The Kenyan Match Fixers…
My first foray into Last Man Stands was in 2015, when as Team Organiser, I entered our team, Kenyan Match Fixers (long story…). It was a small league with just three teams. I’d been a bank manager for the last 18 years (I’m now a director of Affluence Finance & Cars), and I really enjoyed playing a new way of cricket with friends. We ended up winning the league and going to Northampton for the regional event. The rest is history, as they say…
After three more years, in 2019, having successfully recruited many more teams to the leagues, I was offered the Franchise in both cities. I knew it had greater potential, but I admit I had my reservations, due to having a full-time job…but 5 years on, I can say, it’s the best thing I have ever done and has helped me develop personally in my mission to grow my franchise.
New to Franchising
My first year as a Franchise Owner presented some common challenges (pitch hire, umpire recruitment and consistency, match fees, equipment, team recruitment) but I had that immense feeling of satisfaction from taking the leagues to the next level from a low base. I learnt a lot in a short amount of time. Each challenge I’d pivot and make any changes necessary. It helped to surround myself with trusted people who supported me along the way. Building strong relationships is a key part of being successful as a Franchise Owner, including the collaboration necessary with the local grounds/councils, teams, umpires, local clubs and local community. All are key to making your life and business successful.
Having a Clear Vision
When I took over in 2019, the leagues were very social with a few excellent teams in terms of quality. But my vision was very clear in that I want to build the strongest league in the country alongside the social league that I want to grow as well. In 2019 we had a team from Derby go all the way to the semi-finals of the England Nationals. Young Guns played very well in the semis, but experience won out when they came up against a team who had played LMS for many years.
The next year 2020, was very tough, with COVID making it very difficult for all leagues and teams, but we managed to run successful leagues in both cities and clearly were starting to get some serious players interested and joining the leagues. In 2021 the local leagues had attracted some key players including some Pros from Kesrick Williams (West Indies) International to Kamau Leverock (Bermuda) International, and many more coming locally.
Our first taste of success came from a team that made a massive statement on the global stage, TFC (Thanks For Coming), who won every tournament they entered, scooping the prize money along the way, to eventually finishing No.1 ranked team in the world. They did go to World Champs in Cape Town but unfortunately, they couldn’t maintain their winning streak due to missing some of their key players. They were exciting seasons though, and it threw our franchise into the limelight. We’ve had further great franchise representation over recent years. The 2021 regionals were won by Derby Stars, who were on charge and made an impact at the Nationals with Muhammad Zaroob finishing as the best player of the tournament. Unfortunately, they finished as finalists after losing to Pink Panthers.
Super League Arrives!
Last year 2023, we set up a social league in Derby and Nottingham, as well as a new concept, a Super League where we used our local knowledge of players to create a mini draft to establish six premium teams. The standard of this league was high and satisfied a demand. My vision was to have one of the Super League teams go as far as they could in (and hopefully win) the Nationals. The season was fantastic and saw some of the best cricket locally and at times there were breathtaking games which went to the wire. The leagues were a huge success, with Super League and regional winners, The Conquerors, going on to dominate the nationals at the Wimbledon’s fantastic ground. They won the tournament, becoming England National Champs with relative ease.
After national success, they were ready for the biggest stage of all in Cape Town, South Africa at the World Champs. They had a steady start, acclimatising and getting used to the local wickets. However, once on form, they showed their class and beat the world’s no.1 ranked team in a classic semi-final, finishing up as runners up. It is fair to say the vision of the Super League exceeded all my expectations and leaves a mouth-watering prospect for the 2024 season when I expect it to get stronger. I’d love for one of these teams to go all the way to become LMS World Champs!! There was a great feeling of celebrating local success when the Derbyshire Cricket league (DCCL), recognised the achievement following The Conquerors’ success.
The Buzz of Being an LMS Franchise Owner
I love being a Franchise Owner and am passionate about the cricket leagues I’ve developed. Creating leagues for differing standards, mean teams can compete at their own level so everyone enjoys their cricket. I really enjoy the buzz we have generated locally and the expansion of LMS including LMS Live Steaming, customised team kit, equipment and new teams signing up early because they cannot wait to play this amazing way of cricket.
A Winning Approach to Team Recruitment
Our approach to growth of LMS Derby & Nottingham involves our commitment to inclusivity, empathy, and understanding the unique challenges faced by cricket enthusiasts. By personally engaging with players, both on the field and by phone, we have gained valuable insights. Ours is a player-centric approach, ensuring that LMS in the Midlands provides a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment for all participants. We make onboarding as efficient as possible for our new players and teams, walking you through the whole process so you can focus on your team and your ambition, whatever that may be, for the season! It could be winning the league, or just getting out weekly to enjoy some cricket with your friends.
Having key personnel is very important and umpires play a major role in the success of our leagues. Being a qualified ECB umpire myself, I reiterate that umpiring can be the hardest job in the book!!! Luckily for us in the Midlands I have a great team - Alan Hussain, our main umpire works alongside our other umpires. They all do a fantastic job. Anyone keen to get involved, I highly recommend umpiring - you have the best view in the ground!!
Exciting Development in Derby and Nottingham for 2024
Last man stands is the world's largest amateur cricket league and with the mission and values we have as franchisees, we are only going to get bigger and develop every year to make cricket exciting!
• Additional new ground in both cities with brand new wickets for our normal leagues
• A brand new social league for our part time and pub cricketers
• More Live Streaming – additional investment in equipment
• New Umpires
• Super League with 2 new venues at cricket clubs so pitches will be exceptional
Are you a local business, interested in partnering with us in Derby and Nottingham? We have many opportunities for sponsorship available and would love to chat to you. Contact Maz or [email protected]