The 2019 Kingswood RFC AGM was held on the 22nd May at HQ and there was a good representation from all sections of the clubs playing spectrum.
Chairman Derek Golding kicked off proceedings with the season’s roundup and by thanking exiting Club Captain & Coach Mark Oakley & Dave Tomlin respectively, for their efforts over the past few years. Thankfully neither Mark nor Tommo are going anywhere and both club stalwarts will still be heavily involved in one way or another.
Enforcing change, we have an exciting new Playing Management Committee with Chris Finn as Club & 1st XV Captain, Sam Maddison as 1st XV Vice Captain, Owain Beacham as 2nd XV Captain, supported by Dave Strickland as 2nd XV Vice Captain. Stuart Bailey keeps his Role as Senior DoR (encompassing 1st, 2nd, Vets, Walking & Touch Rugby). Jim Hacker remains as Vets Skipper, Gemma Pope & Tracey Jones takeover as Touch Co Captains and John Thomson remains as Walking Rugby Chairman. Thanks also went out to Jason Carter for his work with expanding the Touch Rugby at Kingswood RFC and his efforts over the past couple of years. Also, to Jim Hacker for making the Vets team a viable entity last season and to John Thomson & his team for the explosion of Walking Rugby at the club and its continued growth.
For the first time in many years we have continuity within the committee for the coming season, with all incumbents staying in role. Chairman – Derek Golding. Vice Chairman – Tom Lovell. Hon Secretary – Glyn Howell. Hon Treasurer – Paul Nicol. Snr DoR – Stuart Bailey. Women’s & Girls DoR – Nick Hodge. Mini & Jnr DoR – Mark Beresford. Thanks were passed onto all committee members and of course Richard Caines as President and non-exec committee member.
Despite overall subscriptions not quite covering the cost of playing, we recognise the need to be competitive locally so are pleased to announce that annual and weekly subscriptions will not change for the 2019/20 season. All annual subscriptions will be done through GMS and Tom Lovell gave us a presentation on the simple steps to follow, where payment options, family packages, etc are available. A video and instruction document will be publicised shortly.
There are still many people who use the club that are not members, so everyone needs to encourage others to join and enjoy the many benefits you get as a member of Kingswood RFC.
We also need to promote the Easy fundraising page when shopping online and the clothing bank near the clubs entrance, as both of these give the club additional revenue
Recruitment incentives for the coming season were explained - Student Rugby for 16 to 24yr olds will be just £1 per season, with no weekly subs. All new Snr members (1st & 2nd XV players, not Vets, Walking or Touch) will enjoy their first year at a 50% discount for annuals and their first game at the Big K for free. Any existing member that introduces a new signing for Snr Rugby only (1st & 2nd XV) will enjoy a £20 credit on their membership card to spend at the club.
Bar prices will remain the same for the foreseeable future as last years slight increase has had the desired effect. Membership discounts on bar purchases continue.
We will continue the massive amount of work and cost for the upkeep and preventative maintenance of the grounds and pitches and will also continue to hire a winter training facility. This outlay has meant that only a handful of games across all sections were cancelled last season due to bad weather, so a valuable investment indeed.
The new lease is finally in place and secures the club at Grimsbury Rd for the next 25 years, with automatic renewal beyond that. The planning permission was granted during the season and work has begun on Phase 1 with the expansion and resurfacing of the car park, plus the installation of a mains gas supply. Work on Phase 1 will continue this summer with the additional floodlighting to enable a bigger training area at the club, plus CCTV installation and new gas showers.
The plan for a new build, 4 room changing facility, change of the existing 4 changing rooms into 2 refurbished rooms (all to RFU spec) hasn’t changed. Neither has the plans for expanding the social area and bar, however funding streams have changed considerably in the years it has taken us to get through planning and lease, so a lot more work needs to be done to secure enough funding for Phases 2 & 3 of the Project – more news to follow as we get it…..
Stuart Bailey, Mark Beresford, Nick Hodge, Jason Carter & John Thomson all addressed the audience relating to the various sections of the club.
