From the CEO’s Chair – Jamie Clifford’s Blog -26 May

Friday 27th May 2011

Something odd happened today – it rained. Play came to an early conclusion this evening after several downpours at the St Lawrence. I had seen the forecast this morning and, despite there being an indication of rain, dismissed it. Every time over the past month rain has been forecast it hasn’t materialised – it certainly didn’t feel right to have the covers on and supporters running for cover. Normal service is forecast to resume tomorrow (Friday) and there is the prospect of a dry bank holiday weekend ahead.

This is good news for Tunbridge Wells Festival Week starting on Sunday – another, different Championship start day and a very quick turnaround for the Club’s operation. There will be a great deal of the Kent Cricket ‘circus’ on the road on Saturday, as the mad dash takes place to get set at everyone’s favourite out-ground. If the Festival Week lives up to last year’s standards we will have a very good week indeed. Leicestershire are the visitors in the Championship and we then have two big clashes in the t20 against last year’s two finalists – Somerset on Friday night and Hampshire on Sunday afternoon. All the cricket is during half-term, so I hope lots of children and families will be there to help kick off our twenty20 campaign in style. Click here to secure your tickets.

I attended the Ivo Bligh grave re-dedication in Cobham last week. It was a superbly organised event and much credit should go to Derek Barnard (President of the Supporters’ Club and Chairman of The Cricket Society) and Howard Milton (the Club’s Hon. Statistician and Hon. Librarian of The Cricket Society). It was a quintessentially English event; a full church on a mid-week afternoon, gathered together to celebrate the history of a little urn, followed of course by a traditional cricket tea – and quite right too. Were it not for Ivo Bligh and his wife Florence Morphy, we wouldn’t have the Ashes today. Derek and Howard have put together a highly recommended booklet about the history which is well worth a read. More about the re-dedication can be found on The Cricket Society website.

The Club held a breakfast for our commercial partners during the Loughborough University game. Despite an early start – I am not a morning person, and never really understood the popularity of the business breakfast; it was a good opportunity for the sponsors to meet the team. Rob Key chaired a very amusing question and answer session with James Tredwell, Sam Northeast and Paul Farbrace and the whole event was hosted by Simon Cook. Their involvement is important and I am very grateful for the commitment to the early start. After a good breakfast, we presentedour sponsors with plaques and thanked them for their continued support of the Club. The Club’s partners are listed on here and it is not too late to join them for this season – simply drop me a line at

There was a meeting of the General Committee of the Club on Tuesday evening. These tend to be quite lengthy meetings covering all aspects of the Club’s operation. They take place regularly through the year and at the moment there is much to keep on top of with the ground redevelopment programme moving ahead. I find the Committee’s help and input valuable – it is certainly good to be able to call on the professional expertise that sits around the table.

The completion of the Les Ames stand and the Pavilion looms large now. We are still on course to have those buildings complete by 18th June when cricket returns to Canterbury. As with other parts of the project there will be a big final push and that first night back will be an exciting one for everyone. We will also, of course, be turning on the floodlights for the first 1st XI fixture that evening, which promises to be a night to remember and the ticket sales are good.

Finally, a plug for the screening of Fire in Babylon on Thursday 9th June. I am delighted that we will be showing the film – it has had wonderful reviews and promises to be a fun evening – I know John Shepherd is particularly looking forward to it. More details can be found here. It is a great record of how cricket was played during that era and the great success of the West Indies. I am sure all cricket lovers hope that it perhaps sparks a return to that era of West Indies cricket being something very special.

I look forward to seeing big crowds at Tunbridge Wells next week, and for those who have been asking – apparently the rhododendrons look fantastic!