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Janet Bairstow and Mike Cowan elected Vice-Presidents

— 23 March 2020

Outgoing Yorkshire chairman Robin Smith told a small gathering of members present at the Annual General Meeting on Saturday that the game of cricket and the club will survive the Coronavirus crisis.

Smith is stepping away from his 20-year formal involvement with the White Rose county, including two spells as chairman.

  • One of his final acts was to reveal Janet Bairstow, the club’s former, and long-standing, cricket administrator – wife of the late David and mother of current Yorkshire and England star Jonny – had been voted in as the county’s first female vice president.

    “It’s been a privilege to be involved,” said Smith as he closed an Emerald Headingley meeting which was cut short to approximately 45 minutes because of the Covid-19 pandemic, only attended by 20 members and made available to the rest via an online live video stream.

    “I’ve formally been involved with the club for 20 years, in which time an awful lot has happened.

    “We’ve come from a pretty dire financial position to the one we’re in today.

    “We will come through this (Coronavirus) crisis, I have not the slightest doubt. The reason is that cricket will survive anyway, and we have in this club a management team and indeed volunteers and staff who are of the first quality.

    “Cricket will survive, Yorkshire will survive, and I only wish the club every success for the future.”

    Chief executive Mark Arthur and director of cricket Martyn Moxon briefly brought members up to speed with how the club is working through Coronavirus and where the England and Wales Cricket Board are up to in terms of starting the summer after May 28.

    On Friday evening, the ECB announced that the first seven rounds of the County Championship summer would fall by the wayside and no cricket would take place before at least the above date.

    Arthur said: “There are going to be a number of possibilities going forwards. They (the ECB) are strategising over a start in June or a start in July or a start in August.

    “Of course, this complicates things for us on a day to day basis in terms of running the organisation.

    “We don’t know what structure the programme would have, and I am sure they have modelled three different structures.

    “We do believe there will be a priority given to the white ball game in order to get as much needed income into the game of cricket because, fundamentally, we have to make sure the game survives.

    “In the meantime, I have asked all of our staff to work from home except for the ground-staff, who will continue to work but not in terribly close proximity.

    “The players are maintaining a fitness schedule at home.

    “The irony from a selfish point of view at Yorkshire CCC is that we believe we have assembled a squad that could compete in all three county competitions. And we were really looking forward to a full season. But that, now we know, will not happen.

    “Please stick with us. These are tough and unprecedented times. I know those words have been used by an awful lot of people around the country, but fortunately we had an outstanding (financial) year last year.

    “Goodness knows what position we’d have been in had this virus hit us 12 months ago. But we are in a relatively strong position compared to many other entities.”

    Moxon said: “From a players’ point of view, since they returned from Mumbai (last Saturday) they have stayed at home, initially to recover from two long journeys in three days. But now they are undertaking training programmes.

    “We have made the decision along with the rest of the club to keep the lads at home until at least April 19. Beyond that will depend on how we go with the virus over the next few weeks.

    “Without access to gyms, it’s a challenge to get the strength training that we’d ideally want them to do. But our strength and conditioning staff are working hard to ensure they have the equipment they need to at least tick over.

    “They have access to the outdoors, which is good, and can do running, cycling, walking, whatever – any kind of aerobic exercise they can get in.

    “But the biggest challenge will be maintaining strength. A lot of hard work had been done on that over the winter to get the lads fit and strong, and that’s now being challenged.”

    Moxon added: “Huge praise must go to the ground-staff, both here at Headingley and at Weetwood as well, that they’re still willing to come in and work whilst everyone else is at home.

    “Given fair weather and good progress with the virus, as soon as we get the green light to come back into work and start training again, the facilities will be ready to accommodate us.

    “Everyone is very frustrated, but the most important thing is the health of the population.”

    Viewers on the live stream would have seen members greeting each other with elbow taps.

    The meeting was paused for 15 minutes whilst they waited for a 20th attendee to arrive in the new Emerald Suite – the number needed, as stated in club rules, to officially ratify things such as the accounts, new vice presidents and changes to the board.

    Former England off-spinner Geoff Cope was voted in for a second year as the club’s president (votes 859 for and nine against).

    Mark Arthur, Roger Hutton and Katherine Mathew were all re-elected to the board, while Charlotte Evers was re-elected to the members’ committee.

    Janet Bairstow and former seamer Mike Cowan were elected as vice presidents.

    The 2019 accounts were also approved, as was the appointment of Garbutt and Elliott Audit Limited as the club’s auditor.

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