Last season was one of "success for the Mini/Youth, disappointment for the senior teams but, tremendous effort, enthusiasm and dedication by so many to make this Club stronger" reported Alan Foulger in his Chairman's address to the Club's AGM.

Past president Paul Cass delivered the address in Alan's absence and said that the Club's aim is to "get as many adults and youngsters playing the game for the cheapest possible cost".

The report continued: "If we thought the previous season was difficult then this season (just ended) was ‘The Tour of all Tours from Hell’, but one that showed true commitment and resilience, led by Head Coach Barry Bridgman and Captain Wes Dugan and all those players, who week after week got on with training and put their bodies on the line to keep the Club moving forward.

"Early planning back in March, has led us to re-appointing Barry and Wes for the coming season, which will be good for continuity and I believe all the players are looking forward to a better campaign next season.

1st, 2nd and 3rd XVs

"As a consequence of the difficulties the 1st XV were experiencing in London 1 South, led to the 2nd XV and 3rd XV’s suffering from a lack of fixtures.

"We need more players to sustain 3 XV’s in order to fulfil our fixture commitments. The merit tables this season will determine where teams play in the 2018-2019 season, when 2nd and 3rd XV’s will be promoted into a new, Hampshire Premiership and Division 1 and 2. That will still leave about 28 teams playing in Merit tables. This change was unanimously agreed at a recent Clubs' meeting and is something this Club had been banging a drum about for a number of years. So, let’s make it work to improve our standing in the County.

Colts

"The Colts have been re-establishing themselves this season under manager Lee Adams and coaches Ray Brooker and Spud Hudd. Their improvement could be seen when playing Le Havre for the Brian Mays Memorial Trophy, losing narrowly in a Barbarian-style game. Thanks to everyone and we look forward to seeing some more Colts stepping up to senior rugby.

Ladies

The Ladies have increased their numbers and enjoying their competition time. The Club is backing their efforts to re-establish a Ladies team. Thanks to Emily Wakelin and Coaches John Grantham and Kevin Chambers.

Vets

The Vets made the final of the Hampshire Vets Cup this year only to fall at the final hurdle again, this time at the hands of Havant. By all accounts it was cracking final as the score of 17-22 showed. Still third time lucky next year guys. Thanks to Rich Daly and Gary Middleton for organising.

On behalf of the Club I would like to thank all the support staff who have made valuable contributions assisting the Senior teams, Colts and Ladies including Matt Smith, Martin Howorth, Daisy Berry, Chris Roberts, Pete Tomlinson, Ian White and James Crichton. James is stepping down from his manager role after a few years, so many thanks. Carl Dawson will be taking over as 3rd XV manager.

Mini/Youth

Our thanks to Louise Rabjohn, Mini/Youth Chair for overseeing the future generations of players for another season. Ably assisted by Rich Daly and supported by a huge team of helpers whose efforts have been rewarded this season with some excellent results and trophies.

As I have said in the past, the strength of the Club lies with the Mini/Youth a vital lifeline to the senior teams. Numbers of players are healthy, but we will not rest on our laurels and we will continue to actively recruit more youngsters to strengthen the various age groups from Under 6 to Under 16. Let’s make 2017-2018 season even better.

Hampshire County success

Finally, on Playing Matters, congratulations to Wes and Wayne Dugan and Tim Snowden on their Hampshire County selection. They reached the County Division 2 final at Twickenham in May, making it two finals in consecutive years, an amazing achievement, not forgetting the County backroom staff from Gosport & Fareham of Rob Batley, Dave Lewis and Chris Jones.

Referees' Academy

This amazing project started at Gosport & Fareham and just gets better with 5 out of the 12 young referees receiving their Hampshire colours were from this Club. So, congratulations to them all on a fine achievement.

On the last day of the season, a team of 3 from our Academy managed our 3rd XV game, so congratulations and well done for a first at Gosport Park. Funnily enough we won that day!

So, thanks to Chris Blockley-Webb and Bruce Carle for their efforts and flying the G&F flag in the County. Thanks also to Donnelly & Elliott, the local Solicitors who continue to sponsor this beneficial project.

As always there are a few unsung heroes which every rugby club needs Fixture/Match Secretary Rick Miles, Referees Co-ordinator Paul Hobby, Club Coach Co-ordinator Bruce Carle and Membership Secretary Kelvin Foster. Take a bow and accept our thanks.

Club Safeguarding Officer

Our thanks to Arthur Rabjohn who has done an excellent job over the last 12 months in this very important role for the Club.

