New chairman of Ashington Cricket Club Bob Dunning has paid tribute to his predecessor Martin Thewlis as he looks to build on the solid foundations set in place.
Ashington born Dunning came through the ranks at Langwell Crescent.
He signed for the club as a ten-year-old in 1963 and made his debut in the first team in 1969 before bowing out in 2001.
He said: “The previous chairman Martin Thewlis had done a great job for five years but he felt it was time for a change,” said Dunning.
“Basically I don’t plan any revolution but moreover to build on the good work set by Martin, other committee members and the players.
“On the field, my view is that the cricket club should first and foremost gear everything towards putting out the best teams they can.
“This is a new and exciting challenge for me. I have been on the committee before but being chairman is different.”
He continued: “Five years ago when Martin became chairman, both sides of the club were not as strong as it could have been, and financially it was struggling to make ends meet.
“Now we have got one of the best teams Ashington has had for a lot of years and financially the club are starting to balance the books.
“Martin turned both sides around under his stewardship and should get a lot of credit, but there has also been a lot of hard work from individuals on the committee and from the general membership and players too.”
Thewlis, 42, said: “When Bruce Storey stood down as chairman and I took over, there were a few raised eyebrows, none more so than from myself, to be honest, especially since I was relatively young for a cricket club chairman.
“The job was made manageable because Bruce handed over a club that was well run and thriving.
“My priority was to make sure that when the time came to stand down, the club had moved on and was in even better health.
“Thanks to the tireless work of a fantastic committee and a great set of cricketers, the club has made strong and steady progress over the past five years, and it is great to see that we’re doing well both on the field and off it.
“I’m delighted that Bob Dunning has come in to do the chairman’s job.
“To say he is a safe pair of hands is probably an insult, such is the vast knowledge and experience he brings to the role.
“It’s probably fair to say I’ve just been keeping the seat warm for him over the past few years.
“He has so many attributes that will make him a fabulous chairman – he has a great understanding of cricket, he’s a great communicator and organiser, and also has a keen eye for detail, there’s not much that gets past him.
“Bob’s also been part of the fabric of the club for a good while so understands the importance of the club’s history and traditions.
“Ashington Cricket Club will take great strides forward under his leadership, so to say the future is really exciting is a massive understatement.”
Dunning, 62, who on behalf of the cricket club offered congratulations and best wishes to Steve Harmison after his recent appointment as manager of Ashington Football Club, added: “We always encourage parents that if their kids have got an interest in cricket to send them to us.
“They will be well coached by qualified coaches and any parent should contact the cricket club.
“We would also appreciate it if people could support the events we organise as it is very much a hand to mouth existence.”