2018 AGM Chairman's Review

"As calendar year’s go, 2017 was fairly quiet, culminating in a fairly quiet AGM! The first ‘event’ was the closing of the hard courts 6 and 7 in March and Martin Gurr’s team carrying out the preliminary work ahead of laying the artificial clay surface. After a few hitches and delays, the day finally arrived for it to be tested in anger. I think Doug (Keen) and Jack (Graham) were amongst the first to try it out and were very enthusiastic. Amherst were hosts of the Hastings Open finals in 2017, and although the courts had not fully ‘bedded in’, I do believe the players enjoyed the new experience. I understand from Doug that the courts now play extremely well and in all weathers.

Moving on, in 2016, I recalled fond memories of the late 60’s & 70’s when the town and specifically the Club, had twinned with Dordrecht. I thought it might be a good idea to rekindle the friendship and relive some of those halcyon days. Like any good chairman I had the idea and now all I needed was someone to do the work. One of the best things I have done, during my time in the Chair, was to ask Sarah Chapman to organise the event. Her meticulous attention to every detail was truly extraordinary. She thought of absolutely everything – and then some! All those that took part as players, hosts and supporters all experienced the pride that the success generated, but really, it was all down to Sarah and her small team of Andy and her sister, Kate, who is not even a member. I understand that the organisation of a return visit, of Amherst to Dordrecht, is well under way for late Spring. It looks like being another good event and I am sure Sarah will be publishing details of how you could take part in the near future.

The club tournament went well up until Finals Day, when competitors started to drop like flies and quite a few matches had to be postponed until the players were back in full health.

Sarah managed to secure the gift of some demountable refectory tables, for the club, that will prove useful for club events. Unfortunately, they are being stored off-site at the moment, until we organise some storage space in our loft cupboard.

I have always been a great supporter of our Coaching Team in the years since Richard Harrison first laid the foundations of our modern system. Our Head Coach, Jack, has taken it on to greater heights. With his team, he has introduced many new members to the club, both Junior and Senior. Using traditional methods and new technology they work hard to maintain interest and enthusiasm in sport and tennis in particular. At Amherst, they train World Champions, future Champions, National and County players, as well as Club Team players, social players and Rusty Rackets who just want to improve for the joy it brings them. The coaches take on many tasks that are not in their brief. They sell more Ice cream, more soft drinks and more chocolate bars than anyone else. They do a good deal of the monitoring to ensure that the facilities are looked after.

The Committee continue to work hard, on your behalf, mostly unsung. There are many tasks that just get done and are taken for granted, but few think how! Cleaning the facilities, always a toilet-roll and soap to hand. Tending the flowers, shrubs, weeds, leaves and general maintenance. Making sure the bar and ice creams are stocked. Ensuring that players are paid up members and entitled to be there. That subs are collected, takings are banked, bills paid on time. That the members and visitors are kept in a safe environment and that all equipment is regularly checked. That children’s interests and safety are particularly cared for. Rotas and matches are recorded and coordinated & posted on the boards. Teams are selected & transport organised. Match results are recorded & filed with the LTA. Newsworthy information finds its way to the press. All communications, deliberations, future planning, meetings etc. carefully minuted. This and much more is carried out without pay and for the good of the club. Most manage this with a full family life, and a full tennis program.

Please don’t be the 1% that takes up 50% of their committee’s time. Try and make their job as easy as possible. Why not offer to serve the club yourself. Even in just a small way. There’s no need to take on the world. As the saying goes ‘Every little Helps’. Pick up a bit of litter, dead head a few flowers, sweep the clubhouse floor once in a while. Wash up, now and again. None of these jobs are gender specific – anyone can do them. If we had to pay for the work to be done, not only would matters get worse, but subscriptions would probably double. I would like to get 2018 off to a really good start by asking those present to show their appreciation to the Amherst Committee Members, in the time-honoured way.

Thank you!"

Trevor LeBreuilly, Club Chairman