Hi, my name is John Winder
I first stepped onto the hallowed turf of the UCG back in 1992. A teaching job brought me to Wallasey in 1991 and a chance conversation with work colleague Charlie Ward led to me making up the numbers for a friendly game against Merseyside West Indians on the back pitch. Little did I know that I would still be donning the whites down at Upton some 26 years and several hundred games later.
Although I had always enjoyed playing and watching cricket, becoming part of the scene at Upton gradually started to develop into a great and unexpected adventure as friendships blossomed and I had the privilege of representing the club all over Cheshire with occasional forays into Shropshire and North Wales and memorably on three occasions to the Netherlands.
When I first joined Upton I assumed it would be just a normal cricket club. The years have shown me that it is much more than that. The people who are part of it make it a very special place for cricketers and non-cricketers alike. The feeling people have for the club is reflected in the long-standing associations many people have with it. We are also blessed with the regular addition of new members who quickly realise what the club is about, get involved and rejoice in being part of it.
I currently act as captain of the Sunday 1st XI. This brings me into contact with some of the long-standing members who still turn out for us and also newer members as we recruit regularly from our excellent junior section. The Sunday 1st XI has gradually become more of a vehicle for giving young players their first taste of senior cricket. If I look at the make-up of the current 1st XI, many of their names can be found in Sunday scorebooks from seasons past. While some of our current players will doubtless join them in years to come, those of us who remain in the lower echelons still derive great pleasure from one another's company and celebrate our occasional successes heartily.
I first captained the side for one game back in 2001. It was something I never envisaged doing but I am now in my tenth season and I must say I have enjoyed (almost!) every second of it. There was no application process and no need for an interview, CV or personal profile. The whole experience has been a refreshing and joyful antidote to the trials and tribulations of modern life.
My other role is Fixture Secretary. This mainly involves arranging our Sunday fixtures and keeping our magnificent Grounds team updated on fixture changes, cup ties and additions to the fixture calendar. As we have no fewer than sixteen teams which use Upton as a home ground regularly, this can involve a certain amount of juggling and multi-tasking, not skills which always come naturally! We are fortunate to be able to host as much cricket at Upton as we do and I doubt if there are many busier clubs in the whole of Cheshire. We manage to host a huge number of games because cooperation between the different parts of the club is first class. By gradually becoming a small cog in the Upton organisation I have learned to appreciate how things work and the huge amount of effort which people put in behind the scenes to make it all run smoothly.
Life teaches us that things rarely run completely smoothly and both my jobs have their occasional stresses. Real life means players aren't always available and rain sometimes leads to cup ties being rearranged at short notice. As long as people continue to make themselves available to play Sunday friendlies and try to give a decent amount of notice if they wish to book pitches, I can't really ask for any more than that in either of my roles.
Updated 13:42 - 13 Jun 2018 by UCC Admin