BY HIS own admission, Selkirk journalist Alex Massie is better talking and writing about the sport of cricket than actually playing it.
Who better, in that case, to take over as South of Scotland Cricket Association (SoSCA) chairman? Even if he did take a bit of pushing into it.
“I was elected because it was Selkirk’s turn to nominate the chairman and there was precious little competition for the post,” said the brutally-honest 38-year-old from Philiphaugh.
However, now that he is there, Massie intends to get down to business with grassroots cricket top of his agenda.
“It’s my personal opinion that SoSCA may need to work more closely with the South of Scotland Cricket Development Group to solve some of the youth cricket challenges we face,” he told The Wee Paper.
In September Borders Sports and Leisure Trust completed its Target Sports review which concluded that from January 1, 2013, cricket would no longer feature as a target sport in the Borders, the knock-on effect being that Cricket Scotland would not be increasing the funding to keep the post of regional cricket development officer, currently held by Neil Cameron, in place, and would be restructuring staff across Scotland to come in line with SportScotland’s regional model. The intention is to introduce a single east region development manager across the Lothians, Borders and Edinburgh City.
“It’s a great shame that the powers that be no longer considers cricket a ‘core’ sport worthy of some modest amount of public funding,” added Massie.
“We are waiting for a response from Cricket Scotland to see what they are going to do about this and what being incorporated into the eastern regional development sphere is actually going to mean for Borders cricket.
“We all need to do more to get youngsters playing cricket. A terrific amount of good work is done by dedicated volunteers at every local club. They should be helped by the cricketing authorities, not taken for granted.”
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Massie believes that opting out of the Borders League to play in the East leagues has had a positive effect on Borders cricket as a whole.
“Last season showed that Borders cricket is perhaps stronger than we might have appreciated in the final years of the Border League,” he added.
“All five Borders clubs playing in the East league were promoted from their respective divisions. None lost more than one match.
“The challenge is simple: get better or wither and decline. So that’s quite a bracing reality!
“The key element is increasing the number of boys and girls who have the chance to play cricket.
“That’s the only way we can guarantee the long-term health of the sport in the Borders .
“So, in my view, the region has proved its worth as a contributor to the wider Scottish cricketing community.
“Borders cricket has, does and will do a lot off its own bat, but we could do a lot more with greater support from the cricketing authorities whose remit, after all, is to help spread the game.”
Every club is always on the look-out for new players and new helpers. No experience is needed. Anyone in Selkirk interested in becoming involved with the club – in a playing or non-playing capacity -–should contact Massie at firstname.lastname@example.org