Last season provided following stats:

  • 18 Case Files (10 Serious injuries, 6 Concussions and 2 Concerns raised)

There are 101 Volunteers currently listed for next season, of which:

  • 93% have been DBS checked (Target of 90% set).
  • 77% have completed the Play It Safe training (Target 80% set).
  • 79% of coaches are Rugby Ready (Target 80% set).
  • 95% of Team First Aiders have confirmed certification (Target of 95% set).

So thanks again for a great job.

Non-Playing Matters

Without volunteers no Club would exist and it’s thanks to their efforts, that the Club runs for 12 months a year. No more deserving is Tony Buckley (Facilities Manager) who was presented with President’s Shield recently.

Tony is at the Club at all times of day and night, resolving problems and co-ordinating outside contractors, to ensure the health and safety of us all. We plan on doing some maintenance and decoration and it would be good to see that when Tony requests assistance, that we hold up hands to volunteer, roll up our sleeves and get stuck in. So many thanks Tony.

Also, thanks to Michelle Buckley, who keeps the Clubhouse clean and Eric and his wife who clean the Changing rooms. I’m glad to report that Eric after having urgent by-pass surgery during last season, is on the mend and looking to coming back in September.

Please remember, take pride in YOUR Clubhouse. Please report any vandalism you find or see being committed. We hire our facilities to outsiders and make good money, so we need to maintain our property in good order.

Bar/Kitchen

As always, a big thank you to Jean Robson (Clubhouse Manager) and her bar staff and the kitchen volunteers. The revenue from these sources is crucial to the well-being of the Club.

The Treasurer is hoping in the coming year to introduce a new till system that will provide better financial control.

The decoration of the Club for private hirings and league lunches has once again been impressive, so thanks to the ladies who spend their time dressing the hall.

Thanks to Rob and Sarah Coles for organising the lunches for most of the season. They have now stepped down. Jill Salvat volunteered her services to take on the job of Lunch Organiser and has been assisted by Paul Cass, so our thanks for their efforts. We look forward to seeing Jill in full flow in September (3 lunches in a month)!

Website/Media

Thanks to Brian Seeney for maintaining and updating the website and match day reports and to Chris Roberts and Roger Smith for their photographic contributions.

Club Shop

Thanks to Graeme Mccall and Dave Cleary who managed the shop during the season. The Shop is an integral part of our income stream and we are progressing plans for an on-line shop in conjunction with new kit suppliers Raging Bull for the new season to hopefully increase our revenue in this area.

Sponsors

We are constantly looking for new sponsors, so if you have leads please speak to any member of the Executive. In discussion with the sponsor we can provide them with benefits in return for their sponsorship.

Currently we are thankful to Patricia Smith-Roche, Nick Tungatt (Rotary), Mike and Karen Barham (EPE), LBHS (aka Rich Daly), Bert Keefe (Glacier Engineering), Donnelly & Elliott and Kelvin & Dawn Foster. Thanks also to all those who provided individual sponsorship for players, teams and age groups.

Finances

A big thank you to David Legg as Treasurer for keeping the financial books in order last season.

Whole Club Accreditation

Last year I reported the on-going priority for the Club to achieve this Accreditation. It is being put in place to strengthen our Club in growing the game in the communities around us. We should be able to become stronger, more effective, more efficient and a more enjoyable place in which to play rugby.

It has been a challenge, so thanks to all those who reviewed some of the mountain of documentation and provided comments.

Following a longer than expected meeting with the Hants RDO, he is now submitting our self-styled review to the RFU with his acceptance, with the recommendation that we receive the said Accreditation.

This award is recognition of all the effort and good practices that all of the volunteers have put in over the years to where we are now today, a Club that is recognised for its quality of organisation. So, a big thank you to all those involved and especially Chris Blockley-Webb, who put in an immense number of hours into this project.

The Hugin (G&F RFC) Supporters Club Ltd

This was put in place last season to cover all our commercial activities i.e. the bar, kitchen, shop, sponsorship and all non-playing membership in accounting terms.

It was instigated by HMRC, as a method for Clubs to retain their charitable status - a pain for our Treasurer, but we do benefit from 80% reduction in our Business Rates, the ability to use Gift Aid to increase our income and an advantage when applying for grants and funding.

Alan Foulger, David Legg and Joe Cloke are Directors of the Limited Company, which is wholly owned by Gosport & Fareham RFC Ltd, the Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC). The Hugin will donate all its operating profit to the CASC.

Finally, in closing and on your behalf, I would like to thank the whole of the Executive and the Mini/Youth Committees for all their time and commitment to the cause of running this great Club.

More reports from the AGM will follow shortly

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