Spencer Hockey Club

Chairman's letter, September 2013

Chairman’s message to all adult players

Dear Members,

This season I want you to do one simple thing: win in the right way.

Each year, Spencer seems to get more competitive at every level. But we’re also a community 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 could be another great one

Last year, the men enjoyed another fine season with all teams finishing their respective leagues in strong positions. After a stuttering start, the Men’s 1st XI powered up the table to finish fourth. The Men’s 6th XI won promotion having been completely re-built at the start of the season and our Men’s Titans won their league and cup double.

It was much the same story on the women’s side, with our 4th and 6th XIs gaining promotion. Our Women’s 1st XI also achieved an exceptional second place finish following last year’s promotion to the dizzy heights of South Division 2, their highest ever placing in league hockey.

At the same time, we retained the London League Social Club of the Year title, voted for by all the players in the London League. Our Annual Dinner at Battersea Mess & Music was a raucous sell-out. And there’s more where that came from – special derby match fun, fireworks and fancy dress this side of Christmas; with a Bollywood spectacular to come in the new year.

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 and après-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
• No abuse of ground facilities or ground staff
• No reckless undercutting in warm-ups

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.

Around the mid-point of the season we conducted a membership survey to help our planning. Around 200 adults responded. We learnt that you were receptive to us making better use of your professional skills and that many of you would be prepared to do more volunteering if we could guarantee to limit your commitment.

Already a number of people have volunteered a few hours of their week to help improve our communications, fundraising and umpiring – thanks! If you have a talent, please don’t hold back.

As members, we’re expected to:

• Pay our e-subscriptions on time
• Wear the Spencer colours - burgundy Kukri shirts for all home games
• Leave the astro tidy when we leave
• Look after visiting teams and make sure they get their teas first
• Stay around for a sneaky Snakey B or two (flip-cup is optional)

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. The new look Men’s 6th XI proved the value of this last year by winning their league. If you’re asked to play for another team, or to welcome someone from another team, please accept the decision gracefully.

This season, we’ve taken the radical step of moving the Saints, who’ve been tearing through the Surrey leagues, up the selection priority order to create more competition at the higher end of the men’s section.

Start at 5, go on playing till you're 75

We’re all excited by the success of the junior section. Our Spencer Girls Under-10s are now South of England Champions! Other achievements include:

GU16 - Home Counties League playoffs
GU12 - Surrey Runners Up, represented Surrey in South Championships
GU11 - 1st inSurrey U12 Plate
GU10 - Surrey Champions, South Champions
BU10a - 3rd in Surrey Cup
BU10b - 3rd in Surrey Plate

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.

Meanwhile, Tochi Panesar used the first year of his Presidency to re-connect with many of our honorary members - the Friends Of Spencer Hockey Club. Plenty of them came to President’s Day and enjoyed a match between the President’s XI and Chairman’s XI, which featured a complete cross-section of the Club, from girls and boys to women to Supervets to the stars of the 1st XI. Astonishing spectacle, brilliant curry.

Show me the money

After last year’s subscription rise, forced by the ATA price increase, we were able to fulfil our intention to keep our full adult subs at the same rate for the coming season. Cash-flow also improved last year, thanks to “e-subs” - the introduction of payment of subscriptions directly through the website. While you’re here, why not settle your e-subs now? This will put you in line for a big prize every Saturday night in the bar at Fieldview.

One comment in our 2013 survey says it all for me: “I've played at four hockey clubs and Spencer has by far the most potential that I've seen to date at any club; to my mind there's no reason that the club can't aspire to being the largest in the country, with the best junior section and in the National League, men's and women's.”

I wish you every success for this season,

Dan Radley, Chairman.