THE phrase 12 months is a long time is often overused when it comes to sporting arenas.However, in the case of Rugeley Cricket Club this simply is not the case, writes Scott Smith.
Just over a year ago things looked far from good for the Chaseley Road-based side with the prospect of a merger with Cannock & Rugeley Cricket Club on the cards due to a lack of playing personnel and the club appeared generally on a slippery downward spiral.
Fast forward a year and it could not be much different with Rugeley CC celebrating what must be one of their most successful seasons ever. The first team have topped off a brilliant 2013 campaign with promotion to the Staffordshire Premier League, while the club and personnel off the field were also gaining top marks.
Lifetime member and someone who is considered to be "Mr Rugeley CC", Mick Dawson, celebrated 50 years with the club and also received high commendation for his services to the club at the Staffordshire Cricket awards, while the club itself won the counties Natwest Cricketforce Club award.
If this was not enough, club members headed down to the home of cricket, Lord's, to represent Staffordshire at the National Awards. With 39 other county winners in contention to pick up the prestigious Natwest Cricketforce Club award there was much surprise amongst the group when it was announced that Rugeley were in the top three in the country and had in fact finished runners-up. A lot of hard work has taken place at Rugeley CC and chairman John Carter said: "We decided we would try and ride out the troubles we were expecting after a tricky 2012 season.
"Stuart Talbot arrived back as first team captain and he managed to bring in three new faces and they made a difference. All of a sudden from being a mediocre side we suddenly saw the potential of being able to challenge for honours."
It was not just on the field where the difference was made though, with the players being backed in other areas,
"The committee we have got at the moment is the hardest working that I can remember in my 25 years here," said Carter. The general appearance of the ground has also been improved.
"It's been a fabulous year, the icing on the cake was promotion for the first team and there were some superb performances in that. The overall picture of Rugeley CC is one of a club on the up," said Carter.