Tuesday, 25 June 2019

From the Archives - Part 6, 1985-87 - Salvation and Triumph!

At the end of Part 5 of this epic account of the club's early years, KCC was teetering on the edge of extinction, brought low by rampant expenditure on frivolities such as rent, score sheets and clocks. A rift had opened up in the committee over the way forwards, and the Treasurer had found himself side-lined as the Secretary's power bloc became the undisputed policy driver. What will the new season hold? The world holds its breath and prays that KCC will come through these dark days ……..


July 1985 - but first we need to backtrack slightly, as Bruce's impeccable records have yielded absolute gold dust - a list of the attendances of everyone who ever attended a club night, from the foundation in 1976 till now. The all time top 10 is, in ascending order:-

10 Bernard Golding      106  (last attendance, 1982)
9   John Rowley            138  (last attendance, 1984)
8   Barry Rowe             142  (last attendance, 1981)
7   Sidney Searles        167  (last attendance, 1980)
6   Graham Brightwell   180  (last attendance, 1984)
5   Chris Aldridge          189
4   Dave Tilley               210
3   Geoff Temple           240
2   Bernard Rogers        315
1   Bruce Holland          317

Besides the top 5, only three others from the top 22 are still club members in 1985 - Ed Goodwin (16th, 73); Roy Watson (18th, 66) and Phil Evans (22nd, 61).

September 1985 - As decided at the AGM, Bruce writes to Kenilworth WMC. Chris, a WMC member, has already made overtures on our behalf, and a club delegation (including Bruce and Bernard) has been to view facilities, which have been deemed satisfactory. We are concerned, though, about maintaining our identity and independence, and the situation regarding juniors and women. How will tut' WMC Committee respond?

The club has 14 members and 5 non-participating members. (I think we know their type!) The KCC diaspora extends as follows:-

Kenilworth     8
Coventry       3
Leamington   2
Rugby            1

Sigh - the Radford Semele years are over (for good, I think). Ed has moved to Coventry, and John Rowland is now a non-participant.

Club grades are:-

Ed Goodwin         176
Joe Soesan          166
Bernard Rogers   152
Barry Ades           139
Adam Collinson   139 (already!)
John Skinner       135
Steve Burnell       125
Geoff King           109
Chris Aldridge     106
Bruce Holland     103
Roy Watson        103
Geoff Temple      102
Dave Tilley           99

October 30th 1985 - the WMC say yes! They will even close the pool table on a Thursday night for us. It is a new era for KCC, freed at last from the rent serfdom of the St Francis years. Financially, the club has just lost its major expenditure item. Given prudent fiscal leadership, the future seems assured.

December 12th 1985 - the club plays its first ever home match at the WMC - a Division 1 encounter against Banbury A, which we win by a crushing 3.5-0.5. There are wins for Ed, Joe and Barry, and a draw for Adam. Remarkably, the B team and the C team will also each win their first home matches at the new venue after Christmas, as does the KO Cup team.

May 1986 - Despite/because of the new venue, we win Division 1 on game points after tieing with Leamington A on 18/24. The B team finishes second in Division 2, just a point behind Banbury B, and the C team come 2nd= in Division 3 after a three way tie with Leamington D (champions) and Daventry. We also won the KO Cup, for our second double. There may have been a bit of a misunderstanding about the detail, but nevertheless it is very nice of the WMC to send us a congratulatory letter for becoming "Chess Champions of Warwickshire." We got knocked out of the National Club Major in Round 2 by "a very strong team".

The results of the club's internal competitions are also known - Joe Soesan wins the Tilley Trophy, with 4.5/6, closely followed by Adam Collinson on 4. (I think you can see which club player has the momentum here!) The Soesan Trophy sees a tie between Bruce and Roy, with 3/4 and once again Bruce triumphs in a play off.

July 1986 - Bernard got married! Congratulations from everyone at KCC.

September 1986  - The club persists with these September AGMs, and on the 4th of the month 11 people attend the latest edition (including Bruce, Bernard and Roy), with apologies from Joe Soesan. Chris is apparently not sorry to miss the meeting! One attendee who is new to me is George Cotterill - shame it wasn't George Botterill! Everyone is much happier than 12 months ago.

