Season 2021 - It's a wrap!
Good evening all,
The weather over the last week has underlined the fact that, sadly, the 2021 season is finally over.
We squeezed every last drop out of it and made the very most of the time we had right til the very end of last weekend.
Despite a few issues with the weather at various points, by and large we managed to get through a lot of practice and matches from April til the end of September across Youth, Men's and of course the newly formed Coyotes Women's section.
On behalf of the whole club and committee, I'd like to take a few minutes to thank the many people who have made all this possible as well as looking forward a bit to what's in store between now and the start of the 2022 Season.
Overall, volunteer numbers have vastly increased this year and this is great to see. As the club grows, the workload also grows and it's been valuable that so many people have stuck their hands up and helped keep the momentum going in our mission to keep improving all aspects of the club.
It would be a long evening if I listed everyone and what they have contributed but I will give a shout out to as many groups and individuals as possible:
1. Lets start with the Pitch/Ground..... huge shout out as ever to John Cartledge for his many many hours lovingly tending to the square and ground in general. His job has got a lot tougher with the demand for pitches and facilities ever growing. Whilst he might not always appear delighted that Lou has organised another Coyotes friendly at short notice (!!), his dedication to the club is incredible and we have utilised the square (and cut strips on the outfield) as much as we reasonably can - often with multiple matches on the same day and even at the same time. All this is done completely voluntarily by John with Jordan also giving up many many hours assisting him.
2. The various committees. As you might be aware we have organised ourselves this year a little differently to reflect the growth of the club. This is something we will look to build on and enhance over the winter.. But a big thank you to all the committee members as well as the people helping on the Men's and Youth Sub-committees - all of whom make sure there is sufficient cricket to play!.
3. Kevin Golding - our long-suffering Treasurer. This really is a thankless task - so I'm thanking here on behalf of everyone. Kevin's diligence and dedication mean we have a tight reign on our money, make sure everyone pays their way and gives confidence to the members and committee that we have a really strong financial basis from which to launch further development plans. Please do not underestimate how much work goes into running the finances of a club like us. The removal of cash (almost) has helped but there are still 100's if not more transactions and issues for him to deal with through the bank and card machines. We will look to add some support to Kevin in terms of subs and match fees collections next year. Look out for more news on that.
4. All the youth coaches and support helpers. The Youth Section is now really gathering pace and we are producing youth players ready to play adult cricket. From All-stars to under 15's we have a great group of boys and girls who are all learning the game and developing as people and into great teams and friendship groups. So much credit goes to all the coaches and the many people (some still youth players themselves) who help on a Tuesday, Friday or matchdays. Credit to all the children and the parents for the time, dedication and enthusiasm. The end of season awards presentation on Club day was a great example of what we are building and anyone who witnessed the coaches speeches will not fail to have been impressed and possibly a little emotional, too. I definitely had "something in my eye" by the end of Vijay's speech.
5. The Men's captains and selectors plus fixtures secretaries. 23 weeks of organising upto 6 teams and 6 fixtures per week. This is a big job. We are a big club now and getting bigger and keeping so many players happy, keeping to our club ethos and getting 66 people on the field every week is not easy. Thanks to all involved in making this happen. On the field, the ONES came agonisingly close to winning the Berkshire League whilst the 2's and 3's both enjoyed relative success at times. We also gave lots of playing opportunities to youth players, particularly on Sunday's which bodes very well for the future.
6. The Coyotes. What a breath of fresh air this has been for the club. Huge shout out to Matt Jones who combines a real job (I assume he still has that after this summer) with coaching about 3 youth teams as well as being the main driver behind getting the Women's section off the ground with uncountable hours of teaching, coaching, planning, umpiring etc as well as actually playing cricket himself. As well as Matt, we have a group of ~25 women, all complete novices just 1 year ago, who are now Berkshire softball champions. Incredible progress. Thanks to all those who have played, created a huge Coyote culture and embraced the club so much. Everyone who has been part of it has helped get us to where we are but undoubtedly one person has injected a huge amount of energy, enthusiasm, buzz, call it what you want. So a big thanks to Lou Roberts for rocking up at the start of the summer and within weeks had bought every bit of merch possible and then took on the task of organising fixtures. An incredible job and has really helped get us to where we are. In addition to this there have been lots of people from across the club who have helped coach, umpire, score etc for the Coyotes. Thanks everyone!
