Apologies to anyone inconvenienced by the absence of updates, although a steady stream of information sits on the website.
I have been distracted, one part of the headline led to streamlining of my now sadly limited hairstyle, while my enjoyment of barbecues has done nothing for any hoped for additional streamlining. I realise that bulking up a bit before training starts is all well and good but only if you start training.
When I last wrote I said I would try and do a bit of updating: here goes. I can report that following the election of Phil Cooper to the Board he and Tony McClure are heading up the team now looking at the finances working with Andrew Wilson. They are complemented by Paul Weare and Peter Edwards, Paul volunteering among his other tasks to assist Peter, already in position, in dealing with House issues. It is always something of a stretch replacing someone who has taken on as much as Paul McManus did and both George Moore, who I know will be grateful for the help, and I would ask for a little patience and a lot of help as they bed themselves in.
We have found that there is quite a bit of restorative work to be done to the working areas, principally bar and kitchen. Other work can, and has, been done by volunteers, in the form of decoration of external areas, but some work requires more professional assistance. Paul and Peter are on board with that, but it does raise the question as to whether we can source more help from within the Club. If people can help with repairs, that would be appreciated as unexpected expenses over the last few years have dented budgets. We are looking to address ongoing maintenance where possible and help with that would be great.
The Club is being used; we have Slimming World, we have had film crews, we host a Headway group and we have people using the gym. We want to keep the premises open for use by members and the wider community and if you can pop down with friends for an hour or two each week and have a drink and a chat that all helps.
In a bigger way there are events we would like to organise to attract you down for longer periods. Next up on 25th July is the resumption of our Big Comedy Nights. Raychel is looking to promote this, there are three very good comedians, and we are again lucky to have Brendan Riley hosting. Tickets are modestly priced to encourage participation and so if not holidaying, come down and join in please.
On the Saturday 27th July Peter Cureton has planned another fresh air event, you come and work in the fresh air and we pay you with it! Seriously, after the great efforts during the Nat West Work Force weekend there are still jobs he would like your help with, such as tidying around the pitch and setting things up for the season. I appreciate there is a major event in Liverpool that will attract great numbers to a special celebration, but if not supporting the Liverpool Pride Parade through the city centre could you spare a few hours at the Club? Better still look to do both.
Another positive and relatively simple way to support is joining our 200 Club. There are monthly draws advertised on the website and the balance of funds helps us when we have those extra demands, most recently and significantly helping to fund the necessary refurbishments to the bar and kitchen. For a small monthly fee you can benefit personally and help raise funds that help the Club on those rainy day moments. Thank you.
Further, if you can make suggestions about things we can do to improve or events we can run, we are open to taking those suggestions on board, the wider the group involved the better for your Club. As a soon to be topical example, do you want the Club to look to open early at weekends to show Rugby World Cup games?
I guess by now I may have stretched the patience of my other reader who wants to know if we are still a Rugby Club. Too right we are, but part of a community and with fabric that does need a bit of care and attention at times to host it.
On the rugby front both Men and Women are training. The Women are using the new 4G facility at Jericho Lane in South Liverpool, which supports all sports. As some of you will have seen there have been some changes. Giles, Mark and Rob have stepped down from their roles and again I would like to thank them for their efforts in supporting women's rugby at Firwood Waterloo. I should say that Giles continues to assist in a consultancy role so is not lost to us completely and Mark Beckett still sits on the Board and is not lost to us at all.
The new coaching team that Christine Braithwaite, as the new Chair of Women's Rugby, Gill Burns and Ellie Huckle as manager have brought together are Neil Ryan, as Director of Rugby, Callum Yorke and Chris Hall supporting him as new coaches and also supporting them. I am pleased to say staying on is Marc Jones who worked hard with the Development Team last season. I hope you all enjoy and continue to enjoy Firwood Waterloo.
The numbers at training are positive, there have been new faces down, and hopefully they will also enjoy what they see and remain to form part of the squad this year. All are most welcome.
On the National scene it was nice to read of the success Holly Aitchison had in helping the England team qualify for the Olympic Seven's tournament next year. Also well done to Sarah Beckett and the England team in securing second place in the San Diego Super Series. I understand Sarah may be moving down south this season, if so I wish her well and thank her for all she has done for the Club as a player and supporter and extend a welcome back offer for the future.
The Men have been alternating between sand dunes and St Michael's School Playing Fields, it is nice to have that local link again, and retain last year's coaching team and complement that with assistance from one of the new players Alex Ward who joins us from Preston Grasshoppers. There will, as always be some player movement, I understand Conor Scriven is to move and again I thank him for his efforts and wish him well, always reminding him and any other player who leaves that the door is open if they wish to return. Similarly, although he is to retire after a successful career, I have reminded Mark Rylance that we are grateful for his help over the years, that Frank Sinatra said you can never have too many come backs and that it is nice to see him helping out a little already off the pitch.
Each new season will bring changes and create opportunities, but the core of last season's teams seem to be with us and I am sure we will all help new players bed in and welcome any returning players back. I realise the focus of this note is about the senior teams but I want to encourage and report on participation at all levels. We can never have too many players to make the Club vibrant and to share the load. If you have something that you want me to publicise with your team I will try and do so, best send an email to Raychel.firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com as my technological skills are limited and social media presence non-existent.
I am away for a few days but will be back to cut the hedges and enjoy Mr Weare's culinary delights on 27th July. I hope to update you further when I return and trust that you are enjoying your Summer and warming up for the season. I will look next time to confirm that pre-season games have been finalised to whet your appetite further.