Also present – David Loraine (Barn), Anne Ridge (Barn) Mick Ridge (Barn), Richard Lund (BSA), Ivan Topping (Easingwold), Fred Wood (Easingwold), Audrey Wood (Easingwold) and Nonie Little (Great Ouseburn).
The meeting was opened by the Chairman at 7.30pm with representatives from fifteen member clubs, six officers and eight others in attendance – twenty-nine people in total.
(1) APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE: Apologies were received from George Stannard (Cayton), Judith Haffenden (Knaresborough), Dennis Jarvis (Raskelf), William Knapton (Tollerton), Brian Stoker (Yoredale), Reg Tilley (Vice Chairman) and (belatedly via Email) Len Bradley (Helmsley).
(2) MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING AND MATTERS ARISING: The last Committee meeting had been held on 4th February 2005 and draft minutes had been distributed shortly thereafter. There were no points raised requiring corrections, so after a proposal from John Bunting (seconded by Harry Welch) the meeting unanimously endorsed the minutes which were then signed by the Chairman as representing a true record of that meeting.
No points arising from the minutes were raised.
(a) Correspondence: (RG) The Secretary reported that there had been the usual flurry of letters during the summer mainly aimed at collecting information for the new Handbook and setting/confirming the dates for our various competitions. General mail-shots to all clubs had been made on four occasions (AGM minutes; requesting confirmation of club details; Nationals details and entry forms; County Championship details/entry forms & membership registration). The following specific items were elaborated on.
Ø Application from Branton SMBC: This new club (an offshoot of the current Great Ouseburn club) had applied for membership in June. They had 11 members and were to use the same premises as the established Great Ouseburn Village Hall Club but on a Friday evening. Their acceptance was proposed by Clive Scholefield, seconded by Arthur Jackson and carried by a majority. The Secretary said he would write to their Secretary informing them of their acceptance and enclosing various details. He would also request the registration of their members.
Ø Disability Discrimination Act: We had written to the ESMBA for guidance as we were concerned about any implications arising out of individual clubs using venues that were not “disability compliant”. In reply it was confirmed that clubs should not be held liable if suitable facilities (toilets, access etc) were not available. This liability rests with the owners, not the clubs. Clive Scholefied spoke up on behalf of his club (Crossgates) who has a lady member who bowls from a wheelchair. He confirmed that there were some venues where it was impossible for her to bowl but that she had not taken issue with this. Matt Fenwick felt that the legislation was flawed and had not been thought through. The Secretary said that whether we liked it or not, it was law and we could not ignore it. He felt that another disabled bowler in the future may not be as passive as the current Crossgates member and could raise this as a discriminatory issue. All clubs should be aware of this and make representations to the owners of their locations to improve the situation if necessary.
Ø ESMBA questions : In a recent letter we had been asked several questions. Would there be any interest in a “Seniors” competition - similar to the Nationals but for over 60s only? (No one present expressed any particular interest in this idea.) How do we see the ESMBA progressing in the future and do we have any suggestions as to how it could change? (The Executive had no recommendations and no fresh ideas were raised from the floor.) Have we all got Public liability insurance? (See 6(b))
(b) Finances: (BB) Having paid for the Handbook and also postage/printing/stationery expenses for he last 5 months, the current balance was around £900. A cheque for £141 had been received from the ESMBA in respect of the 30% ”rebate” on our sales of last years Draw tickets. It had been agreed that 5 of the participating clubs should benefit from this and after a random draw Gristhorpe, Hambleton, Wilberfoss, Scarborough and Carlton each received £25.
(c) The ESMBA AGM: The Chairman and Secretary had attended in July (Roade, Northants) along with 19 other counties. Two minor Constitution changes had been passed and all members of the committee had been re-elected along with John Webb (Surrey) who filled a general vacancy. We had abstained from endorsing the election of Brandon Whittaker due to the problems we had encountered with the Draw last year (which he organised). Little progress had been made on the unification of the various bowls bodies or coaching for Short Mat. However, we had joined the EBYDS – a scheme aimed at bringing youngsters into the game. A Handbook is being prepared and more information is to follow. The ESMBA were “ring-fencing” substantial funds for youth development and were working towards setting up an England U18 team. They were also keen to organise something specific for the over 60s and suggestions were called for. There would be no increase in subs for 2006/07.
In the Open Forum, discussion about “noisy play” had been requested by West Sussex. They felt that games played in a “very vocal manner with extreme expressions of determination, elation and disappointment” were distracting and upsetting to players on adjacent mats. The manager of the England team felt that this was all part of player involvement in the game and he would not be trying to cut it out. If this was problem in local competitions it could be addressed locally by competition organisers. Our own county had asked for discussion regarding the selling of Draw tickets at the Nationals – see 6 (c).
