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Join the EFA

To become a member of the EFA, simply print out and fill in the three forms below and return them to Gareth Hoskins, EFA Secretary, 45 Sandhills Crescent, Solihull, B91 3UE. Membership costs £46 per year, £28 for those Under 25 and £5 per year for those Under 21.

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A Message from EFA Chairman Chris Davies:

June 2018

I hope that as we come to the end of another season and my first as chairman, you will be interested in a brief review of the Association’s work this year and its aspirations for the future. Overall, by any standards, this has been a strong year for the Association both on and off the court.

On court we have seen the continued dominance of Karen Hird (EFA player of the year) and Charlotta Cooley in the women’s championships and of Tom Dunbar and Seb Cooley in the men’s. Tom and Seb remain unbeaten as a pair in all competitive matches and are potentially closing in on record-establishing wins as a pair. It is exciting to note however that in both the Northern and Kinnaird competitions Jonny Ho and Riki Holden fought their way to the final, beating off some of the traditional old guard. Some fascinating encounters are in store next season as these rivalries are renewed.

It is equally pleasing to report that very significant numbers are playing at all other levels of the game. Matches at schools, universities and in championships, festivals, plates, friendlies, club nights and at the veterans were all well attended.

Congratulations too to other recipients of awards at the recent EFA dinner:
Charlie Plummer - Young player of the year.
Ryan Perrie - Coach of the year
Oxford University - Team of the year
Chris Ballingall - Special contribution of the year
Mike Hughes - Lifetime achievement award

Off the court, it has been a busy and productive year and I should like to use this opportunity to thank all those who have given their time to grow the game. One very memorable highlight of the year was the exceptional celebration of the Old Citizens 125th Anniversary in the Long Room at Lord’s. Over 180 of us had the pleasure of being in attendance and we are all grateful to John Reynolds and his team for organising it.

As I mentioned above there can be little doubt that more and more of us are playing the game. This is in strong part down to the initiatives taken by the FiveStar programme. If you are still unaware of its work then I do urge you to click on to the document on the EFA website and read it in some detail. Fundamentally its aim is to preserve and grow the game by ensuring first of all that established courts are well used and secondly by establishing opportunities for those who traditionally would not have enjoyed access to the game. This means the building of new courts in universities, schools and in public sports centres across the country. Tom Tsang and Alex Knight have been appointed by the EFA as Directors of Development in the Midlands/North and South respectively. With their salaries paid by an anonymous donor, they are doing a remarkable job for the EFA and we have recently secured a £30,000 award from the Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation

Public courts are being developed in a number of areas. Club nights continue in established school courts but even more pleasingly there has been a huge recent growth in numbers playing at Newbury, Westway and Cambridge University. We are also very excited by the realistic potential of the development of six new courts at the Abbeydale Sports Centre in Sheffield in the near future. We are also already in discussions with two universities who are very interested in building courts. Further details on developments in schools are available on the website.

All this requires a tremendous amount of work and whilst many have been involved I hope that no one will mind if I mention the work of a few individuals around whom the organisation of the Eton Fives world really hinges.

The FiveStar programme is being driven, relentlessly, by former Chairman Richard Black. The growth of numbers playing the game at Westway and Cambridge University are down to the work of Paul Bowden and Nick Preston respectively. The massive programme of the Schools’ Championships is run by Mark Williams and the finances of the whole Association are under the detailed management and control of Martin Powell. The day to day running of Eton Fives is in the hands of the extraordinarily capable Gareth Hoskins.

I mention them not because any of them requires public acclaim but I do think they deserve, and in many ways need, your assistance.The work they now do is very substantially in excess of the roles they envisaged when they initially volunteered. I know that none of them are ready to throw their gloves in at this stage but I would not want their roles to become so large that they become impossible to follow. Someone else who at least knows and understands each of these roles would be a significant asset when it comes to any transition.I do hope that you will be able to consider giving any time or expertise you may have to help any of these post holders or indeed any other fives administrators. I am sure that many of the hard working club secretaries and treasurers would welcome some assistance too.

The other reason I have gone into a little bit of detail in this letter and have urged you read more about the FiveStar programme is to develop an understanding of where the game lies financially both now and in the context of the ambitious development programme we very much hope lies in front of us.

At the moment under Martin’s very careful, even prudent management, we are just about surviving. Even he would admit however that this would not be the case without a series of hard won sponsorship deals. We would not be sensible to become dependent upon these for our survival. Every new club that opens up requires coaching and administrators. Whilst it is our ambition that they become self-funding, they are unlikely to be so in their early years.

The EFA can gain more money from subscriptions in two ways. The first and clearly optimal method is by increasing the number of paying members of the Association. Can I please ask all Secretaries of Clubs to ensure that as many of their members as possible are also members of the EFA? Increasing the number of people paying a subscription is far more appealing than significantly increasing the amount paid by each individual.

Subscriptions have not been increased for three years now and this year we have resisted the call from some to impose a significant increase, settling instead to raise the full fee from £43 to £46 and the reduced fee for younger members from £25 to £28. Indeed this 7% rise barely keeps pace with inflation since the last increase. The age at which younger members will make the transition to the full fee however has been reduced to 25 (from 30). Existing members already aged 26-29 will continue to pay the reduced fee, while those under the age of 21 will continue to pay just £5 per year. I am sure you will all support this.Those who feel we should have increased fees further are very welcome to pay a higher amount!

If anyone would like to hear further details about the FiveStar project or has any questions about the Association I shall of course be very happy to take the time to talk to you.

I wish you all a good summer and best wishes for the season to come.

Yours faithfully

Chris Davies