Several of those who voted in the poll don't actually play regularly at Khalsa. What I might do for the rest of November is include a poll game by game ... so that those who are actually playing in that particular game have a bigger say for that game alone.
I added a poll for the Wednesday and Thursday games at Khalsa this week.
For Wednesday, it was 5-0 in favour of playing to the lines. It was also 5-0 in favour of playing to the lines for Thursday. While for each day, there were a couple of voters who don't usually play at Khalsa, the regulars who voted favour playing to the lines, so I'll leave it at that for now.
Sports Planet @ East Coast messed up the bookings, so no pitch was available tonight. I'm very sorry to all the players who turned up. I'll look into why it happened, and see if I can work out some compensation (as I have before, when the lights failed).
The worst part is that it has happened before, as recently as for the game on 20 October 2011. On that occasion, I somewhat fortuitiously picked up on it a couple of days earlier, and they managed to provide us with a pitch from 8 to 9 pm.
This time, I only found at when Rai called me shortly after 9 pm, too late to do anything.
I've actually very, very angry.
Since 2008, bookings being messed up has only happened once at our other regular venues (The Cage, Premier Pitch @ Turf City, and Premier Pitch @ Khalsa), back in May 2009, at The Cage.
It's happened now a few times at Sports Planet @ East Coast.
It's not just the inconvenience and disappointment caused to the players who turn up and don't get a game. It also means that to ensure it doesn't happen again, I need to double check the bookings more regularly, well before the end of each payment cycle, which is just one more thing I end up having to do.
When I spoke to Sports Planet today, they informed that the big pitch is also not available for 9 to 10 pm on Tuesday, 20 December 2011. If I hadn't checked today, and the payment cycle ended in the preceding week, I would not have known about it if I only went down on 20 December 2011 to make payment for the next cycle. I don't understand why they can't inform as soon as they know the pitch is not available for one of our regular slots.
As for today, the payment cycle was extended to next Tuesday, due to a couple of Thursday games at Sports Planet being cancelled (on 17 and 24 November 2011). So I guess they forgot to inform me.
No worries Rajiv.. its one of those things beyond your control. If the big pitch is not available on 20th Dec, can we switch to a small pitch or it is completely unavailable? If we give enough advance notice, maybe we can move the game to Monday night instead? I think we should have enough regulars to fill it up .. just a suggestion. Cheers!
It's not a problem if I have advanced notice of non-availability.
When I called to cancel the booking for 17 November 2011, the payment would have rolled over to 1 December 2011. When I called again to cancel the booking for 24 November 2011, they told me that the person handling my account (Nessia) would call me to confirm the rolling over of the payment. Bear in mind that I have already paid for these bookings. She didn't call me back. I tried calling her on Wednesday to check when the next payment was due but she was busy. I was told she would call me back, but she didn't. At no time was I worried that I didn't have a booking for last night, since the first of the rolled over bookings would have been last night, and when I spoke to her after the last incident in October 2011, she said she would automatically extend my Tuesday and Thursday night bookings.
She is only there on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so I couldn't speak to her yesterday. Iskandar, the guy there on Thursdays, couldn't find my records.
It also disturbing that if my Tuesday and Thursday night bookings are supposed to be automatically extended, why two dates in December 2011 are unavailable. I only checked up to 20 December 2011 last night, as I was very angry, and Iskandar was getting defensive.
You would think they would treat me better, bearing in mind that I'm paying more than $1,000 each time, and my payments are always made in advance.
I'm very sorry your friend didn't get to experience our game Melvin, after having travelled all that way. I hope he will give it another go sometime.
I managed to speak to both Michael and Nessia today, and discussed the booking form with Michael. I've sort of re-constructed what happened. More complicated than I initially thought. Goes back to at least 20 October 2011.
* With the odd cancellation, the 6 Thursday night bookings came to an end on 13 October 2011. When I called the following week to arrange payment for the next cycle starting on 20 October 2011, I was informed there was no booking for that date. That was finally sorted out by a 8 to 9 pm slot instead.
* After speaking with Michael today, I remember that I was informed that the big pitch was not available on 1 December 2011 as it was closed for re-surfacing work. I asked that the two forms be merged into one, for the next 12 games. Nessia said her accounts department had asked for my Tuesday and Thursday bookings to be kept separate. I then paid by cheque, dated that day. I usually take a photocopy of the forms. I asked for the forms to be amended to reflect the additional game that night. As Nessia was busy, she said she would make the changes later and send me copies.
* The forms were not sent to me and, after a couple of weeks, the discussion I had with her slipped my mind. Relying on the number inserted in each report thread, I had paid for 12 games on 20 October 2011 (as confirmed by my cheque book), which, as time went by, I thought to be 20 Oct, 25 Oct, 27 Oct, 1 Nov, 3 Nov, 8 Nov, 10 Nov, 15 Nov, 17 Nov, 22 Nov, 24 Nov and 29 Nov. When the games on 17 and 24 November were cancelled, I thought the payment would be rolled over to 1 and 6 December.
