

James Sadler
President Wisborough Green Cricket Club