Newsletter, February 2018

From Ken Cooke, Chairman, Old Parkonians Association

Dave Westwater2018 heralds in my 50th year as a member of Old Parkonians, having joined as a enthusiastic and some what naive 16 year old. Over the five decades I have served as a Officer of the Club in various positions and captained the Rugby Club in the seventies. (Check with Richie Beckett regarding actual dates!)

Over the years the Club has gone through many changes both on and off the field of play. The decline in the number of players for both sports means we all need to try and recruit new playing members. The emergence of a excellent Junior Rugby Section is beginning to show benefits with a number of juniors breaking into the senior sides this season. This is also the case with the Cricket Section and our thanks go to all the Coaches of the juniors for their efforts.

Off the field the Club House facilities have been greatly improved over the years and I believe we can boast one of the best in the area. Of course, we will always need to improve and maintain our facilities and the recent extended period of wet weather has highlighted the need for urgent drainage works to the grounds.

Club Development

The Access RoadAs you're all no doubt aware we have committed funds to the repair and resurfacing of the access road due to commence in May this year.

At a cost of around £50,000, this is a major expense and with the absence of available grant aid will need to be funded directly by the Club. I would ask all members to help in anyway they can to help raise funds or donations to assist in the cost of these works which, of course, is essential to the running of the Club. In particular, we thank members who have made Road Fund Pledges - short-term loans that the Club will be able to call on if needed. If you are able to offer your support with a Road Fund Pledge, please contact roadproject@oldparkonians.org.uk.

Membership subscriptions alone cannot fund the general running costs of the Club and we rely on our social functions for the additional income we need. We have a dedicated Development Fund for all monies donated / raised to help fund our major projects - if you're able to help us with a donation, it will be very welcome. Alternatively, we have a range of Development Memberships from £10.00 to £35.00 a month, which include a donation to the Development Fund. For details see https://webcollect.org.uk/opa/subscription. 

Membership Cards

For some time Bar Staff have held a Visitor Card for discount to be given on Saturday afternoon to visitors from other clubs. Over time, members forgetting their cards have been able to ask the Bar staff to let them have their discount using the Visitor Card.

We'll be withdrawing visitor discount from 1st March and so from that date, discount will only be available to members though their own cards. We'll be going back to the "No Card, No Discount" service that we used to operate on. Check you have your card and that it works ASAP! Email membership@oldparkonians.org.uk if you've lost your card or find it isn't working.

Running the Club

The Club has always been indebted to all the Officers who willingly give up their time to run the Rugby and Cricket Sections and of course, the Club itself, which is a complex business in its own right.

We, as your elected officers, endeavour to run the club business in the most professional way we can. We are fortunate to have a mix of professional committee members who are dedicated and committed to moving the Club forward. If you feel you have something to offer in the running of the Club, and at some point would like to be part of the Committee, please speak to any of your elected officers. We're particularly interested in hearing from anyone with specific commercial and management skills.

As well as serving officers, we also rely on a number of dedicated volunteer members who, mostly unknown to the general membership, who carry out essential maintenance work on the grounds and related equipment. Any member wishing to help out with these or any other works to the House and Grounds please contact me or our immediate Past Chairman Dave Westwater.

2018/19 offers real challenges to the Club and I trust you will continue to support the Club in what ever way you can.

Ken Cooke,
Chairman, Old Parkonians Association
ken.cooke@oldparkonians.org.uk

From Stew McEwen, Chairman, Old Parkonians Cricket Club

Stew McEwenWith the 2018 season rapidly approaching, the Cricket Club is looking forward to building on the successes of recent seasons and last season’s (back to back) promotion for the First XI under the leadership of Chris Beckett, who I’m pleased to say is continuing with the captaincy.

The Second XI, under the continuing committed captaincy of David Buey, continue to play an excellent standard and provide depth of playing skills for the Cricket Club. Unfortunately their high standard was not quite enough to gain promotion last season. Hopefully that will be rectified this year.

Indoor adult nets at Birkenhead Park start on Monday 12 February at 7.30pm so please make every effort to attend. I’m sure that the excellent attendance in previous pre-seasons has contributed to our success on the field.

