Annual General Meeting 2021: President’s Report

What a year it has been both within our Club and in the world in general especially with the emergence of the Delta strain of Covid-19 causing further havoc and chaos in the community.

With the closure of face-to-face clubs due to lockdowns and restrictions, StepBridge has seen an influx of new players joining our club and enjoying our style of online bridge. We have processed more than 4000 requests for membership in the past 18 months. We currently have more than 2000 members participating in the 47 regularly scheduled tournaments every week.

This year we have hosted several clubs in our Virtual Club rooms to enable them to continue to run their club sessions for their members. Some of these clubs are recreational players who use our platform to play together. One of the clubs is a casual group of golfers who meet at their local golf club every week with laptops or tablets in hand and they enjoy the camaraderie of spending the afternoon together with the ease of play via their devices, recently we have had a resurgence of interest and more clubs are coming onboard.

In August we hosted the Grafton 2021 Congress where 90 pairs enjoyed a great day of bridge, many begging for more and asking before the event had even concluded when would there be more. Two more of our Virtual Clubs have set dates to hold their congresses with us as well with interest shown from clubs currently not using our club for hosting.

SBI (StepBridge International) have been toiling away with software enhancements and improvements over the past year, resulting in a sophisticated Tournament Directors Toolbox, the ability for Directors to access complete log to all events at the table (post event), administration automations saving countless hours for our admin staff and ease of ordering participation points for the players, just to name a few.

This year we migrated our Server to Australia from the Netherlands.  This was a seamless migration, and we look forward to potentially less problems with connections in the summer when the extreme weather events are more likely to occur. Of course, we have no control over local issues players may experience from time to time.

Our team of Directors are here every day to ensure our tournaments are managed with efficiency and enjoyment for all. They often have a difficult job and I thank them for their service over the past year. We have two Congress Directors amongst our talented team and we are blessed to have them.

Our year has been so busy with all that has been happening and consequently our national team’s competition has been delayed. We look forward to announcing the format and timing of this event very soon.

The newsletter has been a great success and thanks to Megan Grant for her editorial work.

I want to offer my thanks and congratulations to our Management Committee. The incumbent Committee was elected to look after the running of a small club of less than 200 players at the time of our last AGM.  Within 3 weeks, the whole Covid disaster changed the dynamics of our club to what it is today. Our Executive has performed tirelessly in their roles and Special mention of CTO Mark Hetherington and Secretary Chris Larter who have both supported me in our endeavour to offer a fabulous bridge experience for our members.  Our Treasurer Stephen Pringle has been ably supported by our Bookkeeper Rattan Saini with the implementation of GST reporting and compliance issues and day to day running of our accounting requirements.

With the upcoming elections at our AGM it is important that we secure a talented capable team to undertake the requirements and workload of the club, with an emphasis on administration and technical abilities, to also provide support to our membership. I hope that we can attract some new nominees willing to join the team.

Sarah Anwar
President, StepBridge Australia.