While membership seems to be stuck at 13/14, the move from St Francis' church half way through the season has massively improved the club's financial position and the Treasurer reports a £23 surplus for the year and a balance of £41.12. However, when it comes to subscription levels, he is conspicuously quiet and it is Bruce and Roy (the power axis of the future?) who propose 1986/87 subs of £6 (£3 for juniors), subject to a December review by the Committee of  a possible £4 supplementary fee. The meeting decides to purchase two new clocks, but then Geoff King offers to donate one.

The internal club championships will be revised so that two equal strength leagues will be formed, with the winners of each to play off for the Tilley Trophy. The highest placed players from the lower half  of the club, grading wise, would play off for the Soesan Trophy. The A team squad (Ed still Captain) for the coming season is the club's strongest ever and includes Bernard and Adam Collinson. Bruce is in the B team, with Chris and Roy in C.

May 1987 - Coventry City win the FA Cup …… and Kenilworth A win Division 1 ...….. and Kenilworth B win Division 2 ...…… and Kenilworth C ………... come 2nd in Division 3. Just one match point away from an unprecedented quadruple!! The A team finishes 7 points clear of Leamington B, while the B team are also decisive winners of their division, 3 points ahead of Leamington C. We missed out on the double by losing in a replay of the KO Cup final to Leamington. On the individual front, Ed won both the League individual and the League speed play (?) titles. We went out to Nuneaton in the second round of the National Club Major.

September 10th 1987 - A bumper turnout of 15, including Bruce, Bernard, Roy, 2 Collinsons, Joe Soesan, Steve Burnell and John Skinner. Ed and Geoff King are sorry they can't attend, but Chris, once again, apparently is not.

Membership had fallen to as low as 10 at the start of the season, but was now at a much healthier 18.

Ed had won the Tilley Trophy, but a play off between Geoff Temple and Geoff King to decide the Soesan Trophy was still outstanding. The Chairman was not happy about the number of games that were not played.

Bruce resigns as Secretary! Probably satisfied with having won the power struggle with Bernard back in '85, he is now focussing on bigger fish through his work as League Chairman and Treasurer of Warwickshire County Chess Association. But reading between the lines, I think he will clearly be the power behind the throne at KCC!

Bernard disgraces himself yet again by presenting accounts that show a loss of £26, even though we now have zero rent! The Cov B.S. balance is down to £15. Although he is a busted flush as far as I can see, he then proposes subs of £6.50, with a possible supplementary fee of £3.50 if needed, with Juniors half price. Possibly out of sympathy, the meeting votes this through, but Bernard then does the decent thing and resigns as Treasurer. No surprise there, he's simply not a numbers/money kind of guy and it was unfair to put him in charge of such a big budget - the club needs income of £100-110 pa to break even! I think we have to deduce it was just too much for him.

Fresh from his "triumphs" as Treasurer, Bernard stands for the post of Secretary and, incomprehensibly, is voted in by the meeting. Still, as Bruce proposed him, I guess that no one dared stand against him! Our new Treasurer is Geoff King while Ed stands down as A team Captain to be replaced by Barry Ades. For the third year running Roy will be C team Captain.

There is a tie when we vote on entering the National Club - half the meeting wants to be in the Intermediate (u-150) and half in the Major (u-175). Crucially three abstain. It is resolved to leave the decision to the Captain, but as that is John Skinner (proposed by Bruce!), who proposed entry in the Intermediate, I think we can see which way the club is going on this!

The experiment with the internal club tournaments will not be repeated, and we revert to the old system of two competitions, split according to grade. Finally, in an unexpected outburst of volunteering spirit, Bernard offers to organise a club quick-play tournament, and Roy a club ladder in summer 1988.


So, although the crisis was survived and the club's playing fortunes flourished after our move to a new, rent-free venue, the finances remain shaky. Moreover, with Bruce no longer Secretary, will the club records be maintained as assiduously by Bernard? We'll find out this, and more, in the next exciting instalment of "From the Archives"!

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