And so another season at Bromley and Beckenham HC draws to a conclusion and it is time to take stock, review the past year, and contemplate the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. My thanks to Dan Blackman, Sarah Jones and Andy Willis for penning reviews of the Men’s, Ladies’ and Junior sections respectively, which leaves me to appraise you of matters off the field.
In common with every other season, our financial situation is a cause for concern as it becomes increasingly difficult to generate sufficient revenue to meet our costs. Jo Read has done another amazing job in collecting subscriptions and match fees and whilst ensuring that our expenditure is necessary and realistic.
Unfortunately we are losing our main sponsor Torstone , and I would like to thank them for their support over the past 2 years. Their contribution has been a significant proportion of the £20,000 that we need to raise each year (above subscriptions and match fees), to pay for coaching costs etc. Needless to say replacing this revenue source is critical to maintaining our current structure and I implore everyone to make every effort to help in finding new sponsors. Every little helps.
It’s fair to say that frustrations concerning the kit deal with Puma have been felt and voiced throughout the club. Whilst the deal was arranged with good intentions and involved significant work by several members notably Charles Darby and Mike Bluett, the outcome has been to say the least, underwhelming. At this juncture however the Committee is of the opinion that the best way for the club to proceed is to continue with the Puma kit from the current supplier - Genesys. We recognise that the situation needs to improve in many regards and will be working over the course of the summer to be in a much better position for the start of next season.
Thanks to Andy Willis and Charles Darby for progressing our ClubsFirst application. This is an important step in developing the club and opening up new funding sources that are currently difficult for us to access. We hope to receive this accreditation later in the year.
Both the Mens’ and Ladies’ sections have made a significant effort to introduce more juniors into the senior sides this season. I believe it reflects well upon our club that juniors have been made to feel welcome and valuable members of all the senior teams.
Furthermore, I would like to thank the players in the both the Men’s and Ladies 1st teams who have contributed to the junior coaching effort, and helped motivate our youngsters to progress within the senior section. This is an important element in retaining junior members and in attracting them back to the club after university, travelling etc.
In return for this work, the junior section have contributed to the senior section and I hope that we can build on this level of co-operation and become a stronger, unified club with less distinction between senior and junior sections.
Our Club is an “Eton mess” of willing amateurs giving up their time to run things as best they can. As such, we require support from our governing body – England Hockey – whom we compensate handsomely through members’ affiliation fees. This season however has felt more like a battle with the central administration as we have fallen foul of player registration rules leading to docked points and flawed scheduling resulting in our being unable to field a side for the U18 National Plate finals. We recognise the need to have an effective working relationship with England Hockey but I firmly believe that it is in the interest of our Club to confront England Hockey in situations where we believe their actions require some form of censure.
So overall, whilst 2013/14 has thrown up its fair share of challenges, it should not be looked upon as a poor season. The Men continue to compete at National League level and the Ladies only just fell short in their quest to re-gain promotion from the East League. We have fielded 9 Men’s sides and 5 Ladies and Saturday nights at Brombeck knock spots off any other hockey club I can think of.
It is left for me merely to wish everyone an enjoyable off-season and please come back re-invigorated and ready to meet the challenges of attracting new players, lowering costs, increasing revenue, finding sponsors etc, etc, etc……..
Chris “Chopper” Harris