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 and family 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 Year We Go Again
Last year, the men 1's were unfortunate to miss out on promotion at the last hurdle, but we move on and go again, with our youth players learning each year. The Men’s 2nd XI had a good season, under Finn Kennedy to finish fifth and the 3rd XI bounced back from relegation to win 6SW and make a quick return to Division 5SW. Good seasons and a restructure of the South West Quadrant means that both the Men's 4's and Academy side gain promoted and the 6th XI achieved respectable top half finishes.
It was much the case of near missed in the Ladies Section, but unfortunately the 1st XI suffered from too many players leaving for University and despite a strong finish they were relegated back to the Five Counties League, but with the spirit shown in the last couple of months they look forward to a promotion push this season. The Ladies 2nd XI missing out by a couple of points as did the Ladies 3rd XI, missing out on goal difference, but the Academy side show the strength in our Youth section, with a second successive promotion, missing out on the title on goal difference. The Ladies 4's had a season of re-building - but look forward to the new season with great optimism.
At the same time, we nominated for East Herts Community Club of the Year for 2017 and have been nominated for the same award for the whole of Hertfordshire. Also individuals within the club nominated for awards on the same evening.
Our Annual Dinner at Westmill Farm was the moved on to a record attendance, with over 150 in attendance and our Youth section remains the envy of many clubs.
Finally we are starting to work with Haileybury School in a partnership that will benefit both parties in the short and long term.
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 TK shirts (Men), Blue TK 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 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.
We have now recruited a Youth Performance Coach, in Luke Camilleri, to guide the Youth Section through the next step in its development. He has a lot of experience and comes to us with great recommendation from England Coaches
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
We have increase all subscriptions for all sections this year to continue our investment in the playing side at all levels. Last year we had an excellent year as a club financially, but with the continued investment in coaching and the future plans for another Astro, we need to ensure that Cash-flow continues to improve, 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 new 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.