Friday 10th June 7:30pm
The Annex in Lydney
Can you all please make every effort to attend, so that you can have a say in the running of your club next year.
The Agenda and Minutes in from last year can be downloaded from the Downloads section.
The Chairman’s report follows :
CHAIRMAN’S REPORT TO THE 10 JUNE 2016 AGM
The 2015-16 season may seem a while away now – but time waits for no man or woman! Please see below my overview, as Chairman, of last season. (I have taken advice from last year and tried to make the report shorter in the hope that members will read it)! There is work to do.
There were some notable successes for our Club last season, at a time when our membership numbers have fallen significantly. This is credit to those within the Club who give it their time and commitment.
The previous 2014-15 season for us was notably good, with promotion for the Ladies 3s and consolidation in the leagues for all the other teams, most importantly, the retention of our Mens 2s in the Marches 2 division. With the subsequent loss of a number of players last summer, maintaining this momentum was going to be challenging.
This difficulty began last summer when after 9 men left the Club, the Men’s section collectively agreed that we would be unable to field 2 adult teams for 2015-16 and so the Mens 2s were withdrawn from the League. We have also endured a drift away of some young players in recent seasons to mainly Gloucester HC. Sadly, this has had the knock-on effect of reducing our Badgers numbers, as some parents, seeing that their children no longer had an adult team for them to easily move into, have moved them to Gloucester. The Badgers has run this season, but with commonly only 5-8 attendees at training and we have therefore been unable to fulfil any fixtures with other Clubs. Reuben and Ellie Penfold have done a wonderful job each week maintaining the training, however, they are both going off to College in September and so we are looking for members to take over the running and coaching of the Badgers next season.
The Mens 1s had a difficult season, after the loss of so many players and competing in a league where there are some good teams. Chris Aldridge did a good job in raising a team each week but we are relegated after 2 seasons in the 3rd tier Conference North Division. I believe for now the Marches 1 division for 2016-17 will better suit us, as we seek to re-build the Men’s section.
With regard to the Ladies, yet again our 1sts continue to “over achieve”. 4th in the West’s top league for a Club as small as ours is truly amazing and I think sometimes we take for granted what this team has achieved in recent years. The 3 clubs who finished above us all have National League heritage and large infrastructures and resources. We are highly regarded across the West for our Premier 1 performances and behaviour and I suspect we again may have won the umpires’ Hospitality Trophy. We should know by our AGM.
Take a look at the table
There are a lot of good Clubs below us….
My personal congratulations go to Emma Biddle, again quietly and efficiently managing the group, and to the whole team too for another excellent season. They are a credit to the Club and to Lydney.
Our Ladies 2s and 3s have, I think, experienced an up and down season – a reflection mostly of very mixed availability of players, a series of injuries, together with one or two retirements. Jane, Sam, Donna and Bridget between them have held the teams together, with mixed results and we should appreciate their concerted efforts. I do hope next season, player availability will be more consistent to allow both teams to challenge the top of their divisions. Although with Sam Zala leaving the Club, there has been a subsequent drift away of a few ladies members, which is regrettable. The 3s therefore have blooded a number of Vixens and the move up to adult hockey can be challenging. It takes time and patience and good nurturing to develop these young ladies. Avonmouth away in November in sleet is often a very different experience to a Vixens training game!
I believe the main priority for next season for the Ladies is to empower the 2nds to seek promotion, so that the gap between our 1s and 2s is slowly bridged. Succession planning for our 1s now is crucial in order to maintain our status as a top West Club in forthcoming years.
The Vixens this season have been very ably managed by Elaine Creed and well-coached by Amy Biddle, to whom all the girls have responded well. They are an enthusiastic and committed group, many of whom have been with the Club for years, having moved up from the Academy. They have fulfilled all their fixtures this year and often had very good numbers for games and at training. Some are now training and playing Ladies 3rds and the prospect for their progress into the adult sides in coming seasons looks good, providing we have “senior” players on hand to nurture them.
