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1990

1990

1990  had a good start in that Rusty Burgin returned as Chairman, and a bad start when the Swale Borough Council's Development Control Sub-Committee rejected our revised plans for a two storey building on Murston Park ; it should be remembered that in 1985 the Club had obtained Planning Permission for changing facilities and a small club room.  Peter Scales wrote to Blue Circle on 22 January pointing out that Council Members were not convinced that Blue Circle would not renew our Lease, this left the Club three alternatives:

(1) submit plans for Building Regs . Approval in respect of the 1985 consent and start work on the foundations as consent expired on 19 February 1990, thereby we would preserve this position.

(2) Appeal against the Council's refusal to the Club's revised plans.

(3) Seek further clarification of B.C.I's intentions regarding this and other sites.

Needless to say as the 1985  approval was going to run out on 19 February the Club started work on the foundations for the smaller Clubhouse as we never wanted to “miss the boat”.  We had a bit of bad press because we started work but Councellors Brian Austin  and  Dick Calvert were there to defend us.  At a meeting with Council members on 14 March confirmation was given that we would only go up to damp proof level for the time being.  In June the General Secretary Brian Sherwood asked the Council if we would be able to sell alcohol in our new Clubhouse on Murston Park in order to “fund” it.

On 23 January the Club received a letter from Blue Circle in which they stated no commitment of a Lease could be given after  1991  and there was no intention to sell. 

On 26 th June a letter was received from David Thomas, Director of Leisure Services a supporter of the Club that he had heard from Blue Circle and they were reconsidering their arrangements with us:  “Hopefully there will be a solution available which will allow BCI to allay the club's understandable concerns over the present uncertainties”.  What should not be lost here is that the Council and BCI had a lot of other negotiations on the go and we were one of the pawns who might turn into a Queen. Clubhouse plus alternative land for a pitch?

It was in September that the Club was being asked by Blue Circle after discussions with the Council if we were interested in purchasing and a great deal of work was done on the “sums” by Peter Scales.  The Council were obviously negotiating with Blue Circle and if we could not afford the going price then other factors could come into account.  (All politics!)

Peter Scales and the committee were doing their homework in exploring ways to raise money by loans from Swale Borough Council, Whitbread and the National Westminster Bank, obviously the more the Council loaned us the better as the rate of repayment would be lower. Mr. Thomas and the Leisure Service Committee were in favour of supporting us and rightly deserved our thanks for their efforts.

In December contracts were exchanged for the purchase of the Clubhouse to be completed on 30 November 1991 at a cost of £260,000. This was well below what we felt Blue Circle wanted – in excess of £400,000 - and we had been given indications that anything under £250,000 would be unacceptable.   1990  therefore was a year of negotiations for the Clubhouse and  1991  would be raising the money, we looked like we would have 40% of it and the rest would be raised by looking for grants and loans.

Back in the Clubhouse in February Brian Bartlett found himself in trouble with the weather when a storm bought down fences and the changing room door was damaged, he also had overflow problems and a leaking radiator in the changing rooms  Colin Gunn  was there to lend a hand; then just as he was recovering from those problems the tractor had a puncture!

On the entertainment side the Bar Committee organised a Brewery Visit and the Social Committee had arranged music nights for six months, a Quiz Night, a Race Night, a very successful Hen Night and a disastrous Stag Night as not many of the men went!  There was also a coach trip to London and a float was put in the carnival at the end of June with a cockney theme.  After the carnival in the bar jellied eels, pie and mash, cockles and whelks were there to be enjoyed.

In April the Club won 20 barrels of beer from the brewery and with the Bar Committee's recommendation it was decided to sell the beer and buy a microwave with the profits. The Bar Committee also invited a member of the Indoor Games Committee to join them and suggested the Indoor Games purchased cue safes which would be put up in the games room, this was all sorted out later in the year.

In May the Main Committee agreed to pay for nets for Junior and Senior cricket, the Youth went to Wembley to see one of the Schoolboys' Internationals, Table Tennis coaching started on a Wednesday in the hall and Indoor Bowls on a Tuesday.  Indoor Games replaced the snooker equipment and Monday Night Games was struggling to get a team together.  In July Gardening held it's annual Make, Bake and Grow Show which was a great success.         

In June Marion and  Colin Gunn went off on annual leave and it was son Nick Gunn who took over the steering wheel behind the bar, and what a good job he did!  The Bar Committee Peter Wyeth, Roger Ford, Nick Graham, John Page, Colin Woodwood, Terry Wellard and  Colin Gunn were chuffed when our bar came second in the BEST KEPT BAR COMPETITION in the whole of Kent .

