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With the 2020 season firmly behind us and whisperings of pre-season emerging around cricket clubs across the country, Sessay CC are hoping to push on as a club in more ways than one.
Chris Starr explores how the village cricket club did during a Covid-affected last season with fundraising, league ambitions and the National Village Cup now on the horizon.
Last year’s shortened season impacted club cricket universally, with Sessay Cricket Club being no exception.
A summer full of plans for fundraising, social events and most importantly cricket, sadly did not play out as expected. However, the resilience of the small village club was impressive.
Quiz nights at the clubhouse were moved online via Zoom. The end of season annual dinner was replaced with awards handed out next to the village’s first open-air bar.
Availability: Holidays and harvest
Sessay also managed to fulfil all fixtures for three senior men’s teams despite a long list of absentees due to holidays, harvest and the ongoing pandemic.
As a club that is surrounded by arable farmland, all three teams annually suffer from some players’ work commitments between July and August. To complete a season that spans most of harvest time, as well as coping with the effects of Covid-19, without conceding a match was most remarkable.
A key factor in enabling this was the club being able to reap the rewards from a successful junior set up, something Sessay Cricket Club has proudly been dedicated to for a number of decades now.
However, the North Yorkshire club are not resting on their laurels. They have made the most of 2021 so far by fundraising over £7,000 already.
National Village Cup – Pedigree and fundraising
Sessay has a connection with Lord’s as they have had the honour of playing at the Home of Cricket four times in National Village Cup Finals, winning the competition in 2010 and 2016.
Five members of the 1st XI took up the challenge to collectively run the total distance from Sessay to Lords and back, 426 miles (86 miles each), within the month of January.
The aim of this pilgrimage was to raise funds for the long-term future development of the club.
All five participants were part of the 2016 cup-winning team, and having forged great memories at the club, have taken the first steps to giving something back for future generations of cricketers.
Once again, the Sessay spirit shone through the challenges presented; mainly very poor winter weather conditions but also a forced period of self-isolation for the first-team captain Mark Jackson, which meant he had to do three-quarters of a marathon (19.6 miles) on the last day.
The money raised totalled £4,210 and will be put towards a target of £50,000 needed to develop the neighbouring field into a nursery ground, which is needed due to the number of men’s, ladies and junior teams currently run by the club.
The next stage of fundraising is for six members of the 2nd XI to cycle the combined distance between Sessay and all the away fixtures the club will visit in 2021, a total of 1,656 miles.
Following this, Sessay Emeralds, which includes the women’s and girl’s teams, will also be picking up the baton and completing a fitness-based challenge.
Sessay aim for Yorkshire Premier League North
When the umpire calls play, Sessay Cricket Club’s 1st XI will be pushing to return to Yorkshire Premier League North.
The team finished second in the friendly regional division that was drafted last year and will aim to carry that form into the new season.
They will also be challenging once again in the National Village Cup, anticipating to improve on last year’s Third Round exit where they lost to Folkton & Flixton.
In 2020, Sessay’s Seconds were drawn in the same division as the 1st XI, but the league fixture between the two sides was unfortunately abandoned due to bad weather.
The 2nd XI finished seventh and will be keen to make an impact in the newly-formed Division 1 West of the York Senior League, after their 2019 second-place finish in Division 2 Galtres.
The thirds are in Division Four of the Nidderdale Cricket League and are looking forward to building on the experiences gained by some of the younger players in 2020.
When normal service resumes, Sessay Emeralds will be hoping to return to the highs they reached in 2019 when they finished top of the Yorkshire Women and Girls Premier League as well as Northern Champions in the Kia Summer Smash T10.
They narrowly lost a nail-biting National final at the Kia Oval on the penultimate ball.
Last year saw seven of the Emeralds squad called up to Yorkshire Womens 1st XI; a testament to the dedication of the players and coaching team.
So far over the winter break, there have been no new additions to the club, but Sessay are keen to build on their homegrown talent and introduce more juniors to senior cricket in 2021.
Thanks to Chris for this article and if you have a club cricket story of your own, email [email protected].