Jim Wood (far right) at a presentation in the Devon Cricket Centre

DEVON Cricket is looking for a new chairman for the first time in 14 years following Jim Wood’s decision to relinquish the role.

Wood became chairman of what was then the fledgling Devon Cricket Board in 2003 when founder chairman Roger Moylan-Jones stood down.

Moylan-Jones oversaw Devon’s move from a disparate collection of organisations – umpires, county club, leagues and youth teams among them under the umbrella of the Devon Cricket Association – into a single organisation overseen by the Devon Cricket Board.

Jim WoodIt took a while for the transformation to be completed and it wasn’t until 2009, well into Wood’s regime, that Devon Cricket became a brand in its own right.

Now the time is coming for the first real facelift of the Devon Cricket Board since it met for the first time in 1998. Wood has been onboard right from the start, but feels now is the time for new hands on tiller.

“We are working on a strategy to take Devon Cricket forward to 2024, by when I will be 75,” said Wood.

“Now is the right time for someone else to take over and approach the job of shaping the future of Devon Cricket.”

Boards all over the country – there are 40 of them – are at the start of a similar regeneration progress to Devon, which is being driven the ECB and their new Cricket Unleashed plan.

Sport England also has a strong say how money is distributed in recreational sport and wants cricket to see some within change.

“A consultation document regarding governance has gone out and it is clear Sport England are looking for governing bodies to be more independent and less stakeholder,” said Wood.

“The next Board will be required to show its governance is not about self-interest but for the greater good of cricket in Devon.”

Wood’s successor will be looking down a totally different boardroom table under the new structure.

Not every body in Devon will have a seat and there will be independent directors brought in to add business expertise to the boardroom mix.

Instead of constituent bodies sending representatives to Board meetings, board members will attend meetings of constituent bodies, a practice already well established with the county club.

Matt Evans, who was the first Devon cricket development officer back in 1998, will be part the panel that will select the new board.

Evans is the current chief executive of Active Devon.

“The process is entirely open – anyone who thinks they have something to offer is welcome to apply for a place.”

The new board is likely to comprise nine directors. Applications are now being accepted for consideration by the selection panel. The intention is to elect a chairman from the successful candidates.  (Further information and application packs can be found by clicking here)

If agreement can’t be reached, or no one is willing to do the job, the selection panel will be asked to look for a chairman.

Looking back over his time as chairman, Wood said Devon cricket had changed out of all recognition.

Wood praised the quality of the staff working on Devon’s behalf – salaried and unpaid – and the commitment of directors past and present.

“Their efforts on behalf of Devon Cricket have been huge and deserve greater recognition,” said Wood, who said Martin Webb and Ted Ashman had worked tirelessly on behalf of cricket.

Opening the Ondaatje Devon Cricket Centre on the University of Exeter campus in July 2009 was a major landmark.Devon's James Burke - currently playing for Surrey

“Devon was the first county outside the professional game to have such a facility and it has made a massive difference to the development of cricket in Devon,” said Wood.

The ECB is keen to see non-First Class counties like Devon working with the professional counties and Wood said that was a definite objective achieved.

“When I first joined the Board as a club representative in 1998 it was rare to have a Devon player on any First Class staff,” said Wood, whose own son Matt graduated from Devon to play for Somerset and Nottinghamshire.

“Now look around. Somerset’s staff is made up 25 per cent of players from Devon.

“There are Devon players at Surrey, Hampshire and Worcestershire – and that’s just the ones I know of.

“And we have a number of younger players on Academy or Developing Player Programmes at Somerset, Glamorgan and Gloucestershire.”

Although Wood will step away from his Devon role once the new Board is in place, he won’t be lost to cricket.

He will still chair the ECB’s Recreational Cricket Group, a job he took on in 2011, and as well as serving on the ECB he also chairs their Recreational Assembly.