Although he won’t be out in the middle tomorrow (Friday), Martin Phillips will be just as excited as any of the players representing Banbury Cricket Club at The Kia Oval.
The Banbury chairman will be a proud onlooker when his son Jimmy leads the team out at The Oval and he will be able to reflect on his long association with the White Post Road club.
From player to chairman, Phillips has seen the club grow from its former ground at Grange Road to its current impressive home to become the leading club in the county.
He said: “I took over as chairman from Barrie Nichols and was first XI captain at the same time for a few years. In my days as skipper we were happy to beat Sandford and Culworth in the Banbury Advertiser Cup.”
The club presented £1,000 last year to Frank Wise School from money raised through staging the Banbury Advertiser Cup, which it is still keen to support. But Phillips knew the club had to have a bigger vision if it was to move forward.
He explained: “It was clear that if we were to attract the best players we had to first get things right off the field, hence the move to White Post Road.
“Neal Radford focussed on our will to win and Paul Taylor increased the volunteering culture to where we now have 40 people working behind the scenes, but those appointments were only possible with the help of the Banbury business community.
“We now we have five sides on a Saturday, a midweek side, two women’s teams, two girls teams and four boys teams.
“We are under-15 county boys and girls champions, the girls are through to the national finals and the ladies are county league winners as well as ECB Midlands Division Two champions.
“However, our success is with home grown guys like Jimmy and Ed [Phillips] and Lloyd Sabin, and players like Ian Tew, Luke Ryan, Ashley Blanchard and Nathan Hawkes, who joined the club in their mid-teens.
“I’m very proud of what we have done, a whole team behind the scenes, some still very much involved and others who have done their bit a few years ago. We are a proper family club, I am naturally chuffed Jimmy will lead the side at The Oval but also boys that I played with at the end of my playing days will also be there, like Justin Lambden and Lloyd [Sabin].
“Win or lose at The Oval, I hope this is the beginning. We are on the map and I hope we can stay there for many years.”