AGM – 11th September 2020

Bath Saracens RFC AGM 2020

Held online via Zoom due to COVID-19 restriction not allowing more than 6 people from different households to gather.

Present:
Sam Crowder, Mark Boxall, Robbie Lawrence, Hamish Donnelly, Matt Tomes, Jon Bradley, Jim Biss, Owen Swabey, Jamie Navarette

1. Apologies

Eddie Bell, Paddy Thomas, Rob Langan, Nick Hayden, Lance Martin, David Pyles

2. Previous Minutes

Accepted

3. Secretary’s Report

Opening comments 

As it has been for all sports clubs and people around the world 2020 has been a difficult and testing year with the COVID-19 Pandemic bringing heart ache to many and disrupting everyday life. As we hopefully head into a new and positive phase of UK wide recovery the club is coming back to life with players and coaches returning to training. We thank everyone for continuing to support the club through these difficult times.

There were 7 full meetings of the club committee before the UK went into lockdown due to COVID-19 in March 2020. In addition there was an informal committee meeting held over Skype on the 29th July as well as an extraordinary committee meeting on the 24th August to discuss training arrangements at Lambridge.

Business operated smoothly during the first part of the year, with strong attendance by committee members however there was significant disruption during the latter part of the year when the committee and the club in general was unable to meet due to COVID-19 restrictions.

We competed this season in D&W Division III (North) finishing 1st in the league – playing a number of strong teams from large clubs and putting out a team for every match. We have now been promoted to level 9 in the RFU league structure. Three teams dropped out of the league during the season due to being unable to provide a side for matches. The D&W league structure has changed for the next season and Bath Saracens will compete in D&W Division II (Mid). There are likely to be further changes to league structures in the coming years following the RFU consultation on the structure of community rugby.

Although playing in D&W we continue to be also affiliated to the Somerset and Civil Service RFU’s.

Our continued thanks to Paddy Thomas for running the Bath Saracens RFC website and social media channels. We continued our successful marketing campaign utilising, in part, social media which has resulted in a number of new members joining the club.

A strong coaching team has overseen our very successful season with the continued hard work of Dean Taylor as head coach and Mark Ball supporting the forwards when available. This year Dean and Mark were joined by Mark Fordham who has brought dedication and enthusiasm to our training sessions, we thank Mark and all the coaches for volunteering their time and their continued hard work.

Finally we owe outgoing honorary secretary Jim Biss a huge debt of gratitude for all his hard work over the last few years. His commitment and dedication to the club is exemplary and we continue to benefit from his kindness in his continued support. Thank you Jim. Sam Crowder have been acting secretary since 29th July 2020

Ground and post-match hospitality 

We hope to continue to receive sponsorship from the CSSA (Bath) for the costs of playing at the Sulis Club. Post-match entertainment has once-again been hosted by Graham and Carol at the Hadley Arms, who continue to provide both a warm welcome and tremendous food.

Training at the Bath Rugby Lambridge Ground has been a great success with good numbers for training most weeks. Where Lambridge has not been available due to poor weather or ground conditions we have trained at the all weather training pitch at Odd Down often at a later time on a Thursday. This arrangement has been beneficial to Bath Saracens as we have retained our ability to train. We thank Robbie Lawrence for making these arrangements and keeping us training.

Following three seasons of using the Lambridge facilities free of charge Bath RFC have requested a contribution and a formalisation of our relationship. The outgoing committee have negotiated a deal whereby Bath Saracens will pay a contribution to Bath RFC as well as commit to playing 3 to 4 Saturday matches at Lambridge with all post-match bar proceeds going to Bath RFC. In addition Bath Saracens will volunteer their skills to Bath RFC and support them in the preparation of end of year statutory accounts, this will be undertaken by Eddie Bell and Mark Boxall. In return Bath Saracens will continue to train at Lambridge being sympathetic to the conditions of the pitches. Bath RFC have also seeded an additional training area at Lambridge to support a larger number of users.  There are options to extend this relationship in the future and play more games if beneficial to both clubs. This deal has now been agreed.

International Tickets 

Mike York has continued to manage our (small) International Ticket allocation over the last year to satisfy the member’s requirements.

Social Activities 

The club held a small number of social events including the ever popular curry night at the start of the season. However the majority of social engagements were cancelled due to COVID-19 and the UK wide lockdown, this included a planned tour to Exeter, the end of year dinner and hosting of a touring side.

Recruitment 

Like all clubs and societies Bath Saracens can only continue to exist with a life-blood of new players joining the team. Whilst we have had a very successful year with many new faces we have also said goodbye to a number of new and old faces over the season. We cannot pause in our efforts to grow and retain players and as a club giving the full weight of our support to the incoming membership secretary and committee with recruitment is necessary. As always referrals from existing members are key to growing our membership.

Future Development

This year we yet again find ourselves in the fortunate position to have a number of new faces expressing and interest in supporting the running of the club via the committee. Like in previous years this is great news for the future of Bath Saracens, please remember that you will serving the entire club membership and that our committee are vital in guiding the club into our future whilst conserving our honourable past.

End of Season Awards

To date it has not been possible to hold the end of year dinner where the awards would be distributed we hope to do this as soon as government guidelines allow.

4. Captain’s Report

Jamie Navarette the vice captain gave a verbal report on the curtailed season. It was great to see a regular group of players supporting the majority of matches. The dedication and commitment at training led to only loosing two games and finishing at the top of the league. Jamie noted he was very proud of what we have achieved as a club.

5. Treasurer’s Report

(a) Presentation of Report

The treasurer had provided a full set of reports for review. These are available from him on request.

(b) Acceptance of Report

The membership accepted the report. (Proposed Lawrence; Seconded Swabey).

(c) Opt-out of requirement for full audit

Under the provisions of RFU Rule 5.1.5(c) the Club agreed to opt out of a formal audit or examination, by a qualified accountant, of the Club’s 2017-18 Annual Financial Statement. The resolution was passed unanimously.

6. Changes to the Constitution and Rules

None

7. Election of Officers

  1. Chairman – Dave Pyles
  2. General Secretary – Sam Crowder
  3. Honorary Treasurer – Mark Boxall
  4. Fixture Secretary – Robbie Lawrence
  5. Social Secretary – Matt Tomes
  6. Membership and VP Secretary – Owen Swabey
  7. Publicity Secretary – Paddy Thomas
  8. Captain – Ed Bell

General Committee:

  1. Jon Bradley
  2. Hamish Donnelly
  3. Jim Biss
  4. Nick Hayden

Note: The committee may co-opt further members prior to the start of the season.

8. Any Other Business

(a) It was noted that Bath Saracens has a COVID-19 risk assessment and action plan in place that was approved by the outgoing committee.

(b) Date of the first committee meeting will be the 7th October and will be held over Zoom unless otherwise notified.