Strength in Numbers – changing the face of Spotswood CC

It was near the end of training one Thursday: a gathering around the coach. Serious cricket talk, by the look of it. But the First XI captain was noticeably absent from the circle. Instead, he was pulling on red and white striped footy socks, and digging out a whistle.

What on earth was going on?

This was the launch of The Woodsman Cup, an international rules competition that will pit our new Strength in Numbers Groups against each other for the glory of taking out the coveted inaugural title.

And what is Strength in Numbers all about? (SIN Groups for short) It’s a new initiative where groups of senior players, across all playing levels, are assigned to one of five groups named after influential club figures: Reed, Brown, Robbins, Jennings and Wheeler. (read on for more about each of them below.)

Across the seasons, the groups are rostered to take responsibility for a set number of pub raffles, joker draw raffles, and other tasks such as helping out in the kitchen or with taking out bins. Each group is led by co-captains who make sure the group meets all their responsibilities and that everyone does their bit.

“We did it at Richmond, so I suggested it to Cranny,’ said Allan ‘Wiz’ Wise, our First XI Captain. “It’s about taking ownership of the club and various tasks that get left to so few. And have some fun and competition along the way, like the international rules comp.”

Umpire Wiz spells out the rules of The Woodsman Cup.

Umpire Wiz spells out the rules of The Woodsman Cup.

Mark ‘Cranny’ Cranwell took the idea and ran with it. He’s done much of the work behind the scenes, and so far it’s looking like setting us up for a great season.

The SIN Group names themselves are a way of recognising the valuable contributions of some influential characters in our club history, three of whom are still very active around the club.

Reed – Joe Reed
Joe was instrumental in developing the club’s early years and lobbied council for land for the Spotswood Recreation Reserve (now Donald McLean Reserve) in the late 1920s. For more: see pages 1 to 33 in Roy’s book, A History of The Spotswood Cricket Club 1891-2013.

Brown – Brian Brown
Brian piloted the return of Spotswood cricket after World War II. He was the First XI Captain 1946-50, named in the Team of the Century, and made a Life Member in 1973/74. For more: see pages 49 & 150 of Roy’s book, A History of The Spotswood Cricket Club 1891-2013.

Robbins – Len Robbins Snr
Our tireless curator, Len’s work on the centre wicket table and practice wickets over the years has enabled Spotswood CC to be recognised as one of the best suburban grounds in Melbourne. Len was made a Life Member in 1979/80. For more: see page 81 of Roy’s book, A History of The Spotswood Cricket Club 1891-2013.

Jennings – Gordon Jennings
Gordon – known to most as Panther – is a Club stalwart, having played over 400 games, was Premiership Captain and longtime Committee member. He was made a Life Member in 1997/98. For more: see page 100 of Roy’s book, A History of The Spotswood Cricket Club 1891-2013.

Wheeler – John Wheeler
Former President and longtime Committee member, John (aka Wheels) played over 400 games and is a Premiership Captain. John was made a Life Member in 1991/92. His family has a long history with club, and his wife Kerryn played in the Women’s XI, served on the committee and was also made Life Member in 2011/12. For more: see pages 160-162 of Roy’s book, A History of The Spotswood Cricket Club 1891-2013.

As for The Woodsman Cup – with two rounds down in the round robin comp, Reed and Wheeler have come away with big wins so far. But there’s a long way to go, and it’s sure to be a hot competition!