Kingswood Knights continue to grow and now boast in excess of 300 boys and girls ranging from 5 to 17. The emphasis on learning is still based on fun and not winning at all costs, yet we have still had over a dozen boys and girls playing representative rugby across the county. The amazing events that the club organise for the children have continued and been very well supported and include Halloween Parties, Christmas Panto, Easter Egg Hunt and Mini & Jnr Tours. Fundraising has again been brilliant this year thanks to all the amazing volunteers and the Knights have raised over £3k to help with the running of the Mini’s, Jnrs & Girls. Continuous improvement is as always, a massive priority and school liaison, recruitment, fun days, coach development and supporter development are at the top of the list for the summer and all of next season. Next season will be exciting due to the 2nd year Colts beginning their careful transition into the adult game – something the club has been looking forward to for many years.
The 3 Girls age groups have seen continued increase again this year with a rise of around 10%-15%. We have attracted girls that play alongside us as a cluster proving that teaming up can work as long as we are the driving force behind it and that we are fully engaged with the parents. Continued difficulty with the duel and triple age bands especially at U18 where a 15 year old girl can be playing alongside and against an 18 year old girl – quite simply dangerous and the RFU need to do something soon. On a sad note we have seen some of our girls that made the county grade being poached by coaches in key positions within the county setup. The RFU are aware and hopefully working to make sure it doesn’t happen going forward. On a much brighter note it shouldn’t be too much longer before we see a Kingswood RFC Women's team again.
The Touch Team had another very successful year with plenty of support, great players and loyal volunteers. The O2 Touch is also still going strong and despite RFU funding dropping off next season, it looks to still be viable that we stay as an O2 Touch Centre. With 2 teams entering into the summer league at Bath this coming year the Kingswood Touch Team also look to be flying as well.
The Walkers had a very successful season on and off the pitch, joking that they had taken over the clubs trophy cabinet. They have attended and hosted festivals all over the south of the country and had enough numbers to enter 2 squads each time. Winter training was well supported and even recorded 28 people on a dark December evening when it was -2c. Inclusiveness coupled with competitiveness has made Kingswood the side to beat and also got us recognised by organisations outside of Walking Rugby such as Active Ageing, LinkAge Network, The Department for Work and Pensions (Disability Advice) and The St Monica’s Trust – all of whom we have helped in one way or another. We continue to broaden our relationships with other Walking Rugby Clubs and as such will welcome Welsh sides to Grimsbury Road together with both old and new English friends. Roll on the summer and more Walking Rugby.
During the officer elections Chris Finn touched on summer training and next season. Pre-pre season Alternative Training starts in June on a Tuesday and Thursday, with the emphasis on fun, enjoying the weather and having a laugh with mates. The Colts will also be part of this and all training going forward to help build the bond between current and future team mates. Pre season starts in July and suitable trials games are being looked at as we speak. We are already entered into the 1st & 2nd XV leagues for next season and the 1st XV league structure is also now known, meaning all local games with minimal travelling. Coaching for the coming season is being brought in house and we will utilise some of the massive skill set we have within our own coaching infrastructure to initially deliver the sessions. These will be accompanied by guest coaching appearances based on the required skill set at a specific time. The Colts will keep their own identity and play their own fixtures against other Colts teams, however there will be an emphasis on organising transition games where Colts can take part in suitable 2nd XV fixtures. The lads performance, enjoyment and continuing development will be assessed after each game and a decision between coach, parent, player and captain will be made on the next game and amount of time each individual will have. Colts games and transition games will not happen on the same weekend.
In summary Kingswood RFC have had a positive season where we continue to grow and develop as a club. With the back office work ticking along nicely and the logistics and fundamentals now in place, we can start to reap what we have been sowing for what seems an age.
If I were a betting man, I’d put our 1’s mid table next season, looking at promotion by 2022 – by which time we will have a Ladies Team with girls feeding in from u18s and a steady flow of Colts into the Snr male setup.
To reinforce this, we are still the only club in the area with the unique offering of Rugby for all sexes across all ages (in the most).
I look forward to seeing you all over the summer and next season…..
NB: Full AGM minutes can be obtained from SecretaryKingswoodRFC@outlook.com