This season I want you to do one simple thing:win or lose in the right way.
Each year, Hertford seems to get more competitive at every level. But we’re also a community Club with a distinctive culture that’s precious to us. So, in this letter I’d like to say a few words about our expectations of members.
This could be another great one
Last year, the men had a season of consolidation, with the introduction of another team and the loss of a number of players at the top end of the club. After a slow start, the Men’s 1st XI had a strong second half of the season to finish fifth and the 2nd XI finishing a respectable sixth. Unfortunately a second promotion in 2 seasons for the 3rd XI proved too difficult. The Men’s 4th XI (technically the new team), managed to stave off relegation. The Development side and the 6th XI achieved respectable top half finishes.
It was much the same story on the women’s side, with our 1st XI, 3rd XI and 4th XI holding their own in their respective leagues, unfortunately the 2nd XI did not manage to stave off relegation this season, but the greatest success of the season was addition of a development side, and their successful league winning campaign – dropping just 2 points all season.
At the same time, we wonEast Herts Community Club of the Year for 2016 and have been nominated for the same award for the whole of Hertfordshire. Also individuals within the club picked up awards on the same evening, Elliot Barling, Teresa Bartram and James Rollins should be congratulated on this. Our Annual Dinner atWestmill Farmwas the best attended in the clubs history and our Youth section remains the envy of many clubs.
High expectations, on and off the Astro
Winning in the ‘right way’ means we respect teammates, umpires and the opposition, making sure everyone enjoys their hockey. Hockey has become more competitive and physical at all levels, resulting in a growing number of disciplinary incidents. Other clubs may push the boundaries of acceptable behaviour but there’s a line we don’t cross:
• No dissent towards umpires
• Stay on the field where you can affect the outcome of the game
• Don’t be rude to the bar staff when they ask you to drink up
• Don’t party so hard that you become a menace to others
In short, please don’t do anything that will trigger a disciplinary, which is humiliating for everyone concerned.
You’re a member of one Club, not one team
While we have team spirit in abundance, and we love that, your allegiance to the Club can take all of this to another level. Small gestures make a huge difference, like umpiring the juniors on a Sunday morning when it’s your team’s turn or writing the weekly match reports for the website.
The club has grown materially over the last few years and has over-achieved on most of the original development plan. We are now looking at the taking the next step forward as the club grows, and we are developing a new Five Year Plan – which will look at a number of things
- Coaching across the club
- Playing Status of the club
- Playing Facilities
- Community Links
The committee is always open to new ideas and proposals, and ideally a viable solution.
Already a number of people have volunteered a few hours of their week to help improve our communications, fundraising and umpiring – thanks! But we still need more help, so if you have the time and feel that you can help, it would be greatly appreciated.
As members, we’re expected to:
• Pay our subscriptions on time (Go Cardless)
• Wear the Hertford colours – Red Mercian shirts (Men), Blue Mercian shirts (Ladies) for all games, were possible.
• Leave the Astro tidy when we leave and lock up
• Look after visiting teams and make sure they get their teas first
A positive attitude towards selection helps too. Teams tend to succeed when adjacent captains work closely together, and we believe in the movement of players between squads to keep things fresh. If you’re asked to play for another team, or to welcome someone from another team, please accept the decision gracefully.
Start at 5, go on playing till you're 75
We’re all excited by the success of the junior section. We are becoming one of the leading clubs in the county and are now looking at how we build on our current success and moving forward how we develop the youngsters and meet their expectations. As a club we had over 10 youth players selected for JRPC as well as a number now playing 1st team Hockey.
Driven forward by a hard-working committee, the junior section is now challenging us to back their ambitious development plans – a natural focus for fundraising efforts this season. We are looking to launch a Corporate Partnership, where local business and individuals can donate a sum to the club to contribute towards coaching and equipment.
Show me the money
After last year’s subscription rise, we were able to fulfil our intention to keep our full adult subs at the same rate for the coming season. Cash-flow also improved last year, thanks to “Go Cardless” - the introduction of payment of subscriptions directly through the website. While you’re here, why not settle your subs now?
As well as Easy Fundraising we are looking to re-launch the “100 Club” this year and a further communication will follow on this.
Finally I think it is worth mentioning that over the last year, a number of members/parents and guests have said what a friendly and social club this is, both on and off the field. And that is credit to everyone involved in the club to make it so. We have a lot of successes to build on, and still a few things to put right, but we can do this together as a club. So please if you have concerns, come and talk to me directly and suggest realistic options that can help the club to continue its journey
I wish you every success for this season,
Nik Bentley, Chairman.