NEW Ilminster Cricket Club chairman Paul Knight is looking forward to the challenges ahead.

Mr Knight has taken over the role from Jim Sainsbury who stepped down last week during the club’s annual meeting at the Shrubbery Hotel.

One of his more pressing needs is to improve the club’s financial status.

The club suffered, as did many around the area, during the summer from a succession of cancelled matches due to bad weather.

It was reported at the meeting that revenue over the bar at The Shed at Ilminster Recreation Ground had dropped by £5,000 because of cancelled fixtures.

“The club’s aim next season is to get the finances lost, predominantly through the bad weather, back to a healthier level,” said the new chairman.

“We will aim to bring back some of the old fundraising themes back such as a sponsored walk and also to see more sponsorship which will help initially.

“The club will also be looking to put on more fundraising barbecues — but obviously these depend on the weather.”

While Mr Sainsbury has stepped down from chairman he has taken on the important role of treasurer, which has allowed Sam Spurway to give all his attentions to captaining the 1st XI side.

Craig Rice has replaced groundsman John Pallister as the club’s new vice-chairman, while Adrian Sims will lead the second team, Andy Fish the 3rds and Darren Grinter the 4ths.

Mr Knight added: “I would like to thank Jim for all his hard work and effort over the past five years as chairman.

“He has worked tirelessly within the club, but will remain active as treasurer.”

Mr Sainsbury said he feels the treasurer’s job will present him with just as big a challenge as the chairman’s job when he first took it on.

“Funds will be needed to keep The Shed in working order and with the football club planning to break away from the Sports Club leaving us as sole occupants that challenge is doubled,” he said.

“There is also the need to keep the pavilion maintained and with a building of that age there are always projects to fund.

“We just have to hope we get the support of Ilminster Town Council in our endeavours and their attention is not solely focused on what the football club want to achieve.”