Welcome all to the 2018 Chair Review. I have to start by expressing how proud I am to Chair this great Rugby Club, every year there is something to celebrate, everywhere you go people in the know talk fondly of their experiences of Blackbrook either as a former player, coach, parent or indeed as a member of another community club, there is a universal acknowledgment that Blackbrook is right up there and one of the best in the country.
Those accolades are warmly received but we cannot be complacent, stand still and we will go backwards. As a team of volunteers it would be easy for us to lap up the praise and take our eye off the ball. Thankfully the drive from everyone connected with the club keeps us focused on our goals, to maximise the development of our players, to provide the best learning environment and to contribute to the maintenance and improvement of the facilities here at Boardmans Lane. More on that later.
So on the field, we have more silverware to polish thanks to our ‘Invincible’ U18s and St Helens Community Coach of the Year Paul Gartland. Our 2018 U15s won the League and Cup double, our other age groups appeared in Semi Finals, Finals, Plate Competitions and our Mini Mod Section had success at the Leeds Rhino Challenges.
We had representatives in almost every age category in the NWC Player of the Year awards, there were BARLA Caps at County Level and players represented England in the competitions in Serbia. Our former Brookers picked up Super League debuts and only last week we have several more U16s selected for the England Training Squad.
The above is down to the hard work and dedication of the Coaches, Assistants, First Aiders, Touchline Managers, Parents Reps and all those others who buy into the Brook philosophy. I put on record a huge thanks to you all with a caveat, we must keep at it.
One of the highlights of the year was the U7 Festival that was organised by Wadders and his team of helpers. It was quite possibly the best run event I’ve witnessed, it will become our blueprint for years to come.
In 2018 there was also a recognition that a tweak was needed around our culture. With the success I’ve just described it was easy to get sucked in to thinking that trophies, awards, scholarships and pro club appearances was a yardstick of performance. However this year we will adjust our language, more emphasis needs to be on our own Blackbrook Player Pathway. Our Cubs need to aspire to play for our Open Age any other success that comes their way will be an added bonus. The real measure of a Community Clubs success is the strength of the all teams across all age groups.
The photo shoot was the first step in recognising this shift, we aim to market our Player Pathway in 2019 and start to embed that in the DNA of our club.
I touched on creating an environment to keep us at the top of our game, this comes in various guises, such as standards of behaviour, respect, humility and positivity. The physical environment is the reason why we invest so much into the 4G facility at Ruskin, the best for the best. Here at the Recreational Club we are constantly working with the Swifts & Co to improve the showers, to provide extra changing areas, to maintain the pitches which host 15 teams! The list is never ending but over the last few weeks the support from all areas to ‘muck in’ has been heart-warming. We are on a roll, we need to keep that momentum up and have a place we are proud to call home.
So its onwards and upwards, if you have an idea, please pick it up and run with it, the Executive don’t have a monopoly on creativity and innovation. We need you, so please share ideas and join in our ‘Brook Journey’.
Blackbrook Royals JRLFC