THE OVAL CLUB
For many years the Rugby Club had to arrange funding from banks to ensure its survival and it is a perennial problem meeting the budget figures. The funding of projects is very difficult to achieve without increasing the overall debt or cutting back on areas that are really in need of money to maintain their standing.
With this in mind in 1998 some BSRFC members got together to try to find a way of raising funds to help the Club. The Oval Club was founded with this aim -
'To contribute towards promoting the highest possible standard of rugby throughout Bishop's Stortford Rugby Football Club'
From the beginning it was decided that The Oval Club should be autonomous and entirely independent of the Rugby Club's financial and administration operations. None of the Committee members hold a position or appointment in the Rugby Club's infrastructure. The Oval Club does not influence, and does not want to influence, decisions of the Rugby Club, although most of the Trustees are members of The Oval Club. It communicates with the Rugby Club through one person who channels requests for financial assistance to The Oval Club with the full knowledge of the Rugby Club's Executive Committee, thereby maintaining total integrity between the two organisations.
Two thirds of The Oval Club's income is donated to the Rugby Club for specific projects to be undertaken and the other third is reserved to fund social occasions for the enjoyment of Oval Club members. The Oval Club has always stood by the principle that it will only provide funds for one-off projects of long term value to the Rugby Club and not for regular requirements that should be undertaken through the budget of the Rugby Club.
The Oval Club has been in existence for more than 19 years and has raised over £225,000 of which the Rugby Club has received in excess of £138,000 for various projects. Often these donations have been used as seed corn to enable the Club to obtain grants from the RFU and other sources.
These donations have been a major contribution towards the cost of :
• Pitch repair and maintenance,
• Improvement of the playing surfaces, including the purchase of a verti-drainer,
• Floodlighting the back field pitches,
• Drainage of the floodlit pitches,
• Replacement of goal posts,
• Playing equipment and travel costs for all teams,
• Purchase of physiotherapy equipment,
• Refurbishing the changing room showers,
• Supporting youth and mini through tours, kit and additional playing facilities,
• Junior coaching courses.
On the social side of The Oval Club members have enjoyed several events each year provided by their fund.
There is an annual self-supporting golf day at one of the local golf clubs when The Oval Club Trophy for the winning team and the Best Individual Cup are played for. The Annual General Meeting is then held to update members on the activities of The Oval Club and its financial position. This followed by drinks and a meal for members.
Lunch is provided for members at one First Team home league fixture when the match ball is sponsored.
A coach and lunch is provided at one 'local' away fixture of the First Team each season to which Oval Club members are invited.
The current membership is 74. Whilst this is deemed by the Committee to be an appropriate and manageable number would-be Rugby Club members interested in joining The Oval Club should contact a member of the Committee when their request to join will be duly considered.
Through its donations The Oval Club has played a considerable part in helping the Rugby Club enhance its reputation within rugby circles and the local community. It is possible that without these funds the Rugby Club would have been poorly placed to achieve the results and standards it seeks.
Members of the present Committee are:
Robbie Kerr - Chairman
John Robinson - Secretary
John Power- Treasurer