Steve Hale Batting.jpeg

Search On For New Chairman As Steve Hale Steps Down

After 34 years as a member of the General Committee, and 16 of those leading the club as Chairman, Steve Hale has announced that he is stepping down from the role the club will need to a new head for 2022.

The news was broken to the members at the Annual General Meeting which took place at the club on Monday December 6th and will have come as a bit of shock to many of the members in attendance both in person and via video link.

Steve certainly leaves his position with the thanks and the gratitude of the whole the club having given so much commitment over the years and he leaves the club in the best financial position it has ever enjoyed. On the field there was disappointment last year and the club is arguably entering a transitional phase as the next crop of young talent starts to push into the senior sides but with recruitment and retention high on the agenda for the coming months there is confidence the will quickly be addressed and the structures that Steve introduced in 2019 have given us a strong foundation to move forward.

Unable to attend in person due to work commitments Steve addressed the membership via letter...

Firstly, apologies for not being at the AGM this year but short-term work commitments have limited my availability recently

The 2021 was a transitional season as we came to grips with the evolving COVID situation throughout the season. As we moved from the tight restrictions at the start of the season to relative normality at the end of the season it was good to see more of what we would call a 'traditional' game day experience coming back into place. It is obvious that the COVID situation over the last 21 months has been challenging for everyone, so a massive thank you from me, and the Club, to all the committee members, captains. players and members who have pitched in and shown great resilience and perseverance to deal with the extraordinary circumstances we have found ourselves in.

On the pitch. It was always going to be a difficult season going into Div 1 cold with a season off, and Div 6 is always challenging for the 2nd XI given the nature of it and the travelling. It was disappointing that we did not hang on to Div 1 status and that we couldn't muster up more wins in the 2nd XI, but we did avoid relegation relatively easily. As always there were some strong performances across some of the games, but what was most pleasing was seeing the younger players coming into the 2nd XI and acquitting themselves well.

It is the youngsters which were the real success of the season. We took the decision to get outside help for the Colts last year and it has really helped kickstart that area of the Club. As well as success on the pitch, which I am sure Dave Hale will cover, Dave and Calley Foyster have learnt a lot from that experience, and they now have a framework in place to build upon in 2022. They also have plans to integrate the Colts more into the Club in general, which is much needed, and Calley is also looking to provide more opportunities for the girls and women. This is exciting for the Club and the base we need to build out our senior sides again. I urge you all to support Dave, Calley and the Colts section in any way you can - these guys are the future of the Club.

Although the accounts have not been completed for the year, we should remain in a relatively stable position despite the COVID impacts and a number of investments we made last year. The accounts will be covered in a separate meeting after Christmas; however, the Club cannot be complacent and we must continue to support Claire and ensure we do the right things. Building on our financial position means we can continue to invest going forward as well as pay off our pavilion extension loan.

Last year I highlighted three things in my report to improve in 2021 - Player Engagement, Colts and Improving the Member Experience. In the end COVID had more of an impact than we were anticipating last December, and out of those three the only one we succeeded in was the Colts. There is much more to be done on Player Engagement and Improving the Member Experience. That will be the challenge for the whole Club (NOT just the new committee) in 2022.

Finally, you may be aware that I have decided to step down as Chairman after 16 years in the role and to take a break completely from the formal Committee after being on it for the past 34 years. This has been a very difficult decision for me, especially given the challenges and opportunities the Club faces in the next few years. The time has come for fresh voices and fresh approaches - and for me to have a break. I am not stepping away completely, and I will continue to support areas of the Club in the background where my skills and experience can help, for example Claire with the accounts and Dave with the Colts. Of course, I am always available to support the bar too......

Thank you to the many, many people over the years who have supported me as Chairman, and good luck to the new Committee in 2022.