Chairman’s Report 2009
Can I welcome you all to this the third AGM of Cobham Sports Association Ltd..
I referred in my last Chairman’s report to the previous year having been momentous, however I’m sure
all will agree that this year could well be described in similar terms.
The main points of the year are:-
Completion and opening of the new pavilion in late April 2008
Surfacing of the main car parking area in front of the clubhouse and down the driveway.
Holding our official pavilion opening day in September at which point it was officially named
after our patron and friend Peter Marsh.
Closing of the successful Patrons Board fundraising scheme and agreeing the final design for the
Board which is now due to be installed on 9th February 2009.
Behind the scenes there has also been extensive & ongoing work to:-
Ensure our new facilities are commercially sustainable
Ensure that the executive board and management committee continue to run the facilities and
to disseminate information to and from our constituent clubs.
Further develop the processes previously put in place to ensure good corporate governance.
Continue with the works of the Grounds Committee under the direction of Roger King and David
Continue to develop and implement CSA H&S policies under the direction of Dick Frost (our
H&S officer), who has been active in giving guidance and ensuring compliance throughout the
other sections of the club.
Update the CSA website to promote the clubs sporting and commercial activities under the
direction of Roy Bliss & Rory Murphy who have given unstintingly of their expertise throughout
To develop and nurture our Lacrosse section under the direction of Paul Reynolds who has also
continued with the reporting of our KPI’s to Sport England.
Despite delays which I referred to in last years report, Cape Construction the pavilions main contractor,
handed over the premises to us at the end of April 2008 by which time an incredible amount of
organisational input had been demanded from a small number of club members. Their input was
imperative in order to bring the building from a hollow shell to a functioning pavilion in time for the last
few weeks of the rugby season. This involved purchasing and installing all the furniture, fittings and kit
for the changing rooms, social areas, bar areas and kitchens as well as putting up signs, testing and
ensuring that all the mechanical and electrical installations were functioning and generally making sure
that we could meet the expectations that the new facilities had generated in our membership. I am
extremely grateful to Rob Waite, Gareth Palmer, Chris Shaw and Bill Carley for all their efforts at this
time and indeed for their continuing support throughout the past year.
The opening months of the new facilities proved to be a challenging time for those involved in the day to
day operations and management of the club. Many advance bookings had been taken for major social
functions including several weddings. We rapidly realised the necessity for a further detailed look at the
business plan and procedures that had been set in place prior to the pavilion opening.
A small steering committee was set up to strengthen the day to day management of our commercial
operations. This resulted in the appointment of Mags Davison as Commercial Manager in August 2008.
Her appointment has proved to be the determining factor in our current and future success. We are
extremely grateful for her determination and skill in promoting and running the facilities and in bringing
in additional sponsorship.
Whilst on the subject of sponsorship, we wish to record our grateful thanks to all our sponsors, not just
for their magnificent financial contribution but also for the guidance and advice which they continue to
offer so freely. We really are most grateful.
We were most fortunate to have the expertise and dedication of Pamela Palmer who, whilst assisting
her brother Gareth, to run our in-house caterers Vanilla Bean, was seconded to us almost full time on
the events side during the spring and summer. She now continues to deal with our events management
on a part time basis, and I’m sure any of those who have had dealings with her cannot help to be
impressed by her efficiency.
During the early summer, we experienced a major change in the way that the playing surfaces were
managed as a result of Bob Spavin standing down. This necessitated the urgent transfer of his
responsibilities to Surrey Sports Turf Management Ltd and we are very grateful to Paul Reynolds who
stepped in to organise and oversee this transfer.
The appointment of an independent contractor to look after the playing surfaces has brought a number
of issues to the fore, particularly the overuse of the ground due to the ever increasing demand and
success of our constituent clubs, and a lack of proper control and investment over previous years
Bob’s absence also deprived us of our Bar anchor man. A very difficult situation was avoided by the
dedication and organisational skills of Chris Dean and David Williams who together with Julie Baddock,
Bill Carley and Duncan Felton stepped in to ensure the bars continued to operate effectively. It was
therefore with great relief that Bob was able to return to us as Bar Manager at the start of the rugby
season. At the same time we were also able to appoint Julie Baddock as Assistant Bar manager and Bill
Carley as Janitor.
Over the past few years it has become clear to both the CSA and CRFC executive that the commercial
and relationship basis on which the CSA deals with its constituent sections is a very cumbersome and
ineffective way of running matters. Currently the CSA own the ground and facilities which are then
rented out to the sports and other sections which operate from the ground. Through a slow
communication process the CSA Ltd then agree and cascade policy and decisions through the sections.