I have continued to run our Academy, ably supported every week by Reuben – a real asset to the Club he is! Erin O’Connell and Lydia Matthews too have both helped at times and most recently the very keen Emily Chivers. My thanks to them and to Jeremy and Jane Box for their support.
Numbers have been good at Academy – usually 25-30 for the younger group and 16-20 for the years 8-10. We have also run for all three terms for the younger group again – 31 weeks. This part of our Club continues to be very important, with little hockey in most schools, we must “grow our own” to survive and thrive in the future. The fees account for close to 25% of Club income. Attendance numbers are restricted however, due to a lack of coaching support and this will remain the case until more volunteers are found and as Reuben is going to University this year I won’t be able to run the Academy next season at all without help.
Our “Outreach” hockey coaching in primary schools has continued around the area and below is an excerpt from David Penney’s report to me for your information:
“Outreach has been sparse this year, mainly because of a need to take things a bit more easily. Cath Hutchinson continues to coach at her two schools – Pillowell/Blakeney and a Gloucester school. Sam Zala and I have been (and still are) in Bream.
The November EH tournament saw ten teams taking part from eight schools. For the March tournament, eight schools put in a team each. I shall have to ask Sam who won each tournament as I cannot remember accurately. It is encouraging to see that there is a core group of eight schools that regularly have taken part this year.
Thanks for both tournaments are due to The Dean Academy for the use of the pitch and for the provision of Sports Leaders, without whom the tournament could not and would not have taken place.
Thanks for support from the Club are due to a very small and very select band: you, Cynthia and Marcus Jones, Sam Zala, Cath and Marcus Hutchinson, Abby Jones and “Windy” from the Ladies 3rds. I find it a matter of regret and frustration that others in the Club either refuse or fail to see and support this valuable source of future members for the Club.
Notice is given that someone else will now have to take over the organisation of the Outreach coaching as well as the EH and the Club tournaments as I am stopping doing so with effect from the end of the school year.”
For some years David et al have run these coaching sessions, rain or shine and I truly believe we should be very grateful for all the work that they have done. It brings children to our Academy and promotes our Club in the region when we particularly need it now and in the next few years.
Youth Representative Honours;
Gloucestershire U17 JAC – Lauryn Collins
Gloucestershire U15 JAC – Annie Lord
Gloucestershire U14 JAC – Anna Hamilton
Annie and Anna will be JAC for 2016-17 and I have proposed Emily Wilcox and Millie Watkins to the GHA for U13 JDC in June 2016. Well done to all of these girls.
I could here sadly cut and paste the section on coaching from my report last year. It laments our lack of coaches, our lack of qualified coaches, no Coaching Officer for 5 years, not all coaches DBS cleared in contravention of our Safeguarding Policy and EH’s affiliation rules. Reuben has coached the Badgers, at the Academy and sometimes Mens and Ladies sessions this year and is leaving this year for University. We need to fill the resulting gap.
Hugh and I drew up a Job Description and Person Specification last summer for a paid Club Development Officer, as agreed at our 2015 AGM and recruited Ruth Canham – an able and personable Hartpury College undergraduate. Her brief was to fill the gaps where our Club was falling down; DBS clearances, publicity/match reports, EH coaching course, umpire courses to name a few. However, Ruth stopped at Christmas by agreement after receiving little or no encouragement from members where she needed support and co-operation. Ruth didn’t understand why there was a collective disinclination to improve the Club….. I personally regret that we were unable to benefit from this initiative.
I have received no report in detail about how our umpiring has fared this year. Jeremy though has done an excellent job in ensuring all our matches were covered where Club umpires were needed. With no Mens 2s or Badgers games, it has been a little easier with usually only 1 or 2 home games to cover each weekend.
