Friday, January 11, 2013
The recent annual general meeting of Ottery St Mary Cricket Club saw the end of an era as long-serving chairman Rob Bradshaw-Smith – ‘RBS’ to his many friends and associates – stepped down after nine years of outstanding service, writes Ian Townsend.
The club has made huge strides both on and off the field during Rob’s tenure and the list of major initiatives in which he has played a pivotal role is virtually endless.
The development of youth cricket, both at Ottery CC and within the county as whole, has been a long standing passion for RBS, and his time in office saw him contribute hugely to the establishment, administration and coaching aspects of a thriving academy which now boasts well over 100 players and routinely contributes seven or eight teams to the Bradley’s East Devon Youth League (EDYL) spanning an age range of U-10 to U-17.
More recently Rob has also assumed the role of EDYL chairman, played a key role in Ottery CC securing Clubmark status and been a keen exponent of the development of girls’ cricket at the club via the Chance to Shine initiative.
Bradshaw-Smith’s drive and commitment have been invaluable in helping to radically improve the facilities at Salston Field over the last few years which have seen a major refurbishment of the clubhouse, installation of an electronic scoreboard and the provision of a dedicated cricket square for juniors.
Add to this his sterling work as the club’s groundsman, which last year saw Ottery’s pitches rated the best in C Division of the Devon League, and the fact that, despite having little time to practice, his prodigious natural ability sees him still able to play match-winning roles with both bat and ball in league matches, and it is clear that this is an individual who has contributed massively to the club he so clearly loves.
Reflecting on his period in office, RBS commented: “I have been delighted to have been chairman over the last nine years and to have helped put the club on the map, particularly as far as junior cricket is concerned, and to have been around as the men’s sides at last begin to flex their muscles and progress.
“The facilities throughout the club have been improved and, despite my best efforts, we still have money in the bank!
“We are immensely fortunate to have so many able and willing members who happily give up their free time to give something back to the club.
“I wish my successor good luck and hope the club continues to prosper and provide high quality cricket for the men, women, girls and boys of the area for many years to come”.
In-coming chairman, the former Ottery, Exmouth and Devon all-rounder John Tierney, certainly has a big pair of shoes to fill as he takes over the reins from someone who was, in every imaginable context, a perfect ambassador for Ottery CC and an absolute credit to the game in general.