From the CEO’s Chair – Jamie Clifford’s Blog – 8 July

Friday 8th July 2011

I am sitting in Canterbury enjoying a quiet moment before thousands descend on the St Lawrence Ground this evening. It is one of those days we have become used to during the t20 with rain in the air. The forecast is good though, with it clearing out from about four o’clock. There is a great buzz about the place and all are looking forward to a big game.

It has been a busy period on the cricket front and games are coming thick and fast. Our form has been excellent in the t20 and I know everyone is behind the players to keep it going. The floodlit games at the St Lawrence have been excellent, and I am sure tonight will continue that trend. Boxes, banks and bars will all be full and busy.

It has been great to see the ground start to return to normal use. The Les Ames stand is now like a brand new building (well done Cardy!) and the public bar and boxes have been well received. It was wonderful to see the new grass banks in use by picnicking families on Sunday – exactly as we had hoped. The Pavilion is almost there now – the scaffolding came down this morning – and I am sure those members who have been in can see just how special watching from there will be in the future. It is my hope that by Canterbury Week all these areas will be completely finished and fully functioning.

This week the Club has submitted a planning application to Bromley Borough Council. The plans are very exciting and will see £15m of investment in the ground which will provide an opportunity to keep the Club at Beckenham for a long time to come. It has been a challenge to run Beckenham in a way that is financially sensible, it is therefore critical that we explore this option so that we might be able to put the operation on a solid footing.

Our focus will shift after tonight’s game to Canterbury Week and the India fixture – both are selling extremely well, indeed I am anticipating a sell-out for the visit of the World Champions. This year the Club is determined to capture the spirit of ‘The Week’ and the commercial team will be working hard to ensure that it is special.

It seems very odd that there will be no matches in the county from today until 10th August. It is disappointing that this peak period of the summer will see no cricket in Kent. Yet again the fixture programme has produced a ridiculous schedule. I know I have said constantly that this needs looking at but it has to be better than this. The Morgan Review of County Cricket, which is now underway, must have the programming and scheduling at the top of the priority list.

Right, time to go and make sure we are all set for tonight’s game with Sussex – let’s hope the weather holds and that the Spitfires triumph.