Despite the loss of most of our Sabreurs, and several epeeists, our membership this year has remained at a stable level. As of 31st May, we have 72 members (compared with 69 this time last year). Of these, 29 are new members to the club either from graduating from our beginners courses or joining from elsewhere. We’ve held two beginners courses, which were very popular (as well as a summer school beginners course in August) and introduced 48 people to the sport. Of these, at least 19 have subsequently joined the club as regular members.
Competitively, we’ve held several friendly matches against Oxford University teams in the club, and have won all of the encounters so far. We also competed in the ‘Town and Gown’ triangular, and narrowly lost to the University team.
We’ve been running one-hit epee continuum competitions on Tuesday evenings most months since December, and they are really great fun. You do not need to have any experience of Epee to take part, and it’s a great way to practice tactics to ensure that you win fights.
Outside of the club, our members have competed at lots of competitions. Some highlights:
Caryl, Sylvie, Malcolm and Adrian at the European veterans championships
BB&O Foil Rally (Ava, India, Xavi – bronze)
Southern Region Dan (2nd) and Jay (3rd)
Southern Region Novices Joe (2nd) Robin (3rd)
London Region Teams Epee 1st (Mark, Shaz, Tim)
Leon Paul British Schools Team Championships (Erin, Silver)
U16 BYC Epee Messina 3rd
As far as coaching goes, we continue to run the lesson-list system which remains popular on both Fridays and Tuesdays. There are 6-12 lesson slots available on Fridays (depending on whether there’s a course running or not) and 4 on Tuesdays. We have recently introduced a “lesson of the week” slot that is aimed to cover a specific topic or technique. The hope is that we can start to treat these as clinics where you can bring problems or things that you’ve seen in competitions that you’d like to learn and we can work on them as a group. Topics could include reminders of the rules, introductions to Sabre or Epee, dealing with particular styles of fencer, tactics, techniques that the coaches notice we need to practice, or any other aspect of the sport.
We ran an armoury workshop in May, where we worked through some of the faults that can appear in electric foils and epees and took the opportunity to practice repairing some faulty weapons. I’d like to run this again, perhaps in the autumn so that anyone who missed this one can catch-up next time.
We were featured on a ‘Sport in the Spotlight’ segment on the local Oxfordshire TV channel, who produced a nice segment that shows what goes on at a club night. I hope that it’s helped prepare people who’ve joined the courses for their first visit. Tomorrow, we will be holding the 58th edition of the Flying Friendship Cup, which is an annual triangular competition between clubs in Brussels, Paris and the UK. Traditionally, this event has been hosted by Wellesbourne, but we are providing facilities this year.
You may have also heard that the school has agreed to allow us to upgrade our cupboard. A new, larger one will be arriving next week. We plan to sell the current cupboard, so if you have a need for a metal bike-store in your garden, we can strike a deal.
Right now, our bank balance looks particularly healthy, but the real reason for this is that we ran two extra courses last year which boosted the coffers. Leaving this aside, you will see that we expect to make approximately £5000 loss on the year to September. The main reason for this is that our costs are offset by our income from courses. Since we ran fewer courses this year (no intermediates, no epee/sabre courses, and no summer-school/ RAF), our course income is £2400 below last year’s number.
Furthermore, our coaching costs and venue-hire costs have increased, and we have had to replace a large number of jackets/foils that have gone missing. On top of these regular costs, we have the new cupboard to pay for and the one-off cost of Le Flying to absorb.
Next year, we expect to receive a similar amount of income from courses since the replacement of the intermediates courses with weekly clinic sessions seems like a better use of our coaches time (and means that everyone gets more lessons) and we do not expect to run additional courses outside of the two regular Friday night ones. Whilst we are in a healthy financial position, I think that it’s prudent to recommend a modest increase in the membership fee to ensure that we are closer to cost-neutral this coming year.
I’d like to propose that we raise the membership fee for pre-paid members from £145, which it’s been set at for at least 7 years to £160. Similarly, I’d like to raise the monthly standing order amount to £15 instead of £13. Both these prices remain very competitive with other clubs in the area since they include access to this fantastic sports hall, 8 electric pistes, free individual lessons, and loan of any equipment that you may require.
Election of office bearers
Chairman – Tim Stephens (proposed Anne Tester/Mark Leech)
Vice-Chairman Dan Pooley (proposed Tim Stephens/Martin Carter)
Secretary Mark Leech (proposed Tim Stephens/Martin Carter)
Treasurer Anne Tester (proposed Tim Stephens/Chris Roughley)
Armourer Chris Roughley, Martin Carter, Anne Mills, Antoine (we agreed that we would try to spread the load between many people rather than relying on one person to maintain the kit; Chairman will try to manage who does what)
Welfare Officer Chris Roughley (proposed Tim Stephens/Mark Leech)