Sunday, March 16, 2008

Thanks, Phil

Thanks for nothing!

Phil Banyard of the EDP has taken it upon himself to create a controversy in local cricket. He hasn't done it all by himself – but, it appears, he is the prime mover. With help from Norfolk's own version of Victor Meldrew, John Murrell, he seeks to upset everyone he can.

We've had three weeks of stories about plans to expand the Norfolk Alliance at the expense of the feeder leagues. It's obvious, various people are not happy.

The title of “Chief Whinger” surely goes to John Murrell of Sprowston C.C. It's a shame to personalise what should be a serious debate about cricket, but when John is involved – it's difficult no too!

John exhibits all the characteristics of a real “Nimby-Jobsworth”. He thinks he's on a mission and the rest of the world is out to get him. We see this every year at the Annual General Meeting of the Norfolk Cricket League. First, John puts forward umpteen amendments – the purpose of which is to make the Norfolk League more like the Alliance – we spend a long time reading them and trying to make sense of his poorly constructed proposals, and then they are all rejected by an overwhelming majority.

Like all good Jobsworth's this does not really deter John.

So, this year he has run to the Alliance Committee and persuaded them to back an expansion of their league. In other words, what he can not get by democratic means he seeks to impose. There's a word for this, and I think it's fascist.

What is it exactly he wants? Under the guise of raising standards he wants to resurrect the Alliance closed shop that the ECB did away with when the pyramid structure was set up some years ago. The rest is just window dressing.

To do so, he has resurrected a document “Norfolk Cricket Board – Feeder Leagues Proposed Standards for 2005”. There is much to be commended in this document. Unfortunately, John has chosen to focus on what I describe as the “toilet and twaddle” parts of the document. Whereas the focus should be on item one: good playing surface”, John has ranted on about showers and toilets and separate changing rooms.

I resist the temptation to ascribe motive to his concerns.

Let's be clear, the aims expressed in this document are good. But, in trying to beat his fellow cricketers to death with the minutiae, John just makes himself look foolish.

It's a shame that Phil Banyard has chosen to give him a mouthpiece.

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