(d) The ESMBA RRM: Of the 37 proposals for change that had been put forward only 6 received the necessary 66% majority although many of the others did have substantial support. Two of those passed were “tidying up” changes, one related to Leads/Seconds in Fours games and three were related to Firing Shots. The full wording of these changes would be part of this year’s ESMBA Information Pack updates and details are also in this year’s county Handbook. The proposal from Surrey to completely reformat the Rule Book was not considered during the meeting but would instead be referred to a sub committee as a lot of hard work had been put into this that was worthy of consideration.
The ESMBA Chairman pointed out that they were reviewing the way Rule changes are proposed and made and this may mean that this was the last RRM (as such) to be held.
(e) The NESMBA AGM: The Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretary had attended in June (Leeds). Little to report except that the Championship finals will go ahead at Barnard Castle on 25th/26th March. The possibility of using the ESMBA loan mats for this is being looked at – this would save individual counties from having to supply theirs. We had put forward a proposal to reduce the annual subs which received some support but was defeated by a majority. Proposals for an additional competition to replace the now defunct ICC playoffs were defeated. Reg Tilley was accepted as this years Vice Chairman (to take over as Chairman in 2006/07).
(a) Vacancy for Competition Secretary and Assistant Competition Secretary: Eileen Bunting (Hambleton) had expressed interest in these vacancies which had been advertised to all clubs. This had generated further discussion within the Executive about all the tasks that these posts are responsible for. As a result of this it had been agreed that the setting up of fixtures for the Inter-County games would in future be the responsibility of the Captain whilst the finalising of the annual calendar of events (which includes the dates available for the IC games) would rest with the Secretary. This would leave the Competition/Assistant Secretary to concentrate on organising the 13 competitions that the Association is responsible for. For the year ahead Eileen had been co-opted to the post of Assistant Competition Secretary. The Competition Secretary vacancy would be fulfilled collectively by the Officers but involving Eileen in all activities. It was hoped that this arrangement would not only see us successfully through the season ahead but would lead to Eileen feeling able and willing to submit her name for election formally at next years AGM. Eileen’s position was seconded by Clive Scholefield and endorsed unanimously by those present. The Chairman congratulated Eileen on her appointment.
At this point the Secretary reminded the meeting that the next 7 items were on the agenda of every meeting and were the opportunity for anyone present to comment upon the format or organisation the competitions concerned. If no changes were requested, the previous year’s formats would normally be repeated.
(b) NYSMBA – Heats for ESMBA Nationals: Full details of all 6 competitions have already been sent out to all clubs – closing date is 16th October. Once all applications are received, RBG/RWT/EB will get together to progress these.
(c) NYSMBA – Junior Championships: Will be organised by the Chairman (with Eileen’s help) on 18th February at the Galtres Centre in Easingwold.
(d) NYSMBA- Inter-League Cup: Will go ahead at the Y & D IBC on 22nd April – last years arrangements for team selection will be repeated. The responsibility for the running of the day itself is yet to be decided due to the planned absence of the Secretary.
(e) NYSMBA – Cameo Shield: The Secretary had expressed disappointment to the Y & d IBC that their team had been two people short for the second year in succession. Ian Clough had replied stating it would be his top priority to see this did not happen again in 2006 and they would be making every effort to win back the Shield. The match will therefore go ahead on 23rd April but the responsibility for the running of the day itself is yet to be decided due to the planned absence of the Secretary.
(f) NYSMBA – County Championships: Full details of all 4 competitions have already been sent out to all clubs – closing date is 13th November. Once all applications are received, RBG/RWT/EB will get together to progress these. Contrary to what was suggested at the AGM, no action will be taken in the draw to prevent teams from the same club meeting in the early rounds. All participants will be entered into a straight random draw as before.
(g) NESMBA – Inter-County games: All 8 fixture dates appear in the Handbook – no clashes at all with any other Open Competitions or with the Yorkshire (North) fixture schedule.
(h) NESMBA – Championships (Barnard Castle): Will go ahead on 25th/26th March – a week later than last year (at our request). David Rutt (Humberside) has said this will definitely be his last year of organising this long running competition. Once again he expects volunteers to run the day itself so he can concentrate on playing. Our team will again be drawn from those who are successful in our own County Championships.
(5) LEAGUE REPORTS:
(a) Selby – Nothing to report
(b) Ryedale – (MF) Fixtures start next week – no changes to teams/format.
(c) Scarborough – (AR) Nothing to report
(d) Kyle Valley – (IB) Branton SMBC had been accepted (subject to their membership application tonight being successful). Great Ouseburn had reduced to one team so the league remained at 25 teams. Ian was sad to report that the members had voted to revert to their old East/West format after having a year playing in the more normal First/Second division format.
(e) Yorkshire (North) – The Chairman mention that the Darley region had dropped out – no one was present to expand on any plans to replace them.
(f) Vale of York – (IT) Ivan was pleased to announce their expansion to 14 teams with the acceptance of Branton SMBC (subject to their membership application tonight being successful).
