1. Congratulations to the Men’s ‘A’ team on finishing top of their league and to the Mixed team for being runners-up in theirs. Well done to the ‘B’ team for trying hard and doing their best! At the time of writing this report the League structure for next season has not been confirmed but both the Men’s ‘A’ and Mixed teams should be promoted. The Division in which the ‘B’ team will be competing next year is not so clear, however. I have heard from two different sources that there may not be a Division 7 next season as at least one more team has dropped out. If this is the case then the current bottom three divisions (i.e. Men’s 5, 6 and 7) might be re-organised into just two divisions meaning the ‘B’ team would remain in Division 6. Thank you to Dieter, Lee and Neal for captaining the teams last year.
2. When it is time for the fixtures to be arranged, I shall once again ask team members for any holiday dates that they have booked between September and March. I shall try not to arrange any fixtures during school half-terms if possible. I appreciate that it is difficult to confirm when you will be away up to eight months in advance, but this seemed to work quite well last season with only a few players having to miss fixtures because of holidays or work commitments. I am away between 15th and 29th of August and am hopeful that the League structure can be confirmed before then so that I can organise next season’s fixtures before I go away.
3. If the Men’s Divisions are re-structured on the lines suggested above, it is likely that the Men’s ‘B’ team will have more fixtures to play but this may be offset by the Mixed having fewer. If this is the case, then the Club is going to need 16 Wednesdays for home fixtures (this number could slightly increase or decrease if the Divisions are organised in a different way). As I said last year, matches have an impact on club nights as obviously there are only two courts available for members. As only six play in the match there might be between ten to a dozen other members waiting to play on the remaining two courts. I shall ask all visiting teams to have two pairs ready to play at 8:00 p.m. Please will the team captains ensure that their team-mates arrive promptly and that games are underway by 8:10 p.m. and only use the third court if there are no more than six club members ready to play by that time. It remains my view that we must not put people off coming to play badminton on club nights – that is the lifeblood of the club after all. A fine balance must be achieved between being able to offer players competitive league badminton as well as making it worthwhile to turn up every Wednesday to play a good quality game of badminton on club nights.
4. I am unsure which two courts were used for matches last season. There seem to be advantages and disadvantages to whichever combination is decided upon. Please will the AGM confirm?
5. Our team shirts help to create a real identity for the club and it seems that more clubs are playing in ‘team colours’ too. I think that this looks good; creating an impression of unity and reflects well on the club. Personally, I would like to see more of our team players playing in BSP Drakes tops – this might mean having a supply of spares that the club can lend to players who do not have their own shirt.
6. Finally, I must say a big thank you to Stephen Kidd for the great work he has done for the club as Treasurer. From starting Drakes as a family social badminton club forty years ago, to the successful BSP Drakes club that we have today, Stephen has done a remarkable job in keeping the club going and ensuring it’s financial security for the future when many other clubs in the area are struggling to survive.