Chairman’s November 2007 AGM Report

November 16th 2007

Given that only some 8 months; nevertheless a whole playing season, have elapsed since I last gave you a Chairman’s Report, I have pondered long and hard over whether to dwell on the past, factual elements of the 2007 season or to spend more of my time in philosophising over where I would like us to be in the future, short, medium and long-term.

I suppose it is incumbent upon me to report on the highlights of the 2007 season, as I see them, and I have to say that there have indeed been some notable highlights. We do in fact have some individual champions among us, perhaps most notable being Louise Bradforth, not because she is yet again Women’s Champion (she will probably be one of the first to acknowledge that her fellow competitors were not anywhere close to her skill level) but because most impressively she was also the winner of the Treasurer’s Tankard against quite formidable opposition, to the point where, in a competition in which members of the Croquet Association were required to predict the most likely winners of the various Eights, nobody but nobody predicted Louise as winning the 4th Eight – she didn’t get a single vote! Congratulations, Louise, and well played.

Another champion among us is Andrew Willis, not at such a rarefied level as Louise, but given that he was only playing in his 3rd year since starting to play the game, succeeded in winning tournaments at Wrest Park in Bedford, our own Millennium Trophy at Bath and at the Budleigh Salterton week in August. With Mo Bell, he almost won the internal Handicap Doubles event here at Bath, but that’s another story ! Nigel Amos also came good in his class event at Budleigh, so between us all the future is starting to look brighter than it has done this season on the team front, where Bath did not produce the same good results as in previous years. Our Federation League team won its section, only to lose to Dyffryn in a semi-final play-off, our B League team won through to its final at Sidmouth, only to receive a beating at the hands of Nailsea, our Intermediate team had decidedly intermediate results and our Parkstone Trophy team managed yet again to be relegated to the lower division, although I can say, with some considerable satisfaction, that we did achieve one win and that was against the eventual winners of this year’s Parkstone Trophy (Bristol) – I am told much to the disgust in hindsight of Bristol’s captain David Goacher!!!

Much of this information, including items that I have not mentioned, is readily available on the Bath Croquet website and for this facility I would like to pay tribute to Dan Mills who has clearly worked hard over the last few weeks to bring it up-to-date. I would also like to pay tribute to Dan’s success at the beginning of the season with his PR campaign for attracting new members, a recruitment campaign that resulted initially in some 37 people signing up for the beginners lessons. In this regard, I would also like to pay tribute to Bob Whitaker and Mike Cope for coping so admirably with such a large number without getting any minor apoplexy – at least not all of the time. We finally achieved a substantial increase in membership as a result and, accordingly, further tributes must be made to Jean Tanser and Mo Bell for the excellent spread that they laid on for the Fun Evening that was held in early June to welcome and integrate the newcomers into the Club. I have to say, with a certain amount of pleasure on their behalf and on behalf of the other club members who were instrumental in making the evening a success, that our President on that occasion referred to it as being the most enjoyable social club event that he had attended since joining Bath Croquet Club 12 years earlier.

Good use was made of the gazebo, following its introduction during the Walter May Doubles in mid-May, and it was put to further good use during the Autumn Salver tournament, when the 2 good ladies already mentioned once more were able to repeat their culinary delights of early June with an al fresco supper, about which a number of our visitors from other clubs waxed eloquently lyrical. Mind you, none of this could have happened without the sterling work of the likes of Michael Brown, Nigel Amos, Richard Stopforth and Roger Bell, who had been willingly volunteered to put the gazebo up in the first place!

I started off by saying that I would like to spend a little time in speculating upon where we might be going in the coming years. Do you realise that the Bath Croquet Club was founded originally way back in 1896? It was resurrected in 1976 and Bath Croquet has certainly begun to blossom in recent years on the broader CA front, with the introduction of CA Tournaments. I can tell you now that we are going to add yet another in 2008 in the form of a “B” class advanced level tournament, which will start to bring us into line with some of the leading clubs in the country.

Additionally, it has been a particular hobby-horse of mine that this Club needs, indeed deserves, a proper club house to enable its members and visitors alike to enjoy the full benefits of the superb venue in which we find our playing area. Where else can you find a better and more majestic backdrop to a game of croquet than Bath Abbey? To achieve such a club house will require a lot of time and effort and willingness on the part of the
membership as a whole, not just on the part of your committee and a few willing volunteers. I am sure that I can look forward to receiving that support from you all in the months to come.

Thank you,

Roger Hayes