CHAIRMAN`S REPORT (given at the Club`s AGM on 22 February 2014)

Dear Kongoni,


What a pleasure it is to present the Annual Report in our newly renovated pavilion and specifically in the Derek Breed Library.  I am proud that this will be the first of many such reports to be delivered in this room.

This past year has been one of the most challenging I have known since I have been part of the Committee.  Whilst challenging, it has also been a very rewarding one.  We were faced with two major projects.

The first and more obvious was the refurbishment of the Pavilion.  This was a major undertaking that took a lot of time of the Committee members to ensure that ‘we got it right’, and I am pleased to say, from the feedback that we have received, we have ended up with a pavilion to be proud of.  There are many people to thank for this – the architect Simon Johnson, the contractors Visaro, the Nairobi Club Chairman who has been very supportive and trusted us to do the job, Amina who did a fantastic job in renovating the furniture and Nigel Shaw who cast his legal eye over the contractual arrangements.  In addition the Committee themselves have been involved in all aspects of the project.  They have all played a very valuable role and it is difficult to single out individuals, but I must thank Stewart Henderson and Julian Ince who ensured that the funds were well managed and cheques were written etc., and Matt Rudd who stepped in when necessary to oversee the project.   Of course, one Committee member deserves extra special mention and that is the Brigadier, Adrian Naughten.  The Brig oversaw the project, liaised with the architect, builders, furniture people, Nairobi Club and sundry others to help ensure that the final product was what we wanted. He spent many hours with all of the people listed above and strove very hard, and succeeded, in ensuring that we obtained a quality product.  We are very grateful to him for all of his hard work and dedication.

Finally, there is one person without which none of this would have been possible and that is the Patron, Derek Breed, who provided the resources for the refurbishment.  Derek has shown enormous faith in us as a Committee, in the future of this club and in the future of cricket both here at the Kongonis and also in Kenya.  Although Derek entrusted us to get on with the job with little interference, that is not to say that he did not take a keen interest in developments and was always ready to provide very sound advice as we went along.  We are profoundly grateful to him. 

Before moving on to our second major challenge last year, I should touch on the status of the other facilities of the club.  We developed a five-year plan to refurbish the key facilities, and the only item left outstanding is the pitch and outfield.  This is a major expense and we are not yet certain how to address this issue.  The nets are almost complete – new surface is in house and it will be laid shortly.  However, having ticked most of the boxes, we now find ourselves where some of the items are already needing either replacement or renovation, such as the covers, which have already lasted beyond the time we were advised they would last, the new sightscreen at the Nairobi Club end is in need of new paint and the outfield mower needs to be replaced.  All of this requires funding, of which more later.

The second undertaking we faced last year was the East African Cricket Foundation.  As I mentioned last year, some time back the Patron developed an idea to establish a Charity to build on the donations of the UK members who have so generously provided the resources for our development program.  The expectation was that the Charity would provide a more sustainable and larger revenue source to maintain and very much enhance the Development Program.  As we learnt during the year, the laws and regulations governing UK Charities precluded this, essentially because we are a private members’ Club.  So a new relationship between the Club and the Charity had to be found and this apparently simple task has proven to be quite complex.  Nevertheless, we believe we have come up with a workable arrangement.  In short, we shall move forward with the Foundation as two connected but independent entities.  We shall look to the Foundation as a source of new talent for our Program.  At the same time, we offer an opportunity for those in the Foundation’s program to develop their talent beyond what the Foundation itself can offer – specialist nets sessions and an opportunity to play league cricket alongside our regular development squad and indeed members.  The details have yet to be worked through, but I am very confident that this arrangement will provide a solid basis for us to begin and for the relationship to evolve as we work towards our shared goals.

So, what lies ahead for 2014?  This year will see our focus shift to other areas.

First is fundraising.  You will hear shortly from the Hon. Treasurer that we have dipped into our reserves for the last two years to sustain our ongoing activities, particularly Development and Cricket activities.  This is despite a generous contribution from Wilken to support the coaching, administration and clothing costs and a very welcome contribution from Aggreko.  In addition, we have now exhausted the component of the UK fund that was allocated to supporting the day-to-day activities of the Development Program.  There is still support for another five years for the scholar program and specialist coaching.  Obviously, there was some disappointment that the Charities’ regulations precluded us from benefitting directly, although we may be able to share some resources with the Foundation to offset our running costs.   In summary, we need to enhance our fundraising activities to maintain, indeed enhance our Development Program, to maintain our playing and practice facilities and to provide a cushion as we move forward.  So, this item is high on the list of priorities for the incoming Committee.

Second is the Development Program.  I have already indicated some key areas here, in terms of the relationship with the EACF and funding.  In light of these, we need to review the Program as a whole – what is it we are trying to achieve, are we going about it in the right way, what else could we do.

And finally the Club itself.  This last year has been a bit disruptive with the renovations to the pavilion, which is the heart and soul of the Club.  I sometimes think that we could do a lot more to get all of our members involved, not just those who play regularly.  I hope the new pavilion will provide a catalyst for this, together with more tours similar to the one we had a couple of weeks ago to Usa River.  With all of these things, communication is the key, so the new committee will be asked to give this area more consideration.

It now remains for me to say a few words about the outgoing Committee.  Two people are stepping down from the Committee this year. 

Rowan Stott who has been on the Committee for the past three years has decided to have a break.  Rowan has provided very welcome input as a Committee member, particularly with regard to looking after the Development squad.  He has spent many Friday afternoons with the squad and has developed a very strong rapport with them.  Fortunately for us, he has agreed to provide assistance with regard to the update of our web site.  For that, and for the time he has generously given as part of the Committee, thank you very much Rowan.

And the Club Captain will also be leaving us as he heads to the famous cricketing bailiwick of Kingston, Jamaica.  Sadly, Chris was only Captain for a year and we did rather throw him in at the deep end as he had not been part of the Committee before.  Nevertheless, despite a tricky start, he coped admirably and we are very grateful to him for the work he has undertaken to arrange fixtures, pull teams together and to provide the match reports.  Chris won’t be leaving until May and we shall be organizing a farewell match for him.  But can I say to Chris now: thank you for your contribution to the Club, you go with our very best wishes and we look forward to bringing a KKCC team over to Kingston to soften up the fast bowlers there.

I should also mention that Paul Marshall will be stepping down from the Development position which has held for the past year, although he has offered himself for election.   Paul has kept the Development program together during, as I said, a challenging period as we worked through the establishment of the EACF and undertook the refurbishment of the nets.  As for Rowan, Paul has developed very close, mentoring relationships with several members of the Program, and has put in a lot of hours both at practice sessions and at the games the squad has been involved in.  In particular, in his time as Club Captain, he carried a lot of the burden of organizing our participation in the EA cricket competitions.  Paul, thank you also for all of your hard work and we are very grateful that you will continue to serve as a committee member.

To the rest of the committee, I can only add my deep thanks for all of your contributions, both outside the Committee meetings but also during the meetings.  We have had some, shall I say, lively discussions during the past year. That this really is a sign of a healthy Committee with a passionate interest in the Club is highlighted by the fact that we always reached agreement and we always had a very enjoyable beer afterwards.  So, on behalf of the members, can I say that we are very grateful for and appreciative of all of your hard work

With best wishes to all


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