From Junior Cricketer to Committee Member – Life at Enfield Cricket Club

James Quinlan began his grassroots cricket career as a junior at Enfield Cricket Club and, 24 years later, is a committee member at the North London outfit.

Since the age of nine, Enfield has been in James’ blood having competed for the cricket club across all of its age groups, including senior level. As is the case in most grassroots clubs, James dons many hats as part of his role, looking after communications and leading the overall cricket section of the club.

It is a role that, by his own admission, doesn’t have a set description or title, as he told Fen Regis Trophies: “It’s kind of nondescript role…I take care of bits to do with the cricket section, planning any admin that needs doing and just managing what needs doing.”

For anyone involved in running a grassroots club in any sport, James’ story will certainly be a familiar one, with volunteers up and down the country routinely going above and beyond.

Joining Enfield Cricket Club

Rewind 24 years to when a nine-year-old James first walked through the doors of Enfield Cricket Club. At the time, not a single thought would have been given to the goings-on behind the scenes that enable boys and girls of all ages to play, all he wanted to do was get out onto the crease.

“I grew up literally around the corner,” he said. “I come from a very sporting family, and it’s always been something that I’m very interested in and wanted to do.

“I don’t remember how I got involved [at the club] apart from the fact we lived around the corner. It was probably my dad wandering around to check out some of the senior games.

“I guess it was just something that I decided I wanted to give a go, so I started heading down to the training sessions on Sunday mornings and liked it enough to stick around.

“It feels a very long time ago now, but yeah, I think it was going with my dad to watch a couple of games that made me decide it was something I wanted to have a go at.”

James Quinlan in action for Enfield Cricket Club.
James Quinlan in action for Enfield Cricket Club.

Influential Coaching

During James’ time as a player at the club, he says that he was lucky to learn from some great coaches that helped him not only develop his game but also fall in love with cricket. The one name that he points to is that of Rod Smith, a long-serving member of Enfield Cricket Club.

James said of his old grassroots coach: “He was one of these guys who had played cricket to a pretty high standard, and he had some involved with Middlesex [County Cricket Club].

“His brother had played for Middlesex and had a bit of time in the England team, so he was someone that you wanted to listen to, because he had that experience in his family’s background.

“He was very good at working at a very simple level with kids who needed developing. He was very happy to take his time and he was someone who was still around the club and helping, even when I had started playing senior cricket.

“He would still come along to senior sessions and help out and get involved. He is someone that has helped hundreds of young cricketers through the years at the club.

“Rod is someone who I very fondly remember and was just eager to give up his time, he was very happy to sit and chat or do some coaching…he was one of those coaches that always seemed to have enough time for anybody.”

Young Player of The Year

Though he thoroughly enjoyed his time playing as a junior at the club, James is the first to admit that he wouldn’t ever be described as anything above “average”. League titles eluded the medium-pace bowler, but he did have a taste of some individual success at the club.

“There are a couple of batting exploits from when I was a bit younger,” James said. “The first one was an unbeaten century and the other was a 60-odd opening the batting that went through the innings to win the game.

“I think those two stand out for me, mainly because it’s so rare for me to score any runs!”

He added: “When I started in junior cricket, we didn’t really have any trophies. We never did. We certainly never won any leagues, that I can remember, we never had anything like that.

“I did win the young player of the year award in 2007, which was a couple of years after I started playing senior cricket and that’s probably the first trophy I remember winning at the club.”

Promoting the Club

Away from the crease, within his responsibilities as a committee member, James is always looking at ways in which he can help to promote and market the club within the local area. Part of that sees club coaches go into schools to deliver cricket sessions, with the hope that it will entice boys and girls to give cricket, and Enfield, a try.

“We do a lot of work with local schools, with a couple of coaches going into primary schools and a couple of secondary schools.

“The club also has a number of parents helpers who also do a lot of publicity work within their schools or PTA, and associated things like that.

“We are also trying to raise awareness of the club through social media and our website, publicising everything that we are doing, alongside doing a fairly regular article for our local newspaper.

“That’s just another avenue for us to raise the profile of the club, as well as hosting social events and trying to invite people along to those.”

James continues to work tirelessly for the club he has loved for over two decades, both on and off the pitch. Enfield Cricket Club has been at the heart of its community since its formation in 1856 and anyone interested in getting involved with the club can email James at

By Aaron Gratton

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