What might be expected to be the quietest time of year for the club has been buzzing with activity in readiness for next season.
New club captain Tom Collins, who took over from Joe Pipkin in September has enlisted the support of Jeremy Greaves in a new role as first team manager.
Jeremy is a familiar face at the club – he was captain from 2012-2014 before moving to the role of coach, standing down last winter.
They will work closely with club coach Nick French, who has developed a long-term plan to return Guildford to being among the strongest clubs in Surrey again following a difficult 2017.
Dean Skidmore, who was manager of the U15 team which claimed national honours last season, has joined the cricket committee with a brief to smooth the path of players moving from colts to senior cricket.
Jonny Charles will lead the U21s again – having claimed the Wasim Raja Shield last season – and Nathan Tilley succeeds Fred McMillan as captain of the U18s.
Preparations for next season start early in the new year. Players in the first and second team squads start on January 10 (8-9pm) and they will be joined at the Surrey Cricket Centre in Burpham (adjoining George Abbot School) by those bidding for places in the third and fourth teams from February 14.
Everyone is looking forward to moving into the rebuilt pavilion at Woodbridge Road and the new date for completion is mid-December.
Next year marks the 80th anniversary of Surrey’s inaugural County Championship match at Woodbridge Road, Hampshire being the visitors in 1938. The first-class fixtures for next season will be published later this month but given both the landmark and the new pavilion, it will be an opportunity for the club to welcome newcomers to the ground and increase profile. All additions to the wonderful work done by the stalwart band of volunteers will be greatly welcomed.
Nathan Tilley enjoyed early chance to show his continued progress when he hit form on Reed’s School’s tour of South Africa during the October half term.
First he scored an unbeaten 123 against Bridge House in Franschoek and then added 50no from 39 balls in a day-night match against Bishops in Cape Town.
He rounded it off with 64no off 30 balls against Rondebosch to finish with a tour average of 237, which doubtless pleased his bat sponsors Gray Nicholls, who had provided Nathan with new equipment before he left.
It’s been a great year for women’s cricket with England winning the World Cup at a packed Lord’s last summer, inspiring players of all ages to take up the game.
Guildford maintained their place in the WCSL Championship Division after a mixed campaign, the highlights being Elizabeth Jurczenko’s 80 against Tunbridge Wells, two devastating bowling displays from Robyn Bentley – who followed a spell of 9-3-19-3 against Ashford with 7-4-7-2 against Spencer – and Georgina Goodwin’s remarkable 6-21 from 6.4 overs to dismantle Brighton & Hove.
A first team which enjoyed a blend of youth and experience showed their desire to win while looking to nurture talent whenever possible.
Guildford also have a team in the Surrey Trust League which prepares U18 players for senior level and first team captain Katherine Robson was delighted to see several STL players making the jump. Rain hit their campaign but another mid-table finish was achieved, with only one match lost.
The number of younger girls within the club is increasing and they have also played in the boys’ teams in representative age group matches, staking claims for regular selection.
Katherine is continuing as first team captain for a fifth season in 2018, her experience as a Surrey stalwart and coaching background within the county set-up proving invaluable in bringing on younger colleagues.
Charley Teale remains manager of the STL side and the leadership of that team will be rotated among a number of players in order to give them experience, with support on offer from Charley and any other senior players available on match days.
It says much for the industry of Neil Garrett as he stands down from being chairman of the colts section that two men will be sharing the load.
Matthew Finnegan, manager of the U12s, will combine with Jeremy Greaves to lead the way from now on, with much gratitude to Neil for his efforts.
Chris Perceval is the new U17 manager and Ian Timberlake is taking over the U15s.
Guildford were sad to receive news of the death of Tom Hansell. The former Surrey batsman, who was 63, suffered a fall at his home in Perth (Australia) after a prolonged period of ill-health.
Tom Hansell played 14 first-class and seven List A games for the county from 1975 to 1977 and he was also a member of the Guildford side which finished third in the Surrey Championship in 1977, under the captaincy of Charles Woodhouse.
“Tom was ever-present in the side and he had a cheerful, friendly disposition,” said Charles from his home in Cumbria. “He was a talented and fluent bat. He was also vital because he gave Monte Lynch a lift to matches!”
There was sad news when Vic Perren died in the final week of October.
Vic, who was 81, was the father of Stuart Perren and stepdad to Darren and Martin Bicknell, giving them invaluable support in the early stages of their careers with Guildford and Surrey. He fulfilled the role of Sunday second team skipper in the 1980s, offering many young players their first chance to play senior cricket and always quick to offer a word of encouragement. He switched to umpiring after that, later turning to golf and becoming a member of Sutton Green.
Guildford Beer Festival
Next year’s Guildford Beer Festival will be staged at Woodbridge Road on Friday June 15 (evening) and Saturday June 16 (lunchtime and evening sessions). Tickets are £10 per session with members of Camra entitled to a free pint.
More than 80 cask ales – sourced from independent and micro breweries in Surrey and the surrounding counties – will be available along with a wide selection of ciders. Locally-sourced gins, vodkas and wines are also on offer from a separate bar. Two high-quality food concessions ensure no one should go hungry.
Tickets can be booked online, from early 2018, at www.guildfordbeerfestival.co.uk or in person by calling at the Guildford Tourist Information Centre at the Guildford House Gallery (155 High Street).
There will be live music at all three sessions, with ample seating both in marquees and outside to suit all weathers. Car parking is free and special inclusive corporate packages are available for groups – for details on that call 07767-224632.