It has become clearer how the mix up arose. I still have several issues with Sports Planet:
* The booking form(s) were never revised and sent to me. * When the pitch later became available on 1 December 2011, it wasn't booked for me. * Nessia didn't call me back, either after the booking on 24 November 2011 was cancelled, or when I called again on 30 November 2011. If I had managed to speak to her, we would have picked up on the fact that there was no booking for 1 December 2011. * Keeping the Tuesday and Thursday night bookings separate causes confusion.
The re-construction is more for my own benefit, so I am clear about what happened. I don't think it helps anyone else.
Anyway, I'll be meeting Nessia tomorrow afternoon to confirm my re-construction, and to see what else can be done.
Again, sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment to everyone who turned up.
To make matters worse, I think it would have been a very good game:
Nessia was unwell and not at work on Saturday, so I didn't meet her then. Spoke to her today, and there will be some compensation for those who turned up last Thursday but didn't get a game. I assume everyone down for the game turned up.
I'll finalise the details when the next payment cycle starts.
When I made payment on 7 December 2011, their tax invoice showed I made payment for a big pitch on 20 December 2011 (see attached).
If I was informed that I had a big pitch, and made payment for a big pitch, why would I think I had a small pitch?
I went down to Sports Planet at 9.20 pm to sort it out.
The game had gone ahead 5-a-side on the small pitch with rolling substitutions.
Anyway, they waived their charges for tonight's game and let us play for as long as we wanted. The game was still going on when I left at 10.15 pm. I considered waiving the payment for tonight's game, but it is all more work than I need, so I'll just reduce the payment to $4 per player instead. I think that's still good value.
I also got to the bottom of why there have been so many screw ups. They are not making my bookings until the end of each payment cycle, so by then, someone else may have taken our slots. Ridiculous, but that is the system they have. The solution for me is to have two ongoing payment cycles, which extends the period by a further 6 weeks. More complicated, but that may be the only way to guarantee our slots. ....
Before the game, I was pushing against the goalpost closer to the office, and it started swaying. I always thought the goalposts were bolted down. I guess the fastening must have come undone. More maintenance issues. It is also quite dangerous. The goalposts are quite heavy, and if one falls over and hits someone, it could cause serious injury.
The lights at the other end (next to the road) seems to be down since 1-2 weeks back .. making that half very much dimmer .. but they dont seem to be very keen in fixing it .. They only tried to turn on the lights when its our turn to play even thou it was obvious to us that someone had knocked down the power supply box at the carpark area again much earlier .. similar to what happen previously .. not that there is much we can do
The type of ball we use might also make a difference. We tend to use a reduced bounce ball at Turf City and at Sports Planet ..., while using a normal football at Khalsa. The reduced bounce ball tends to promote shorter passing.
The balls provided by the Premier Pitch @ Khalsa are plasticky and light. They are harder to control and tend to fly when struck with force. The use of such balls does affect the game, and undermines the popularity of the game at Khalsa.
We've managed games at Khalsa over the last two Wednesdays, but both fell short of 14:
* 11 January 2012. Nick C thought he had withdrawn, so he didn't turn up. I stepped out and found an extra player, and we managed to continue 7-a-side. * 18 January 2012. Leo went to the wrong venue, so I stepped out, and the game continued 6-a-side.
Whether the game is 6 or 7-a-side is also a factor. Push and run players probably prefer the greater space of 6-a-side game. 7-a-side requires better ball control and passing. A bouncy ball exacerbates the matter. The option may be to increase the space for a 7-a-side by playing to the side-netting. However, the poll on this thread is in favour of playing to the side-lines, even with 7-a-side. Interestingly, most of those who have voted to play to the lines no longer play at Khalsa.
The second equipment issue is footwear. There is a perception that the Khalsa pitch is more slippery than the other pitches on which we play, even though the East Coast pitch is also uncovered. Despite the safety concern with plastic studs/blades, there is a view that blades provide better grip on the Khalsa pitch. The issue is open for discussion on the "Safety" thread.
In the meantime, in order not to deter anyone from playing at Khalsa while we stabilise the pool of players, plastic studs/blades will be allowed at Khalsa until the discussion under the "Safety" thread is concluded.
A bit of a dilemma as to what to do. If no one is coming from particularly far away, can we just wait to see if they can fix it in time? I'll try to make my way to Sports Planet and keep Rai and Jeff updated on any developments.
Good news. They just called me back to say lights are fixed.
It was explained to me that the staff have finally figured out the lights - you have to go back and re-set both boxes, not just the one. I don't know why they hadn't figured this out before. Hopefully, the lights won't be an issue again.
Seems like the management at Sports Planet is no longer keen to maintain the place much .. the ball kept go thro the numerous holes in the fencing thus disrupting play and even all the cushion along the side fencings are "koyak" already .. well at least the light was working last night.