Message from Graham Callard - Club Chairman
It has been exactly one year since I took over as Chairman and much has happened in that time.
On the field we have delivered some great performances from under 6s through to the 1st XV. The 2nd and 3rd XVs achieved their highest ever position in the league pyramid. The Colts played some outstanding rugby with several players stepping up to senior rugby. We fielded sides at every age group, all well managed and very well coached. The highlight of the season was the 1st XV winning both the league and the cup, gaining us promotion to London South East 2 and beating our good friends and neighbours Heathfield & Waldron in the cup was very sweet indeed. This achievement, along with the very young age of our side, saw us win the Kent & Sussex Courier Team of the Year award just a few weeks ago.
As a club we have also hosted a senior county fixture plus several junior and age grade fixtures winning us great accolades for our organisation and hospitality.
What gives me a great buzz is seeing the number of kids we have playing the game and trying to spot the 1st XV stars of the future.
Off the field we have made great strides in developing the clubhouse. The interior decoration is much improved but very much work in progress. The demolition of the old clubhouse has improved the exterior view, as has the ongoing work on the pitches and grounds.
Sandy continues to run the bar and catering brilliantly with the league lunches winning much praise from ‘home’ and ‘away’.
Andrew Hunter is working hard with very limited resources to keep the pitches in good order and I think we can all see the fruits of his labours.
Under the expert guidance of Richard Lambert we are in robust financial position and our not insignificant debt is very much under control. This season we have introduced some quite stringent accounting procedures and these are working well and we have gained some good kudos from HMRC as a consequence. I know many of you felt they were draconian but I make no apologies for ensuring we have the best possible business practices in place.
The saddest matter I had to deal with was Dave (Baloo) Bennett leaving the committee. Dave had made a significant contribution to the club as a whole, and the junior and minis in particular. Even now there are some tasks we still haven’t allocated as a consequence. There is an open door for Dave if he ever wishes to return to the committee.
Not everything has been perfect however. The introduction of our new kit supplier was managed badly, especially vis a vis our excellent relation with Stephen Holliday at Final Score. I personally take full responsibility for that. Equally the introduction of the on-line shop has taken longer than planned and has been plagued with clitches.
We also have much to do. The car park needs to be finished off and the entrance way redesigned. Both are in hand but due to budget constraints are taking longer than hoped. Likewise the decoration above the bar has been delayed on several occasions. We hope to have this completed by Christmas.
Communication remains fraught with issues and is our Achilles heel. We now have a database that works and are populating it as fast as we can. The Exec also needs to communicate more frequently than we do. I have a great following on my blog but this is far from ideal for mass communication. We are working on this aspect of club management.
We as a club also need to look at how we treat our assets and resources. My continuing ‘beef’ is about expensive kit such as tackle bags and shields being left out in all weathers, equally about how we don’t tidy up after ourselves in the changing rooms, and how some people are happy to make a complete mess of the clubhouse when it could be avoided.
The bottom line is we are going in the right direction. Arrogantly yes, but I think we have a great Exec managing the club, we have outstanding volunteers, many often unsung heroes, we have great players, coaches, team managers and supporters and we have excellent sponsors and advertisers.
There are too many people to mention by name but I will thank Beacon Security and Kitch for their support. Geoff Dagwell through Ditchling Press and his own personal contribution make a huge difference for us. Andy (Bones) Barker, Colin Forster, Nick Oldham and Ian Geering need a mention for all they do for the club. Paul Adams, Aaron Faramus and Mark Wilson also need our thanks. Finally the junior and minis coaches and support teams are just brilliant.
CRFC would be nothing without the hardwork and commitment of all its members and staff. To you all I say; THANK YOU.I leave with you with this thought however. If we don’t manage our debt, no matter how good you all are, there is NO CLUB. Managing our debt is our priority and with this comes tough and unpopular decisions. I make no apologies for that and as always am happy to discuss all aspects of club matters with anyone who wants to know more.
+44 (0) 787 963 1245Your Executive Committee
David Clark, President
Graham Callard, Chairman, Commercial Director
Richard Lambert, Finance Director
Eddie Bridges, Director of Governance & Secretary
Colin Forster, Director of Rugby
David Shortland, Marketing Director
Gavin Richardson, Director of Junior Rugby
Paul Gray, Director of Rugby