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Q&A: Mill Hill Village Sports Club President Piers Jenkins

Q&A: Mill Hill Village Sports Club President Piers Jenkins

David Hickey12 Apr - 11:10
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The new president explains why wanting to give back to the club he has represented for 36 years compelled him to take on his latest role

'My message to members? Please support your captains and look to help the club out in all the ways that are needed. You get so much back in return'
- MHVSC President Piers Jenkins

Tell us about the role of club president of Mill Hill Village Sports Club, which you took up in September 2023.
The club president tries to promote the football section and cricket section of Mill Hill Village Sports Club. It's just an honoury position really, but I am trying to back up the huge work done by the committee of the football sections and cricket sections. They are the real heroes of the club.

The other main role of club president is to back up the players with a few drinks with no prior warning! So the players have to be at work parties, junior coaching, games and tournaments to take advantage!

Tell us about your long association with the club. When did it start and how?
I joined the club in 1988 when I wasn’t playing cricket at all and was playing football on a Sunday for Edgware Lions. I started playing cricket that summer. I carried on playing football for Edgware Lions for a few more years, then saw the error of my ways, and switched to Mill Hill Village Saturday football around 1991/1992.

What do you think is special about Mill Hill Village Sports Club?
Mill Hill Village Sports Club is an amazing club, and somewhere that I am so lucky to have been playing cricket and football for for the last 36 years. I have made lifelong friendships over the years, and kicked a few backsides also! In the middle of summer, there is nowhere prettier in London to play cricket, and in the winter it’s great to get stuck in and see off a few football teams in the mud down Pork Chop (the nickname of the football pitch next to the front cricket pitch).

What does MHVSC mean to you personally?
Without Mill Hill Village Sports Club, on a personal note, I would have probably drifted from club to club, but instead met lots of lovely people, and stayed in the same arena for 36 odd years. Highlights? From scoring four goals in one game against Winchmore Hill, to winning a semi-final in a veterans game via a penalty shoot-out, to watching Peter Jaffe score the 10th penalty, then saving his opponent's penalty to win the tie; to us winning a match 9-1, their only goal being an own goal by yours truly burying a header into my own goal past Richard “Salmon” Downes! There you go - that's two ex-club presidents mentioned in one sentence!

Read: Piers Jenkins selects his Mill Hill Village all-time XI

Why did you want to become club president?
People like Peter Jaffe and Richard Downes, along with other old friends such as Ted Kelly, gave so much to the club over the years, that the least I could do was try to give a percentage of what they gave the club back. I’ll never manage that, but a little bit I hope I will achieve.

What is the most important issue presently facing Mill Hill Village Sports Club and how will you help the club tackle it?
Mill Hill Village Sports Club, like a lot of amateur sports clubs, has huge financial challenges going forward into 2024. At a recent club committee meeting, I heard about a lot of work that is being done by the captains and committee members, which I hope all the members are grateful for. Many thanks go to our new cricket sponsors Ava Waves Juries Ltd, which will allow us to develop our junior sides as well as our four Saturday teams, and our Development XI on a Sunday.

What are your other priorities as club president for 2024?
I will try and promote the club as much as I can, just like the three chaps mentioned above did so well in previous years. I am trying to resurrect a tour for the cricket club in July 2024, where we intend to visit Gloucestershire for a few days to play some good cricket for players and families to play in and spectate. All will be welcome, this has always brought team spirit to the fore, which was so important before Covid took it away a few years ago.

We need to see more players helping out at work parties every Sunday, pre-season. We are an amateur club, so no one gets paid. Having 20 people out for a few hours would finish the work much sooner than the usual few suspects that I have been helping the last couple of Sundays.

What do you think is the most important issue presently facing club cricket in the Herts League?
Cricket - and football for that matter - still face huge issues, from a facilities point of view, and finances in general. If we can all pay our match fees on time, it will make a massive difference to our club, and make its existence more permanent in the years to come.

When I started playing football for the village in the 1990s, there were eight teams. We are now down to two teams; whilst very disappointing, all the teams in our leagues have suffered the same predicament, so together we need to build a more positive future.

Cricket has fared better, with the amount of teams remaining about the same. We decided to move from the Middlesex league to the Herts League about 15 years ago, mostly to play nearer to home. This seems to have been positive for most people.

What is the biggest change in club cricket that you've seen since starting out?
The widening of the player base in cricket has been fantastic. Through the development of women's cricket recently, we are seeing girls' junior teams starting up, where soon they will be challenging the men for places in our teams. Many thanks have to go our coaches in starting up our new joint girls' team venture with Finchley Cricket Club, Mill Hill Finches. Also, the club is now so multicultural, which is a joy - to hear words such as "shabash" for example. I’ve been told this translates to, "You are a beautiful player, Piers!" Long may all this joy carry on.

What's your message for the other Mill Hill Village Sports Club members?
I’ve had so many good times down at Mill Hill Village, from the Good Friday football tournament that we have started, to the bowlouts at six-a-sides at the end of the season, I can’t wait for the next few years.

Please support your captains lads and lasses, from paying your fees on time, which keeps the club open, to turning up on time to support your teammates, and look to help the club out in all the ways that are needed. You get so much back in return.

Here's to a successful summer of cricket with three new captains leading us in Dev, Shiban and Ken, joining Pryank who is captaining for the fourth year running. It won’t be long before the footballers return in August for another successful season. Play well teammates!

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