This has proved difficult and in some instances almost unworkable. Additionally our situation with
financial and Corporate Governance structures are not ideal and may have left individuals exposed to
liability. Therefore over the past couple of years we have considered merging with, in the first instance,
the Rugby Club. These discussions have involved obtaining detailed legal and accountancy advice from
Weldon Turnbull and I am pleased to report that the proposed merger, having been voted on and
agreed by both CRFC and CSA Executive committees, is now being put before the membership at this
AGM and at the CRFC EGM that follows this meeting.
Although this is being referred to as a merger, this primarily relates to the business and commercial
operations of the sections. It does not relate to the day to day running of the individual sections which
will be free to take their own decisions in relation to the running of their individual sports.
As part of this process, we will be merging the trading arms of both organisations into a new trading
company, which will deal with all commercial matters including sponsorship under the banner of
COBHAM RUGBY & SPORTS ASSOCIATION TRADING LTD. The Rugby Club will also be formed into
COBHAM RUGBY CLUB LTD which will both protect its officers and satisfy the recommendations of the
Whilst this is taking place, the CSA Ltd will also register as a fully fledged charitable organisation rather
than a Community Amateur Sports Club in order that all the assets of the combined organisations are
irrevocably protected for posterity and that any trading profits can be retained free of tax.
I have already singled out several people for thanks in this report, but I wish to give special thanks to the
following who have given incredible dedication and expertise to the running of our organisation over the
DAVID WILLIAMS; DAVID SMALL; ANDY HARBURN; PETER TAYLOR; ROGER KING; DICK FROST; PAUL
REYNOLDS; ROY BLISS; RORY MURPHY; STUART DAVIES; STEVE AND PETER NEWLAND; BILL CARLEY;
GARETH PALMER; BOB MCQUADE ; CLIFF BASS; PAUL QUOY
I should also like to mention firstly all those Braemar members who, under the direction of Colin
Johnson and Roger King, have carried out an enormous amount of work around the ground, from
painting the corridors and clubroom to cutting back the overgrowth around the ground and painting the
steel containers and secondly members of the Tennis section who have not only run raffles and other
events to raise funds for the development, but have been to the fore when help was needed in the
pavilion during challenging times throughout the summer.
Chris Kearsey our President and Peter Taylor our Secretary are standing down both as directors and
from the Board of management. The CSA owes an enormous debt of gratitude to both Chris and Peter.
Chris has been on the CSA committee for more years than I and I suspect he cares to remember, having
served as Chairman as well as President. Peter has been a staunch ally and adviser both to me and to the
CSA during its recent period of great change, his sound judgement and dedication have been exemplary
and he assures me will not be lost to the CSA as a result of his standing down.
As you will see from the Agenda for this evenings meeting, it is proposed that Andy Harburn becomes a
board member with the title of Commercial Director, and the position of secretary will be taken over by
Richard Hornby. Both Andy and Richard have done a tremendous amount of work for the club and I do
hope that you will support their nominations. I am of course delighted that David Small has offered to
continue as Treasurer and cannot emphasise just how fortunate we are to have his abilities and
commercial skills at our disposal. David Williams, although not currently wishing to be a director, will
continue to work closely with Andy, Mags and the Board to develop the commercial side of the club.
I have once again asked each section chairman to provide a brief report and will publish these reports as
an attachment to this report which will be uploaded onto the CSA website after this meeting.
If I was asked to list the events that stand out in my mind over the past year, I would have to say that
the first pre-match lunch, the formal opening day in September when Braemar members cut the ribbon
and named the building The Peter Marsh Pavilion, would be at the top of that list together with the
fantastic Summer Ball in June.
The sports played at the club go from strength to strength with ever improving results. However as
indicated earlier in this report, this success has put enormous strain on the playing surfaces which may
necessitate some difficult short term decisions being taken in order to safeguard and re-generate them.
At the same time, we are actively looking at opportunities to acquire or lease other areas for training
and additional playing surfaces.
Finally, this is a successful members’ sports club. It is also clear that having come this far, we need to
have a clear vision for the future and I believe that we should now be focusing on the following points:-
Will we have new / additional playing surfaces?
Can we achieve fiscal success by utilising the clubhouse to the full?
Can we expand the level and number of sports we offer to the community?
We are however not immune from the current financial problems affecting our country and we need
your support, not just fundraising but by volunteering to help run the club, promoting and using the club
for your parties, business meetings and social gatherings and by personally supporting the lunches,
themed dinners, the Wine Club and other events which we will be holding through out the coming year.
Chairman CSA Ltd