Canterbury Cricket Week: CEO Review

Saturday 13th August 2022

Canterbury Cricket Week: CEO Review

Following a request for Members to submit questions in place of the Member’s Forum, the first key topic to be addressed by Kent Cricket CEO Simon Storey, is the role of Canterbury Cricket Week in the Kent Cricket calendar.

“Canterbury Cricket Week is an important part of the fabric of our game, especially in Kent.

“It has served as an opportunity for our local community to come together, enjoy a showcase match of our sport and to celebrate the contribution Kent Cricket makes to the City of Canterbury, the wider county and the game as a whole.

“We have to accept that Member’s and supporters expectations were not met this year.

“In particular, there was disappointment about the absence of marching bands, marquees, and other events which have been a feature of previous Canterbury Cricket Weeks.

“The feedback that we have received has brought it home to everyone that that after the loss of Canterbury Cricket Week due to the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 and a much-scaled back event in 2021, we are all keen for Canterbury Cricket Week to continue, but that the time has come to redefine its role and purpose.

“In truth, Canterbury Cricket Week has been in slow decline for some time. Commercial interest in hiring marquees has dwindled as budgets have been cut, local authority support was lost as public purse strings were tightened,  local regiments have merged and merged again and of course the ECB’s domestic fixture scheduling has meant that there is no longer a fixed date in the calendar for the whole City to plan against.

“For example, Canterbury Cricket Week in recent years has seen an LV= Insurance County Championship match, followed by a Vitality Blast match. Due to the ECB’s schedule of fixtures, this was not possible in 2022.

“Our desire to host Canterbury Cricket Week in its traditional spot of the first week in August was also not possible, with Kent Cricket not in red ball action again at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence until September.

“All these factors were in play pre-pandemic and COVID has only exacerbated the trends. The post-COVID cost to hire marquees has increased significantly due to shortages in materials and availability as more and more venues create outdoor areas.

“During 2021, our catering team worked incredibly hard to provide a hospitality offering despite social distancing and feedback from our guests in the FGS Plant Harris Suite has been positive.

“We simply cannot deliver the same level of service and comfort in tents in high Summer.

“As the game continues to modernise, some of the traditions such as Ladies’ Day, no longer promote the level of inclusivity that we are committed to promoting throughout the game.”

“We have to accept that the role of Canterbury Cricket Week has changed almost beyond recognition.

“Accepting that we did not meet expectations in 2022, Members and supporters can be rest assured that the future of Canterbury Cricket Week will be addressed in order to understand what Canterbury Cricket Week represents in the present and future from 2023.

“Learnings from 2022 will be reviewed, but it important to note that it is still a celebration of cricket and we will work to see how we can ensure this is seen as a contribution to Canterbury, engaging with Members, schools and businesses.

“The Club is now proposing the creation of a Members Working Group who will work with the team at the Kent Cricket to establish the direction of Canterbury Cricket Week.

“It is vital that Members’ views are represented so that we have a deeper understanding of what is valued and how we can work together to regenerate the event.

“It is important to remember that 2022 has been a year of transition, as we have been able to welcome full crowds back to our grounds for the first time since the Pandemic.

“However, I do believe we have an opportunity to make Canterbury Cricket Week in 2023 and onwards a real celebration.

“We look forward to engaging with a number of stakeholders to determine the future of this festival and will ensure plans are shared with Members and supporters.”

Any Members wishing to apply to be part of the Members Working Group must e-mail with an Expression of Wish by  Monday 19 September, and a member of the Membership Services team will be in touch and provide further details.

The next topic to be covered, will be a cricket update from Director of Cricket, Paul Downton, which will be published on Wednesday 17 August.

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