It’s time to pull up a pew and discuss all things wonderfully Wychelm

By Katie Garner

With the rain pelting down on the sport hall roof, and twenty odd Wychelm members clustered on a collection of randomly placed wooden benches, we held our annual general meeting this evening, to discuss all the nuts and bolts of club business to make sure that things keep ticking over nicely for yet another season.

First on the agenda were our league match results across the ladies, mixed and mens. Not entirely successful, it has definitely been a pick and mix season, and it is difficult to see how things are going to pan out for us next season. The Ladies A pair, which consisted of myself and Jess, and then myself and Janet once Jess knuckled down to her exams, unfortunately ended up trailing in 5th place in Division One, meaning that we are last. This is an annoying drop from the silver rimmed second spot we enjoyed and bragged about last year, but interestingly enough, quite a lot of the pairs in Division One of the ladies changed this year, so that maybe had a knock on effect on the rankings. Although Janet and I have done some fine tuning and tweaking of our tactics, it obviously took a bit of time to get the teamwork right so that also probably had an impact on our scoring. No excuses though – coming in last place could see us drop into Division Two, although I am hoping against hope that something will crop up so that we can stay in Division One. Our scores haven’t been bad and we are definitely playing at the level of the Division One gals so fingers crossed there.  The Ladies B, playing in Division Two, also came in last place despite Tracy and Liane playing their little socks off.

Our mixed team, currently playing in Division Two, have come in second this year, which is a decent result, although the only thing that stopped us winning the division was dirty politics and bad blood between two of the other clubs. This resulted in a match being conceded that shouldn’t have been which, in my opinion, unfairly affected the scoring of the final tables. If the match has been played, then we would have won the division and re-entered Division One. As it stands, we will now continue to play in Division Two next season. Hopefully less mature clubs can get their acts together and not spoil the fun and fair play of everyone else next season, as I know we should be in Division One as we played our hearts out. Our men’s team hit penultimate 4th in Division Four so hopefully we can also see a boost from them next season.

Your Match Secretary and Club Captain

Your Match Secretary and Club Captain

In other results, we also reached the semi-final stage of the Challenge Cup which is great, and hopefully something we can maintain next January. To see all of the final results across the board, check out the league’s website, where everything is listed very neatly:

Excitingly, we have had a ton of new members join us since the squads were formed last September, so next season, we may be entering some more pairs which would be brilliant – especially for the ladies. Frank has been collecting whether people are interested in representing Wychelm on his official list so please contact him or myself if you wish to be considered for the squad.

Next up was a bit of a social round up from myself. A group of nine of us enjoyed dinner our yesterday at posh chippie restaurant Oh My Cod, whilst June’s social has already been pencilled in the diary – a fun summer picnic. Anyone wishing to attend will have to sign up via the paper sign on the notice board, also putting down what food and drink item they will be bringing to share with the group. All details about the social events feature on our Facebook group so please check there for additional details. The league’s annual handicap tournament is this Sunday, which I am super excited about – especially since we actually have a team of people attending this year! Representing Wychelm, we have:

  • Ladies Doubles – Katie and Janet
  • Ladies Doubles – Sarah W and Caroline
  • Mixed Doubles – Caroline and Nick L
  • Mixed Doubles – Janet and Gary
  • Mixed Doubles – Katie and David W
  • Mixed Doubles – Sarah W and Graham
  • Men’s Doubles – Nick L and David W

Anyone who fancies coming along on Sunday to cheer us on and offer vitally important moral support – please do. All the details are on the Facebook group event page.  Whilst talking about random bits and pieces, I also used the opportunity to raise awareness for the duathlon I am completing this September with my sister and dad this September to raise money for Macmillan. To sponsor me, please check out my fundraising page here:

Nick then held the floor as he discussed the ins and outs of Wychelm’s financial dealings, which all look fine and dandy in his extremely capable and safe hands. We again have a separate ring fenced amount which is saved to cover the costs of being open for five weeks over the summer holidays. Wychelm members will pay £15 for five weeks, non-members paying approximately £25 for the five weeks, although visitor’s fees will vary (roughly £4 for members and between £5 / £6 for non-members).

Next up is the election of officers section of the meeting. Stuart E agreed to continue in the role of Club Secretary, entering his second year of the post. Nick L also submitted to remaining as Treasurer, again for his second year I believe. The committee wouldn’t be right without Frank, so he will be undertaking the role of Match Secretary once more, entering year two of this particular round of posts. Usually committee members will hold their posts for a maximum of three years before they have to step down and someone else accepts the role to ensure that the burden isn’t placed all on one person and that the jobs are spread around the club. I am incredibly thankful that this rule has been waived for a second year running so that I can continue to fly the flag for Wychelm as Club Captain for season number five. Your club committee are all ears about any issues or ideas you may have about Wychelm, so please do come and speak to us.

We concluded with the patchy area of any other business. The issue of a new match venue was raised – we have been playing our matches at Frances Bardsley on a Wednesday evening, however Cedars have now moved from Albany to play at FB on the said Wednesdays, so we are now having to look at booking a different weeknight. Nick L has discovered that currently, Tuesday nights are free, so I believe we will pouncing on to that so that we can remain at our home ground for our matches. If Royal Liberty taught us anything, it is that the grass is definitely not always greener!

Plastics or feathers?

Plastics or feathers?

The main topic for discussion was whether we would make the switch to become a feather shuttlecock club, or remain as the only league club who use plastics. We had a trial month in February, where we tested purchasing the shuttles and monitored how many we got through, so that we could work out some estimates and also gauge whether players would prefer to use the faster flying feathers. Nick L very helpfully pulled all of the figures together for us and the bottom line is basically that if we wanted to use feather shuttles permanently, then our £100 membership fee would have to increase by approximately £33 per person to cover the costs. This is quite an increase so it was definitely something that needed to be discussed by the group as a whole.

A vote of the members present revealed that double the number of people want to use feathers instead of plastics, so there is no question that we will be adopting feathers, it’s just how we go about it. As of September, we will be introducing a trial year of using feather shuttlecocks. This will then give us incredibly accurate figures to work with for when we calculate any potential rise in fees. Any increase in fees would be staggered, and for the trial year, members will only have to pay an additional £10 towards costs, with match fees going up to £4 and visitor’s fees going up to £5 per evening. The club will subsidise any remaining monies. At the AGM next year, we will once again discuss the figures and whether the year was a success using the feathers. If people wish to continue with the switch, then we would introduce another step up in the membership fees to be a total of an additional £20. Hopefully by gradually building up the increase in fees we can retain as many members as possible who may be put off by having to pay more.

Well, that’s it for now folks! If you have any further questions or queries about anything discussed, or any ideas that you wish to put forward, then please do speak to myself or a member of the committee so that we can action it or put it forward for you. Wychelm is your club and we work hard to ensure you have an awesome time being a member. Thank you to everyone who attended the meeting.