Thanks to all who umpired. However, 5 of our Club Level 1 umpires did not submit cards this year to maintain their panel status. One, Keith Bushell, has now retired from umpiring and so we have only 4 currently able to umpire league games from September and this needs to be urgently addressed. I have written to Keith on behalf of the Club to thank him for his service. Please remember that if you umpire at least 6 games for the Club in a season and also play, you do not pay the £95 membership fee.
I believe relations with the Leisure Centre have been OK this year. Good communication is key regarding any changes/cancellations. The pitch has been OK too with no need for dotted lines to be re-painted due to the rule change. The dugouts though are now very poor and we should seek to establish if they are to be repaired or replaced this summer. They are of little use currently and don’t advertise our Club at all.
The Academy Trust that runs the School has recently changed and the previous Head removed. I had agreement with him last year that we could install a pitchside container for kit storage but this provision will now need to be re-addressed.
A few issues have arisen this year about our post-match facilities, although generally feedback is OK. We are charged only £25 per match for say 26-30 teas including umpires, so I think our expectations should be realistic. If we want better teas, we will need to pay more and/or move location. Amy Biddle and I have discussed other options and this needs to be explored and then decided by our Committee before Club Day in early September.
I have heard a rumour that we have won the WCWHL Premier 1 Umpires Hospitality Award again, so we aren’t doing too much wrong and we should celebrate that! Spread a little sugar on it!
As has been included in the AGM Agenda for June 10 and as required by our Club Constitution, election of all Club Officers is required each year to form our Committee.
At the time of writing, I have received no indication of any proposed candidates. Clearly, this is something to be addressed at the AGM.
I wish to extend my personal thanks to all those who have supported me and contributed to the Committee and the running of our Club over the last year.
The receipt of membership forms and subs this year was slower than ever this year. It made a lot of extra work for Helen, our Secretary and the Committee as a whole. We have had difficulties all year in establishing what our membership is, especially with the men.
However, based on membership forms and subs received, we had 19 men members (including non-player and life members) but also 6 men who played for the Club this year but did not join it. We have had 65 ladies, including Vixens but excluding Academy. In 2014-15 we had 34 men and 55 ladies. The data speaks for itself. Clearly, we do need to look after the men’s section very carefully.
For information, as we report age bracket data to EH each year; we have 4 men and 4 ladies over 50; 6 men and 15 ladies ages 30-50; 7 men and 20 ladies ages 18-30 and 2 men and 26 ladies under 18 excluding Academy. All Academy this year until the summer term were girls.
Marcus Jones has worked hard as Treasurer this year. A role made more difficult by irregular submission of match fees during the season. Our system for this needs to be more efficient and to be carried out by captains or appointed players keen to make the running of the Club as easy as possible for the Officers.
Marcus has compiled a set of summary accounts and balance sheet at the AGM and will give a headline report about income and expenditure areas. The picture is not as rosy as usual, as our membership is lower this year and so income is reduced – lower subs total, lower match fees with no men’s 2s and Badgers fixtures. A copy of the accounts has now been emailed to our full membership list and copies will be available at the AGM. Rob Hume has again looked over the accounts for additional expert validation and I am grateful to Rob for doing this for the Club each year.
I don’t propose a change to match fees and subs for next season, despite the dip in our reserves, but clearly this needs to be monitored closely for next year and beyond. In the 5 years I have been Chairman, this is the first year where we “traded” at a loss.
There is much that is good about Lydney HC. There are many good people too within it who put in a lot of time and energy to make it work. Unfortunately, this number is declining and the Club is creaking – look at this year’s accounts. The signs have been there in recent seasons but I feel we have made little progress in addressing the key challenges.
It is not all gloomy, but collectively we need to ensure that the Club remains strong so that we may enjoy playing and delivering hockey in this part of Gloucestershire. We need more coaches, umpires, players, but particularly volunteers – members to take some responsibility and give their time and energy to take the Club forward and to continue its improvement. Please consider what you might be able to offer prior to our AGM on June 10. I will see you there. The warning signs are there.