Due to work commitments Ian Smith will not be able to run his U9 junior team this year. This is very unfortunate as they got off to very good start last tear with some good wins and some decent young players. Please have a good think if this something for which you could help out. Juniors are an important part of the future of the Cricket Club for a number of reasons, not least their eventual throughput into adult cricket. We cannot afford to let decent young players go to other local clubs.

I’d also like to remind you of the fact that the Club is open during the winter and with weekly Club fixtures (weather permitting) and with the 6 Nations due to begin please make time to practice your socialising – it’s a much better shaped ball they play with!

Here are some important dates for your diary which I urge you to ‘ink in’ now. These events are very important in terms of both fund raising and team building.

  • The Easter Social is set for Sunday 1st April and will follow last year’s very successful format.
  • A 6-a-side Day on Sunday 8th July to contribute to the funding of the Club, which follows the success of last season’s fund raiser for Robbie Potter.

Finally, and most importantly, please make every effort to make yourself available for the essential pre-season ground works and maintenance projects. This year we must work on, among other things, the sight screen frames to ensure they are fit for the standard of ground and play to which we aspire.

Please watch out for publicity of dates/times for when works are planned.

Stew McEwen,
Chairman, Old Parkonians Cricket Club
stew.mcewen@oldparkonians.org.uk 

From Richie Beckett, Chairman, Oxton Parkonians RUFC

Richie Beckett'This has been a particularly difficult season so far, especially with regard to the extremely wet weather and often unplayable pitches. This has resulted in several postponements both at Holm Lane and elsewhere.

It has not been helped by the exceedingly complex organisation and administration of the division that our 1st Team find themselves in. However, the 1st Team have won more games than we have lost. The 2nd Team have found it tough going at times but the spirit has remained good within the team. We have suffered several injuries to crucial playing members with some lads out of action for the foreseeable future.

On a very positive note we held a most successful Reunion Day where we welcomed many past players and the Wallasey committee before the 1st Team game against their club. So great to see so many familiar faces.

The 38th Annual Brothers game on Boxing Day saw probably the closest game in the history of the fixture with the Brothers winning 21-19 with the last conversion kick of the game having never led at any stage. It was a fantastic turnout both on and off the field with a record number of 50 players taking to the pitch. Finally, I would like to thank all members of my rugby committee, the coaches and the captains for all their hard work in what is a frustrating season.

Onwards and upwards.

For match reports and other info about what's going on in adult rugby see http://oldparkonians.org.uk/rugby/news

Richie Beckett.
Chairman, Oxton Parkonians RUFC
richie.beckett@oldparkonians.org.uk 

From Mark Hillan, Chairman, Oxton Parkonians Junior Rugby

Mark HillanThe Junior section has had a difficult winter so far with game disrupted due to the terrible pitch conditions.

The games that have been played v New Brighton and Birkenhead Park have brought great success though with many of the teams easily beating their opposite teams. Numbers keep on increasing and a big thank you to all the volunteers continued support.

The Junior colts have also missed a few games due to the weather but are having great season with some excellent close games in the conference league. They have managed two wins against Burnley and Colne and Nelson with all the other games being narrow losses.

Please come along and support all of the Junior Sides in the coming months and see for yourself - the future of the Club looks bright.

Mark Hillan,
Chairman, Oxton Parkonians Junior Rugby
mark.hillan@oldparkonians.org.uk 

From Dave Westwater, Ground Manager

Dave WestwaterThe volunteer Ground Team has continued to improve the Club grounds despite the incessant rain. New Club signs, CCTV sign, line marking machine and a tractor transport box have been purchased and installed.

Preparation for the Cricket season has begun and a meeting will take place shortly to plan for my retirement as Ground Manager.

Efforts are still ongoing to find a container to replace the one we use for tractor storage.

As ever, we welcome anyone able to spare some time to help with the upkeep of the grounds, whether it involves the pitches or the management of the other areas and woodland that surround the Club.

A New Recruit

Welcome to new member Steve Stansfield to the ground team, he has made a great start keeping the grounds litter free and the copse tidy.

Dave Westwater
Ground Manager

dave.westwater@oldparkonians.org.uk