The Welsh arrived to play football once again organised by John Rees on 29 June and what a busy weekend that was with a football match on the morning of the 30 th and a cricket match in the afternoon, followed on the 1 July by the Football Section 5 a-side tournament which once again received a great deal of support with teams entered from all over Swale and beyond.  Yes, Murston Park was a busy place and Brian Bartlett  found himself fighting the weather again this time too dry and with a hosepipe band on, however he had permission from the Council to water the cricket square but still had side wards looks from the neighbours.  The excessive rain and the drought in 1990 is no doubt a year  Brian will remember more than most.

The Annual General Meeting in May saw some Main Committee changes with Andy Glazier and Sandra Tapp standing down.  The new committee was Rusty Burgin Chairman, Brian Sherwood General Secretary, Peter Scales Treasurer, Geof Merriott Membership Secretary , Peter Wyeth Assistant Secretary Bar, Ray Tayler Assistant Secretary Sections, Alan Rose Assistant Secretary Social, Brian Bartlett Assistant Secretary Land, Ken Newman Assistant Secretary Editor, plus three General Committee Members selected from the fifteen who stood, they were Colin Gunn, Terry Wellard  and  Colin Newnham.

At the A.G.M. Peter Scales produced his usual comprehensive report and answered questions, the Club's profit for the year was around £37,000.  Sandra Tapp  the Membership Secretary in her Annual Report stated Membership as 641 Full Members, 1146 spouses and children, 64 Senior Citizens, 10 Honorary Members and three Honorary Life Members namely Jock Weir, John Rees  and Ray Oddy 

There were two interesting Rule Amendments one being that Members could only propose or second a new member on three occasions, and the other that “Honorary Life Members shall be at the unanimous discretion of the Main Club Committee, decided at a meeting when all Main Club Committee Members are in attendance”.

At the A.G.M. Janet Pilgrim reported that the Badminton Section were still playing at the Rowena Sports Centre on a Monday, and the Youth Section report by Eddie Pilgrim was a proud one with the Under 13 team winning the League Cup and in the Maidstone League the Under 16 team finished Runners Up having lost only two games all season.

T he Gardening Section  suffered a great loss when their Chairman Mick Hunt  died, and at their A.G.M. Maggie Scales was elected the new Chairperson.

Cricket reported a good season with some first class victories matched by some second class collapses,  Ernie Pope was quick to praise Brian Lane on his century against Bow Rovers but wondered why he did not do it more regularly.

Sandra Tapp Secretary of Indoor Games reported that Indoor Bowls suffered a set back when the Bowls developed legs and walked, a lot of small purchases had been made but the most satisfying purchase was a contribution of £400 towards the cost of the new pool table.  Sandra could not praise Terry Wellard enough for his fund raising efforts especially with his “famous” Bus Stops.

In August the Social Committee organised a Sports Day and in September they  entered two teams in a Rounders Competition at Bowaters , unfortunately rain stopped play ( Brian must have been around), but it turned out on count back that our Team 2 were level with Barclays Bank so we shared the trophy.

September heard Fred Grover a long standing Member of the Football Section requesting a loudhailer for use outside, necessary when organising the 5– a-side which Fred had been instrumental in for three years;  Dave Matthews reported on this competition that our lads losed on a penalty shoot out.  Dave , the Chairman of Football, also reported that the Saturday and Sunday sides finished mid table 1989/90 season with some good results.

In October it was agreed to look for a second hand cooker as the replacement hob was going to cost £150, and the gas fire in the lounge was still not working properly, one consolation after the extreme weathers of the year Brian Bartlett had done his “Rain Dance” and reported that it had rained and the Park looked much better.

Terry Wellard was busy organising Inter Club Indoor Games competition and we agreed to the use of the hall for Aerobics on a Monday evening.  

The Social Committee drew the year to an end with it's first Bingo Night on 17 th November, a visit to Petticoat Lane for the bargains on 2 December, the Childrens ' party on the 8 th , and just to be different a Soul & Motown Disco on the 15 th , Father Christmas house calls on Christmas Day with Ray Oddy in his usual disguise.  Christmas and New Year was celebrated in true Woodcoombe tradition with streamers flying everywhere and loud bangs as the poppers were pulled.  The end of a positive and productive year.


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