Last season was arguably the most successful in OBC’s history as a merged club. Trophies for the men’s and women’s premier teams, strong player numbers and a great culture. Yet the season before was a polar opposite. So, how did it all turn around? Committee member and player Ryan Astle shares his views.
For me it all started long before the season. In fact it was the end of the previous season, the premier men – a side stacked with talent – had just managed to avoid the wooden spoon in the two-day competition. Reading the paper the next day the headline read “From chumps to champs” and was a tale of perennial wooden-spooners Sydenham winning the two-day competition for the first time in 30 years. There and then I decided that I would do my upmost to ensure that OBC would turn our fortunes around and start reaching our potential. Thankfully, a number of others within the club, both on the committee and playing members had the same vision.
After collating results from a player survey for the prior season we saw what was important and set our plans in action. The first step, to turn around our culture; to create a club our people were proud of. It was essential that we address pulling all parts of the club together including women’s, men’s, kids, sponsors and supporters. We needed something to aspire to. Todd Astle was contacted to run an expectation setting session, which everyone contributed to and provided us with a shared vision that was driven from each player. Our aim? To be the club all other clubs would aspire to be, both on and off the field. In short to beTHEclub, a mantra you may have seen or heard. The result was game changing.
From the first training session, to the preseason trip to Dunedin, and then onto the paddock the commitment was clear. Training numbers were the highest they have been in the last 20 years, and competition for spots was intense. The women’s and men’s teams had a good relationship, ex players and supporters turned up to games and events, none more so than the one-day final, where the immense support got us over the line.
Player numbers were excellent throughout the season, with no defaults, a problem we had suffered the season prior. People wanted to be involved. Club Captain Greg McCarthy who does a stellar job, all of a sudden had the problem of too many players rather than too few.
One particular situation that was testament to how well beTHEclub resonated with all in the club was one of the final training sessions of the season. The 2B “Gators” had won their final two-day game inside of a day, and yet almost all of them came to training when their season was ultimately finished. I just don’t think this would have happened in years gone by.
The icing on the cake were the trophies. The premier women’s side winning the Kirsty Bond Series, and the premier men winning the one-day and two-day competitions. Celebrating the titles with club members and supporters and then getting to represent the Canterbury region at the national championship in Auckland will forever be etched in my memory.
The 2017/18 season is now upon us. Other clubs will be looking to knock us down a peg or two. For us it is important that we stick to our own internal standards and not just expect things to happen. The club is what we make it, so take personal responsibility yourself to ensure we are THE club that others want to be.