(g) Nidderdale – The Secretary pointed out that Burton Leonard had dropped out and that the league had voted to change its format to Pairs only (4 pairs instead of 2 Pairs and 2 Singles). The Chairman said he and the Secretary had been invited to their recent AGM and that they seemed happy with the way things were going and were keen to continue with a program of league bowling.
(h) White Rose – (JB) John reviewed the summer season just ended in which the league winners had been Knaresborough and during which both the “test matches” against Durham had been won to retain the Cooledge Cup. The David Moore Challenge Trophy against the Kyle Valley League was particularly successful and will hopefully become an annual event. Arrangements for next year are underway which will possibly include a game against an England representative side. Anyone wishing to join this league should apply before the end of 2005.
(a) NYSMBA Web Site: This was currently NOT up to date and ready for the new season. The Secretary apologised for this but for various reasons (not least being his house move) time had been at a premium during late summer. Hopefully within a few weeks, service would be back to normal and he would again be in a position to post the latest league tables as they are sent in by the various compilers.
(b) Insurance: John Bunting had recently had cause to check up on Hambletons cover across their two separate venues. As a result he had taken out Insurance via the ESMBA scheme both for Third Party and for Equipment. Apart from being relatively cheap it had the benefit of following players and equipment around wherever they went. During his enquiries he had been informed that West Sussex County do not admit any club into their Association who cannot provide evidence of Third Party liability insurance. He felt this was a very good thing – something we as an Association should consider ourselves. Alternatively he suggested that we look at the idea of “blanket cover” for all our member clubs.
This generated some lively discussion which centred around how much of a responsibility the Association had for ensuring member clubs were covered and where liability might lie in the event of any claims made in uninsured premises. Various opinions were expressed regarding the extent of the cover of “village hall” policies, the advisability of having specific policies tailored for bowls activities and whether new clubs in the future should be admitted without evidence of cover. Most felt that although insurance was a matter for each individual club to address, the Association did have a duty to offer advice, especially to new applicants.
(c) ESMBA Draw: At our AGM in April, it had been pointed out that a letter of complaint had been sent to the ESMBA regarding the fact that we had been unable to obtain additional books of tickets in spite of several repeated requests over many months. This letter had been considered at the ESMBA Committee meeting on the 23rd April and had resulted in a letter of apology being sent to us on April 28th pointing out that the books had not been supplied due to “an oversight” by the organiser, Brandon Whittaker. Two months later, when the minutes of that meeting were eventually received we had been staggered to read that “…he (Brandon) had been reluctant to put himself out to assist North Yorkshire due to Mr. Green’s constant harassment of him and his family”. In view of the seriousness of this written accusation against our county, the Chairman had spoken to several Committee members at the ESMBA AGM but obtained no information to support such a statement. Consequently, at a hastily convened meeting, the NYSMBA Executive then agreed to a very strong letter being sent to the ESMBA on July 9th. This asked for specific evidence to be supplied to support the allegations or for a full apology to be issued and for the statement to be struck from the minutes. A further letter from the ESMBA on August 9th not only contained the asked for apology but also agreement to alter the minutes. It also asked whether we required a public apology to be sent to all counties and our Chairman replied further that we did. (We are now waiting to see what form this public apology takes.)
The Secretary said that this series of events was brought before the Committee tonight to demonstrate that the Executive will not stand by and let our Association or its Officers be falsely accused. We will always stand up for what we believe is fair and just.
We had also taken the opportunity during the ESMBA AGM Open Forum to take issue with the fact that another county had been selling Draw tickets at the Nationals to a “captive audience” whilst all our own efforts had been “out in the field” by encouraging our clubs to take part and sell their allocations locally. The ESMBA Chairman, whilst admitting that the county in question (West Sussex) had thereby been able to push us once again into second place in the sales list, was not prepared to rule that such action would not be allowed next year.
Finally, the Secretary informed the meeting that the 2006 Draw was now in the hands of a different ESMBA Committee member (Elizabeth Carter) and that she had already supplied us with next years ticket allocation! Moreover, she had asked all counties to return these by 3rd April 2006 – the week before the 2006 Nationals. The Secretary suggested that maybe we had, after all, had some influence. The Executive Committee felt that in spite of all that had gone on, we should not take our bat home and drop out this year, but prove to all and sundry that we can out sell all others and claim the modest £100 award which he felt we well and truly deserve. Although there was no formal vote, no one present voiced any dissent to this.
(d) NYSMBA – Dates for next meetings: Committee meeting - Friday 3rd February; AGM - Friday 28th April.
(e) Handbook 2005/06: Copies of this years (gold) Handbook were distributed to all present. Some members also took those for other clubs not in attendance. (The ones I note were Ray Goodbold – Helmsley; Matt Fenwick – Welburn; Maureen Lilliman – Boroughbridge; Clive Scholefield – Yedingham; Arthur Jackson – Stillington & Bilsdale). The only copies not taken were for the 5 Nidderdale clubs, Guisborough and Thornton Dale.
There being no further business raised from the floor, the Chairman thanked all those present for attending and closed the meeting at 9.05pm.