Chairman’s pre-season report

Chairman’s Notes, 2018-19

Can I extend a warm welcome to all our Members to the 2019-2020 Season. I think we approach this season with a renewed optimism, not only for our 1st XV, but the operation of the club as a whole. Can I also extend a very warm welcome to the officials and supporters of our opponents on Saturday, Wharfedale. May they enjoy our hospitality and friendship as always. But, before we get into Saturday’s enjoyment, let us spend a little time looking back on the past year and forward to the future.

Firstly, let’s look back on a very successful season, last year. The First XV finished a commendable 3rd in the league and but for a difficult start, we could have been challenging for a play-off place or even automatic promotion. A big thanks to Matt Bebbington, who stepped down as coach at the end of the season. We have appointed Scott Barrow to replace him as Head Coach, with Dave Livesey also joining the Coaching Team. We wish them both a great success in joining what has become an excellent Team.

The 2nd XV struggled a little in the League, due to a number of injuries to the 1st XV and the 2nd XV players, but ended up beating Lymn in an exciting the Cup Final. The 3rd XV finished 6th , in a league containing many 1st X. This despite losing several games early in the season by nearly 100 points due to the injury list higher up. The 4th Team finished 4th in their league it is certainly a target this year to move up from this league. In total, 82 different players put on a 4th Team shirt last year. Remarkable.

It should be noted that we were the highest placed 1st Team, 2nd Team and 3rd Team in Lancashire last year. A great achievement, as well as winning the Lancashire Club of the year award.

As we currently have an excess of players this year, we will be running more strollers games on Friday nights. Why not come along and support and have a pint afterwards. We are trying to increase focus this year on the Social side of rugby and are encouraging our players to stay after the matches. This may mean an increase in events early Saturday evenings, so please keep an eye out and support this initiative.

But is not just the playing side that has improved over the year. The facilities have also seen some major improvements. More work has been done on the pitches this summer and they are in the best condition I have seen these pitches at this time of they year. A big thanks is due to our team of Ground Team Volunteers for the efforts they have put in this summer. We should also see pitch 5 come into use this season, hopefully.

We have also been busy in upgrading our Clubhouse facilities. The Club Room has had the offices knocked down and has been completely redecorated throughout. A big thanks to HHSmith and Regency Factors for getting this work done. Work is also being done on redecorating the entrance, stairs and landing area, thanks to Geoff Roberts, Steve Chesney and Rory Gildae. There are many other smaller projects being carried out by our Facilities Team and if anyone has ideas for anything that needs doing to the Facilities, please send an email to or contact Rick Wilkinson.

We have not stopped there. To improve our Club Loyalty scheme (discount for Members) we have upgraded the Till system. This allows us to more easily change discounts and add special offers. In addition, members can now pay their Membership through the till. Talking of Membership, Bob Walters has agreed to be the Senior Membership Secretary for the coming year, helped by Dave Bulcock. If you need to pay your Membership Fee and get your Loyalty Card updated, please speak to Bob. He will be there most Saturdays, early in the Season.

Last Summer we integrated our Music and Beer Festival and due to hard work from a small team and some great weather it was a great financial success, bringing in a profit of nearly £15,000. It brought a crowd of over 2,500 people to Park Lane. We will build on this again next year and hopefully improve on this financial success as well. The club took over the Annual Golf Day, with excellent support from HHSmith, and it proved a great success again (despite the weather) and was bolstered by the EBBC who held their own successful Golf Day to raise funds for Club Projects.

After a couple of years work, I can now announce that we have agreed funding with the RFU to install a borehole at the rear of the Clubhouse. This will provide for all our water needs, including Potable Water, Showers and irrigation. We expect this to save us around £3000 / annum and will repay the investment in 5…6 years leaving us another revenue stream to add to the Solar. The target is to start this work within the next 2 weeks and for this all to be completed by the end of September.

I thank all Members for the continued support of our club, and hope to see this continuing over the year ahead.

Steve Ward, Chairman or 07891-637616

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