I do this on a regular basis : but can I once again address the doom merchants in our midst who declare to me that the Club is going down the tubes – losing both money and members.  THIS IS UTTER NONSENSE!  I will report fully at the next AGM of course, but I can assure members that we are actually UP in terms of membership on last year.  Financially we are doing well. Casual play bookings are well up. I appeal to ordinary members to shoot these negative doom merchants down, and ask them how much they are contributing to the Club coffers.

Postponed Games: due to the cold weather obviously some matches had to be postponed. I would appeal to all members to play these games off – every game CANCELLED costs the Club £24!

Major congratulations are in order this month : the Irish team to represent the island in Perth in March has been announced, and I am delighted to report that BIBC has 12 (twelve, 13 if you include the reserve) players on the team. They are : Paul McEwan, Gary McElroy, Barry Browne, Roy Battersby, Paul Daly, Jonathan Ross, John Boyd, Mark McPeak, David Corkill, Clifford Craig, with new caps going to Chris Eadie and John McCullough. Michael Merritt makes up the thirteenth place as reserve. Well done guys!!

The Senior Club Finals are in February: the Singles on Thursday 4th, together with the Triples, the Pairs Final is on Thursday Feb. 11th, and the Fours Final on Thursday 18th – all matches start at 4pm.

The second session of Coaching has started on Monday evenings – its not too late for any beginner to join in. We are also running in February Competitions for Beginners in both Singles and Pairs format, and I would urge ALL Novices to enter these Competitions for the experience.

Social Scene: We are approaching February and that always means St Valentines : the Restaurant has once again put forward an enticing menu – but early booking is well advised. There will be music and a late bar afterwards.  We are also hosting a Poker Night on Feb. 27th.  The popular Night at the Races returns on March 6th – advance notice for those who would like to sponsor a horse or race, or both!

Umpiring Points: I have been asked to remind all players of the following – it is the responsibility of the Thirds to decide the number of shots, and measure if necessary. It is NOT the job of either front end to interfere in any way.  So please, to avoid any unnecessary irritation, leads and seconds stick to their own job.