Abingdon Aunt Sally Association – A message from the Committee (otherwise known as the unknown gang of 5!)
As May approaches we have turned our thoughts to Aunt Sally in what continues to be a very strange and difficult world. We would, this week, have been eagerly anticipation our retreat to the pub every Wednesday for the next 18 weeks without any need for any excuse other than it’s Aunt Sally, I can’t let the team down we’ve only got 8 players and it’s 8 a side!
We think it’s fair to say that like 2020 it just won’t be possible to organise a full league again this year. Pubs have only just re-opened and only for outdoors and table service, some haven’t yet re-opened and some may never re-open. It will be mid May before anyone is allowed inside and June 21st before we can think that anything is like normal as we knew it, but even then some features of lockdown like social distancing, hand sanitation and mask wearing are still likely to be required
As a Committee e have a duty of care for all of our clubs and all of their players with regard to the playing of organised Aunt Sally.
We know many people want to start playing Aunt Sally as soon as they can, many are still very cautious and understandably so, others may choose not to play at all in 2021 and maybe many will, after a season’s break may never come back having got out of the habit!
With all of that in mind we want to hear the views of all of our pubs and clubs as to what we can do and should do for the Summer beyond June effectively a maximum of 12/13 weeks, half a season! Whatever feedback we get, 2022 will not be our official 61st season, that hopefully will come in 2022.
So what can we do? We are open to suggestions and some have already been aired and they are the options listed below! This is not exclusive and that is why we are asking for your responses, which ideally we need by 16th May. Please see what your players think, what your landlord/steward thinks, that will help us decide what to do. There is no doubt that here is an appetite to play for many and whatever we decide some Aunt Sally, the rattle of wood against wood (or in most of our cases the silence of wood passing fresh air or wood against iron) will be resounding around the Vale and South Oxfordshire probably on Wednesday’s throughout the Summer providing pubs and clubs re-open and stay open!
So, the potential options so far
- We could establish for those pubs and clubs who want to play “unofficial leagues to match teams of near similar strength based on 2019 averages, perhaps with each side playing each other once with no trophies but perhaps some form of token prize for the league champions. We, the Committee could record scores based on telephoned or emailed results being sent to nominated committee members. No fees, registration forms or match cards would be required/provided. We would simply record the match result and maintain league tables.
- We could encourage teams to organise friendlies only with no records, rewards or committee involvement. This would keep the game alive and encourage people to play. The challenge with this is all organising would need to be done by the teams themselves and they could possibly organise local mini leagues to encourage as many pubs and clubs to participate and could play whenever or wherever they want with as many or as few players per side.
- We could possibly arrange an Aunt Sally “extravaganza” to incorporate some of our normal competitions, 5’s, 4’s, 3’s Pairs and Singles at a single venue maybe on a weekend when all of the tournaments are entered either on the day or perhaps more sensibly beforehand with all games started and finished on the same day with a bar and perhaps a barbeque throughout the day.
- We could encourage some mixed non /pubclub fixtures, for example Abingdon v Didcot, North Abingdon v South Abingdon any thing to keep people playing and as importantly supporting our local pubs and clubs who have supported Aunt Sally for so many years.
- We could obviously all do nothing. and just write the 2021season off as we had to in 2020.
We are sure that there are many other options which we haven’t thought of and that’s why we want to hear from you all so that providing the route to the end of lockdown continues we keep Aunt Sally alive and kicking in and around our area!