Updated: Oct 3, 2019
On Saturday 21 September, the nuptials of two of our hockey ‘royals’, Tom Bryant and Hannah Nicholls took place at the olde Castle of Clevedon. We wish them many congratulations and a blissful married life together. This must be an auspicious sign for the wider ‘coming together’ of B&W and Jaspers!
Away from the frivolity and heady intoxication of weddings, the hard grind of the behind-the-scenes preparations for the start of the season took place as usual. It seems to me that so far, those preparations have launched the new season for us with some swagger. Not least, both the men’s and women’s club captains seem to have pulled off the tricky juggling act of rearranging the squads without upsetting too many people. In the case of the women’s this was mainly due to the merging of the two clubs, and in the case of the men’s, rearrangements related to the integration of a large group of talented players who have come through our junior section, and of course those precious new members (welcome all).
You may by now have also noticed that we have a brand new Club website. Joe John took on the challenge to build something from scratch and I hope that you agree that after weeks of work by Joe, it looks fantastic (or at least fantastically orange). Please have a browse around it and give any feedback, suggestions (or indeed content such as match reports) to Joe or Mark Berry.
The summer was a time for many of us to do courses, such as those for coaching and umpiring. As I have said many times before, development of our members is a top priority and the Club will always look to pay for these courses. As a result of this policy, we now have a large and growing number of qualified coaches, and we are completely self-sufficient across all sections of the Club. Tom Bryant as head coach has already led the first coach forum, and more will follow as the season progresses. The aim is to increase the quality and consistency of the coaching that we offer, and I hope that you have already noticed the difference. A big part of the focus has been on coaching in line with EH framework – in particular the all important “Golden Thread”!
With regard to umpires, I know that there is work going on with Alan Coles and Stuart Bryant on the development side. However, we still need (and I suspect will always need) more umpires and if you are interested in how this can actually be an enjoyable and rewarding thing to do (no really), please do speak to one of them about it.
You may recall from my messages last year that we had started to enter into a closer dialogue with the school on the current condition and future of the pitch at Winterbourne. I am pleased to say that we are continuing to make progress. Following the refurbishment of the pitch surface carried out last year, the school have now contracted Verde Recreo to carry out regular brushing, cleaning and maintenance. I hope that you will notice the difference over the season. The school have also just ordered a set of top quality goals (we have offered a small donation) which should be delivered shortly.
Discussions and machinations concerning the floodlights are currently taking up quite a lot of my time and we hope to see some progress in that area soon. In summary, while they are OK, we want to increase the light level in some areas. However, doing this is proving a challenge (that I can bore you with further if you are so inclined).
There are loads of other things going on in the Club at the moment that you may or may not be aware of. These include the establishment of a new junior girls team (the “Vixens”), improvements in Club member communications, socials and fundraising to name a few. This is all in addition to everything on the governance side involved in us achieving ‘Club Mark’ soon. If you want to know more or get involved, please have a chat with me or anyone else on the committee