The start to this season was no less frantic than the last, with huge efforts by the captains to get sides together for friendlies. However, it seems it is not just us who struggle, one club this year actually cancelled at midnight on Friday! This year the club captain and the fixture secretary decided to spend most of September on holiday; they are not daft.
As a club we do seem to be slow to get going and it would be really great one season to actually reach the end of October with at least one team with a points tally in double figures. However, I’m confident that as with last season, we will quickly catch up.
It was a busy time for me and the committee over the summer with various preparations and plans, but there has been one particular project which has been a priority. Some of you may have noticed that all of a sudden there are a lot more ladies about? The reason for this is that we have agreed with Jaspers HC to work towards a merger next year. This has meant the ladies of B&W and Jaspers training together and now Jaspers are using the Ridings as their home pitch. If all goes to plan, we will fully merge next season in accordance with league rules. However, for the present, league rules will not allow any exchange of players (under any circumstances!) between the clubs. This does not extend to our social events though (I’ve checked the rules). So bowling at The Lanes on 17th November should see some strong ladies’ teams in pink.
At the start of the season we had a very successful umpires’ evening at a hotel in Bristol. David Elworthy of England Hockey came to speak to us and the club laid on free drinks and nibbles. Feedback from the evening was overwhelmingly positive and we are very grateful to David for making it such an informative and entertaining evening (Adam will be releasing a video soon). This is part of a club strategy to promote umpiring and to better support and develop those umpires we already have. As the club grows to 9 teams and with more playing at a higher level, the umpiring also need to develop. Dave Morgan, Adam Whitlock and Stu Bryant will now be driving the development of our umpires, which will hopefully make our umpire manager’s job a little easier!
As you will have noticed last season the club benefited from a large influx of new players and this, I am pleased to say, has continued this season. This has been bolstered by a group of ten or so under 16 who have come through our youth program (Academy seems to be the trendy word). It is also always great to hear of ex-youth players returning to the club several years later as their careers have brought them back to Bristol. Most recent rejoinders are Mark Sullivan and Ethan Davies – welcome home chaps!
Finally, for this Christmas we have something very special lined up courtesy of our Sponsor, Danco. Look out for details released soon, but in the meantime keep Sunday 2 December free!