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Halstead Cricket Club chairman Mark Surridge steps down after six successful years at the helm at Star Stile

Outgoing Halstead Cricket Club chairman Mark Surridge believes the club has ‘regained its heartbeat’ as he steps aside after six years, writes Callum Hansey.

Surridge had informed the committee during the season of his desire to vacate the role and after a considered search, Dave Brooker, who has been combining the roles of welfare officer and secretary of the juniors, was elected his successor at the Club’s AGM.

Surridge came into the role at a time when the club was discussing the disbanding of the Saturday third XI, the viability of continuing Sunday league cricket and dwindling participation numbers across both the junior and senior sides.

STEPPING DOWN: Outgoing Halstead Cricket Club chairman Mark SurridgePicture: Roger Cuthbert (6117334)
STEPPING DOWN: Outgoing Halstead Cricket Club chairman Mark SurridgePicture: Roger Cuthbert (6117334)

The former schoolmaster’s tenure has coincided with an upturn in fortunes both on and off the pitch though.

Surridge reflected: “Our membership has soared, with significantly greater numbers of both juniors and seniors playing for the club, and performances on Saturdays and Sundays have improved, partly as our own young players have graduated from our junior ranks to play senior cricket.”

The first XI restored their Division One status and have cemented themselves in the top half of the table during his time at the helm, while the second and third XIs have consolidated in their respective divisions and the Sunday side has gone from strength to strength, achieving two league titles in three years.

“Halstead has once again been attracting good cricketers to join us - case in point our Young Cricketer of the Year, Josh King – thus increasing our potency as a force in local cricket,” said Surrdige, who was also quick to mention the efforts of hard-working volunteers Neil Morris, Ken Paisley, Trevor Cooper, Brooker, Phil Toogood and Stuart Berger in the club’s upturn.

“We now have a dedicated group of people running both the adult and the junior sections, have a flourishing junior membership.

“The bar is busy with parents and friends enjoying relaxation and catering. The club has regained its heartbeat.”

Surridge has signed off with a ‘call to arms’ that too much work and effort at the club falls upon the broad shoulders of too few though.

“We are a small, family club and all enjoy the welcoming spirit, but now more than ever we need additional help and assistance to continue to maintain and grow the club,” he said, while also lending his offer of support to Brooker in his new role.

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