CHURCH and Oswaldtwistle Cricket Club recorded an overall loss of £2,747 for the year ended 30 September 2002
The West Enders, who lost £798 in the previous year, were unlucky enough to be drawn away in their first Worsley Cup final appearance in 27 years, losing the final at Ramsbottom. A home final could well have seen them in the black.
Cricket income rose slightly to £20,596 from £19,734 in 2000-2001. But overheads on the cricket side went up to £20,870 from £18,849.
The cricket side lost £275 overall as against a profit of £883 the previous year. An increase in wages from £7,579 to £9,112 represented Church's biggest-ever outlay on a professional.
Australian Mark Higgs broke the club's individual innings record batting in the Worsley Cup Semi-Final but he isn't returning in 2003 after signing for the Kent-based Lashings All-Star XI.
On the Social side, the bar profit margin was stable at around 42 per cent, the Gross Profit almost exactly the same as 2001 at £25,474 (£25,732 in 2001) Bar takings were slightly down from £53,225 to £52,539. But Social overheads rose from £27,415 to £27,947.
In terms of liquidity, the club's balance sheet shows Church slightly better off with current assets of £27,468 as against £21,529 in the 2001 accounts.
Meanwhile Church's search for a replacement for Higgs has not yet borne fruit. Tentative early enquiries on the New Zealand cricket scene pointed them in the direction of up-and-coming youngsters Jacob Oram, Scott Styris and Kyle Mills. But since identifying the trio as potential targets, all three have been drafted into the Kiwi's World Cup and Test squads.
One source close to the club told me that a virtually-unknown South African player had quoted, through an agent, a price of £12,000, flights and accomodation and a car to come and play in the leagues!
It's a problem which is beginning to bedevil league cricket - clubs are hardly awash with finance in these hard times for the game yet there is a proliferation of agents and middle men anxious to take their cut for fixing professional engagements up.
Church's Annual General Meeting will be held at the West End clubhouse on Thursday 27 February.