7. The Bar and Kitchen Team. An incredible year for "Bo's Bar". Bo and his team has been extremely busy every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer. Well done to all involved in selling, cooking, serving, buying etc etc. The bar is massively important to the club - not only financially but it has helped cultivate a "club culture" - something that had slowly crept out of Club Cricket. It's so pleasing to see the Bar prospering like it has this year. Plans are afoot for improvements for next year to make the offering even better. Great work all!
8. Everyone else..... Just going through it in my head - so much has happened this season. We had an incredible turn out back in April over several days to get the club ready for the new season. So many people came and helped making St Sebs look great and get the ground ready. It seems a long time ago. Too many to name all but want to really thank Gill (Bill) O'Loughlin (and Jules) for the efforts on the flower bed as you enter the field and the hanging baskets etc. It's little touches like this that make St Sebs a great place to come. Also completely unnoticed by most people, Jimmy Carson has spend numerous hours sorting out recycling and even more cutting back overgrown trees, hedges and bushes around the site throughout the Summer. Also anyone who has helped at one of our events, has updated online content such as social media, anyone who has stayed on at the end and helped clear up, anyone who has donated bar stock, anyone who has help with purchasing of new things or even donated an engraved bell.... so much...
9. Last, but by no means least... Our long running sponsors NextGen. Massive thanks to Ross Chalmers and his team for what they have done for the club. As well as a new square a few years ago, they have continued to support us in many ways, especially with the technology we now have around us, such as CCTV, the infrastructure to enable our fabulous scoreboard and the AV solution in the bar. Lots of effort and FOC labour from the NextGen guys. Please look them up if you are interested in any home automation or work in a corporate environment that may require their services - NextGen Communications | Home (nextgencomms.net). Thanks guys!
So, as the curtain comes down on the season, there is plenty of work to do and plenty to look forward to...
1. The AGM will be at the start of December. Details will be sent in the coming days. Prior to this a lot of "behind the scenes work" will be going on to make sure we have sufficient structure, people and other resources in place to support the club in 2022.
2. The Club development plan continues in the background. Projects for funding and executing storage, nets, covers, mowers (plus some less expensive things) are all under way and will become a bigger focus now the season has ended.
3. Winter nets and coaching will be organised for all sections. On top of this Men's and Women's will be playing indoor league
4. An official Women's Sub-committee will be formed to build on the success so far. The team will be playing both hard and soft ball cricket next summer so we must ensure we have everything in place to support this.
5. We will look to utilise St Sebs for some social evenings over the winter. To do this, as well as looking after some of the big summer events, I am looking into forming an Events/Social Subcommittee.
6. The Annual Awards Dinner will be held on Friday 12th November at Bracknell Rugby Club. We are looking to go big on this with Men's and Women's section awards plus food, disco and an end of season Kangaroo court special. All are welcome to come and join us for this night. Big thanks to Lou (who else??) for planning this. Full details and invites etc will come out in coming days. Get the date in the diary for what should be a great way to round of the year.
7. We need to strengthen our Sponsorship and advertising options - especially banners and adverts on the scoreboard. We will be assembling a team to help facilitate this over the winter.
Well, that's a good 45 mins of my Sunday evening well spent typing that. Hope some of you have made it this far.... I've probably forgotten to thank someone important. Forgive me!
My final point is this... If you think you could add ANYTHING to the running of the club, however big or small, please let me know and I'll be delighted to discuss any ideas or opportunities! :-) We have gathered some great momentum in the past year but as always we can do so much more. We still have huge potential for improving what we do and how we do it.
Hopefully will be in touch with many of you over the winter.
Thanks for reading..
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