OLD Woking president Martyn Cutmore has revealed he feared for the future of the club as recently as 2018 – and he believes their survival is down to honorary treasurer Vic Shipp. 

Cutmore, who joined the club in the late 1980s and has been president since 1999, told the News & Mail: “In about 2018 and with membership decreasing, I thought we were going to fold. We were that close. 

“We were running out of money and then Covid came along and the grants suddenly appeared and we were able to redecorate the pavilion. 

“Vic organised all of that and basically saved the club almost single-handedly by getting to know where the grants came from and sorting out contractors, etc. 

“He’s very modest so he wouldn’t blow his own trumpet. But one year he was the winner of  our  club member of the year award, because without him there wouldn’t have been a club.” 

Shipp is a stalwart who has served the club in many capacities and has been treasurer for 30 years.

He said: “At the moment, the club is in a good place, as opposed to not that many years ago when we were really struggling and the future was looking pretty grim. 

“But now the club is on a sustainable footing. And being involved for so long, you want to see the club grow and flourish more than anything.”

The pair spoke to the News & Mail while watching an Old Woking second XI match in the Surrey Downs League, of which Cutmore is chairman. 

The seconds won promotion from Division Four in 2019. But in subsequent seasons they have failed to finish higher than seventh in the ten-team Division Three.

Old Woking chairman Jason Orriss, who has been affiliated with club since he was 11 years old, said of the second XI: “In the past few years we’ve struggled a bit. 

“We’re mid-table at the moment, which is obviously progress. And progress is the key word across the whole of the club at the moment.

“But the twos have had an injury which has rocked us a bit. 

“Matt Coomber, the team’s vice-captain, has broken his finger and he normally opens or bats at the top of the order. 

“So having him missing for the next six weeks is going to be a massive miss.

“His injury puts quite a bit of pressure on Nathan Dear, the captain, but he’s had some really good knocks this year opening. 

“And while he’s still learning about his captaincy, he’s got the enthusiasm and he really wants to try to push the team forward. 

“He’s doing a really good job and I love the energy he approaches the role with.

“Nathan loves his cricket and he’s certainly been a great asset since he joined us. 

“I’m hopeful that if we keep doing what we’re doing with regards to the twos, we’ll finish about mid-table – and that’ll represent progress. 

“Over the past couple of seasons we’ve gone into the final two or three games hanging on by the skin of our teeth, and somehow we’ve managed to survive. 

“Earlier in the season we won three matches on the trot – the first time we’ve done that since 2019.” 

Dear, 27, joined the club in 2019, having not played cricket since he was 14.

He said: “I feel we’re a bit stronger this year. And that’s reflected in the results because we really struggled at the start of last year. This season we’ve had some positive results and I think everyone’s enjoying it. 

“I’d say we’re doing better than I expected. 

“Over the past couple of years our target has been to try to stay in the league – and we’re towards the other end now, which is nice.”

Asked what would make the team a candidate for promotion in the future, he said: “Consistency. We play cricket as a hobby. It’s a full day to give up so it’s quite hard to get a consistent team out every week, but on our best days we can beat anyone.”

Reflecting on the highlights of the season so far, Dear said: “I didn’t play in our first two wins of the season, although I heard they were excellent.

“But for our third win I was there and the team were brilliant. 

“So I’d have to pick our home game against Wonersh [Old Woking won by six wickets] as particularly satisfying because they absolutely thrashed us twice last year, so revenge was sweet for sure.”

Starring with the ball in that game was opening bowler Priyank Jain, who took three for 11 off seven overs. 

He said: “I came to the UK in 2008 from India. Growing up in India, cricket is almost like a religion. I was playing it almost since I could walk. 

“There was a colony of houses where we lived and everyone used to come out at 6pm. 

“We were always available and we’d just start playing cricket by default. 

“So it was almost not a choice. We played hockey and football growing up as well – but cricket was the main game.

“I felt batting didn’t come naturally to me but bowling... I had the pace and everything since the beginning. 

“And I was quite accurate as a bowler and even now it’s mostly line and length and hitting the right spots, which matters a lot. 

“But back in India there was no swing in the ball or anything. When I came here I almost had to YouTube how to do the swing bowling – and now I’m swinging the ball both ways.

“In 2011, I found out about Old Woking. It was near my house, so I thought I’d give it a crack. 

“Since then I’ve been playing almost every year, mainly as a bowler. I enjoy playing with the twos and it’s been a fun 12 years.”