2009 saw our 1st XI miss out on promotion from the F division by 1 point & along with planned movement to the Hazeldown Oval, the departure of our Star Batsmen & appointment of a new skipper; Craig Greenwood, a new era was beginning at Shaldon Optimists Cricket Club.
The club moved looking to build in the community surrounding Teignmouth and the central location found by groundsman Charlie Woolnough at Hazeldown School was perfect for that vision. Instantaneously the volume of club members surged and things looked up for Shaldon. In the first XI Craig Greenwood took on a group of raw youngsters with two Teenage opening bowlers & also two 17 year old opening batsmen & with the addition of Mark Couch from Clyst St George a team started to form again. In the words of Mark Couch the team he entered was 'a C Division outfit'.
Promotion was the aim & promotion was the outcome, the steel added by Greenwood surely the factor that created a mentality that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on many occasions. We ended up as runners up in the F & E division cricket was secured for 2011. 2010 also included a Brockman Cup final appearance for the young side and a 2nd XI started with Rob Larkman taking the reigns. A relatively successful season saw the 2s push for promotion for most of the season.
In 2011 a bar was also installed at the Oval to help with revenue and once again the first XI gained promotion with the help of two more experienced heads. Karl Blackburn & Jamie Day had arrived from Stoke Gabriel but were local Teignmouth guys enticed back into the 'vision' of the Optimists. Behind the scenes the facilities were upgraded from a portacabin & two sheds into a fully functioning albeit temporary structure with showers, kitchen & bar. All the while the tireless work on the ground was paying off with Devon youth now attracted to playing their festivals at The Oval.
The D division saw a change in rules in 2013 which was very promising for the Optimist 1st XI as they always had a lot of bowling options; this was certainly another breakthrough year for the younger generation of Optimist especially with Seamus McKenna finally living up to his enormous potential with over 750 runs in D Division & 500+ runs in T20 cricket. A very successful season saw promotion for the 3rd year running & also a T20 cup final appearance as Carl Woolnough led a youthful side regularly without senior 1st XI players to a narrow defeat vs Chudleigh.
The club once again made progress off the field & there are many wheels set in motion for the next few years with regards to the longevity of the club at Hazeldown.
2014 was to be a year jumping into the unknown as C Division awaited the 1st XI & a few new additions strengthened the 2nds. The 2nd XI would be the side that would take the plaudits though as Rob Larkman would finally lead them to promotion in a fantastic season for all players involved! The 1st XI did not meet their own high expectations but none-
It's now 2015 and big changes have been made once again in what looks like a throwback to 4 years before, a star batsmen is leaving to seek higher level cricket and all members of the club wish Seamus very well wherever he decides to play. Also a new 1st XI captain will take the reigns, Craig Greenwood is stepping down after taking the team as far as he feels he can with 3 promotions in a row surely securing him a place in what will be a great history of SOCC! A massive thank you to Craig for what he has done for 'Craig Greenwoods Barmy Army!' the determination and ethos he brought to this group of players will not be forgotten and we all hope Mark Couch can continue to bring success as the new 1st XI captain for 2015! Onwards and upwards to a new season ... what will the future hold for the Optimists? COYO!