MATT Small has been re-elected as King’s Road captain for a second year after holding off a strong populist challenge from Lewis Robinson.
The opening bowler, seen as the “establishment candidate”, followed up last year’s successful South London Ashes-winning season with the backing of members as the result of the 2016 captaincy election was announced at the club AGM today.
Smally immediately paid tribute to a last minute campaign endorsement from South London’s favourite fried chicken firm Morley’s that may have pushed him over the line.
Following the result revealed at the Latchmere pub in Battersea, he tweeted: “Big love to Morley’s.”
The campaign, dubbed the Road’s first social media election, was largely played out over Twitter and spawned a series of memes which did the rounds.
Lewis, the club’s fixtures secretary, was gracious in defeat and paid tribute to his rival online saying: “Congratulations on your well deserved captaincy victory – KRCSC retains a quality leader.”
Lewis had promised to “Make King’s Road Great Again” in a #racetotheorangehouse campaign that drew comparisons with Donald Trump’s headline-grabbing bid to be named the Republican Party’s Presidential candidate.
In one Trump-like pledge, he said: “Oh wow. One of our policies, if we win, will be to build a GREAT BIG WALL around Battersea to contain those Badgers. AND make them pay for it.
But that hard-line approach appeared not to strike a chord with The Road’s diverse and mostly secular electorate.
Questions were repeatedly asked whether Lewis, the “non-establishment” candidate, had the experience and commitment necessary to be named captain of King’s Road.
Indeed as the campaign entered its final hours one issue dominated discussions – Lewis’s availability.
In an exchange conducted over email, Jamie Keating, a long-term ally of Smally, suggested that Lewis’s attendance record would count against him and a vote for the all-rounder would in fact mean keeper Dan Sherman taking the reins for most matches – something he said “no one wants”.
Keats said: “You have only played twelve game for the road in two seasons…
Does a vote for you as captain actually mean a vote for you to be in charge for 7 matches and Dan SHERMAN for the remaining 12… No one wants that.
“Please advise on your anticipated availability.”
In response, Lewis said: “Appreciate the point – Keats, my anticipated availability is 20 / 22 matches. Cricket is my #1 priority this summer – I won’t subject you to too much of Sherman’s leadership.”
However that pledge appears to have failed to reassure voters.
Smally, in comparison, was largely uncontroversial in his campaign knowing he could rely on a wide base of support within the club.
Having served for since 2014 on the club committee and held the office of chairman, the former fielder of the year was seen as a safe pair of hands.
In a three-line manifesto that ultimately swung the vote, he promised:
“I pledge to bring in a new tea selection (secret until I win).
“I will bring in the Mark Isham award for banter that deserve no clapping.
“There will be more charging points for Amir too. Power to the people/person.”
— Lewis Robinson (@LewRob90) March 6, 2016
— King's Road Cricket (@KRCSC) March 6, 2016
— Smally (@Matt_Smally) March 6, 2016