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Old Boltonians AFC Secretary's Report 2018-19

After the mixed success of the 1st XI in the previous season Steve and the players were hungry to bring silverware back to Chapeltown. There was lots to live up to from the previous seasons with 6 successive top 2 finishes and maintain the high standards being set by the club. There was again a shake up in the management with former player Stewart WillIams taking up the 2nd XI in a player/manger role, ably assisted by Rog Milne. The A-Team was being run by the triumvirate of Jimmy Hark, Phill Stott and Chris Hulton.

A season that promised so much for the 1st XI ultimately ended in disappointment. Their league form unusually started off patchy with two losses in the opening four games including a 3-0 loss to eventual winners Whitworth Valley. There was mixed results over the next few months with some Jekyll and Hyde performances, however the patchy form culminated in throwing a 2-0 lead slip v Old Mancs, defeat in LFA cup on penalties and the straw that broke the camels back a 6-0 drubbing from a young and hungrier Rochdale team.

Steve and the coaching staff went back to basics, working on fitness and freshening up the team. This ultimately worked losing only once for the remainder of the season, and finishing with the best form in the league including some fantastic away results , 6-2 at Failsworth and 2-1 at Mostonians . The only other defeat was against a strong Elton Vale side in the Hospital Cup. A disappointing start resulted in a very strong finish gives Steve a case of "what if” but also much optimism going into the new season. Thanks again to Steve and his coaching staff for running training and all he does for the club, it really is appreciated!

The Reserves with their new player manager were hungry to launch a promotion charge and get a strong squad back together.  The club had a mixed start only losing 2 of the first 12 games but too many drawn games would eventually cost them, but a very respectable 5th place finish combined with a slender 3-2 defeat in the LAL cup final offers again much optimism for the 2019/20 season. Stewart has been ever present at training and dedicated much of his time to help bring the team forward and was duly rewarded wining Clubman of the Year. The team will definitely have their sights back on returning back to Div 1 and being the highest placed Reserves side in the LAL once again.

After the disappointment of relegation the previous season the A-Team's primary target was promotion from Division 4. The previous seasons have had issues of getting players to training and turn out on Saturdays, however this season it was quite the opposite. A cohesive group of players who regularly trained and giving the management the unusual headache of too many players to select from! The strength and depth of the squad proved pivotal, in the final game of the season confirmed the title and promotion to Division 3. A 2-1 Cup final defeat was disappointing after being down to 10 men in the opening half but the team and management should be proud of a very successful season!

It is also worth commending the players as all 3 teams finished 2nd in the “Fair Play” standings in the LAL, this is a vast improvement on previous seasons when we have been near the bottom. This bodes well for the introduction of Sin Bins next season!

The Vets team have been reinforced yet again combining the stalwart players with quality “young” players which has proved to be a recipe for success. They have been at top end of the table all season finishing in an improved 3rd place, this has proved good enough for promotion to the very competitive Division 1. An excellent cup run ended in a disappointing final loss to an excellent Horwich side.  It was an enjoyable season for all involved including the culmination of the annual tournaments in the Chapeltown sunshine.  A competitive and exciting season awaits next season including a trip to Jersey in 2020 which has proved very popular so far when more silverware could be on the horizon!

The Ladies in their inaugural season have settled in seamlessly, run fantastically by Stacey and Barry they have had excellent participation at both training and matches performing admirably in the league with a mid-table finish including Sue Doak finishing the clubs top scorer with an impressive 43 goals! Another summer of recruitment can see the girls climb the table and gain promotion.

Off the pitch, the club has never been in better health! The introduction of monthly subscription instead of annual subs has proved to be a huge success, not only making life easier for managers and the treasurer but providing the much needed funding to help run the club.  This year there was no Black and White ball so all focus was on the Annual OBAFC Dinner, a landmark moment for the club as partners and the ladies team were invited. It was extremely well attended and valuable funds were raised, our Centenary ball next year will hopefully prove to be our biggest and best. Fundraising is at the heart of how we keep the club in good financial condition and the club want to continue to grow our Patrons Appeal to anyone who has played or supported the club over the years.   

The club continues to invest in the maintenance and improvement of facilities and pitches, with improvements to pitch condition and the addition of the new “box” goals planned for the close season, thanks as always go to Dave Lee for his tireless work throughout the season.

Moving forward, the club and committee are improving and developing the club in all areas and with the addition of the new Development Team run by Ju Stevens we will soon be running 6 teams from Chapeltown. As we enter our Centenary year, Old Bolts continues to be one of the leading amateur clubs in the northwest.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Holt

Club Secretary