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Merseyside and Cheshire Bridge Association
Minutes of AGM held on Thursday 13th June 2013 at 7‐30 pm at Merseyside Bridge Centre
Those Present : Pat Arthur, Rob Roberts, Geoff Cowie, Bernard Kaye, Dave Flacks, Barbara Serres, Julia Dearing, Ric Dearing, Gareth Thomas, John Hampson, David Stevenson, Liz Stevenson, Dawn Herbert, John Herbert, Jean Keen, Dave Keen, Pauline Rudolph, John Rudolph, Liz Commins, Mark Weeks, John Griffith, Rekha Gatfield, Jill Oddie, Mike Greatbach, Chris Pope, Chris Raymond, Barry Jones, Angus Clarke, Sally Clarke, Paul Roberts, Julian Merrill, Richard Alcock.
1 Apologies. Apologies were received from Bob Pitts, George Eakin, Ted Revely, Al Stephenson, Joan King, Paul Holt and Andy Prothero.
2 The Minutes of the last AGM held on 21st June 2012 were approved 3. Matters Arising : There were no matters arising requiring discussion
4 Chairman’s Report. The Chairman, Paul Roberts, read his report, a copy of which is attached to these minutes and which will be available on the county web site. As suggested at the 2012 AGM, Paul also read out a list of some notable successes achieved by county players in the last year (also attached).
Paul distributed copies of a document from the EBU called “Bidding for the Future,” that sets out their strategy for 2013–2018.
He also gave out copies of a document defining some changes to the alerting and announcing rules, though David Stevenson said that there are more changes in the pipeline. All relevant changes will be put on the web site.
There was a discussion about Paul’s proposals concerning the county selection process. There was general agreement that while transparency and objectivity are desirable, the selection committee, or sub‐committee, should not publish the reasons for their decisions. There followed a long debate about the selection process which was continued later, before the election of the Selection Committee.
Everyone agreed that selecting teams to represent the county is not an easy task. The meeting was divided between those who think that selection should be based on some ranking system based on results and those who think that the current system of members of the committee voting independently is satisfactory. It was felt that it is important that representatives of the clubs should sit on the Selection committee.
For the decisions taken, please see item 7.3 A below.
5 Secretary’s Report. There was nothing to report except that the M&CBA constitution, as modified in line with the EBU’s requirements at the last AGM, has been sent to the EBU.
6 Treasurer’s Report.
The Treasurer distributed the audited Accounts (attached) which showed a profit for the year of £411.
Mike Greatbach suggested that the cash in hand, amounting to more than £12 500 was more than necessary. The surplus could be absorbed by reducing the pay‐to‐play rate from 4p. to 0. Another suggestion was to reduce the entry fees to county events.
The Chairman pointed out that the county has offered to use the reserves to help clubs with their development, but that no proposals have been received to date. He asked Mike Greatbach to make a proposal in writing that the Executive committee will consider at the next meeting.
7 Election of Officers
7.1 The Executive Committee: All being duly proposed and seconded, the following were elected:
Chairman ‐ Paul Roberts
Vice Chairman ‐ John Hampson
Secretary – Richard Alcock
Treasurer ‐ Julian Merrill
Tournament Secretary/Chairman – Liz Stevenson
Membership Secretary ‐ Liz Stevenson
Selection Committee Chairman – At David Stevenson’s request, the election of the Chairman was deferred until the committee members were known (See below ‐7.3A)
County Club Representative – Phil Nuttall
County Youth Officer. In spite of serious efforts, notably by Simon Whitehouse, himself a teacher, no progress has been made in developing the game in schools. There are also no candidates for the post of County Youth Officer and the Chairman asked whether anyone knew of someone who would be prepared to visit schools to try to arrange teaching and/or playing sessions. Help is available both from the EBU and the county but Simon had been met with apathy or antipathy when he had contacted schools. The secretary will write to the EBU to obtain a list of qualified teachers in the M&CBA region.
Other Executive Committee Members ‐ John Herbert, Dawn Herbert, Chris Pope and Geoff Cowie
7.2 Other Officers: all being duly proposed and seconded, the following were elected:
Hon Auditor ‐ Gareth Thomas
Chief Tournament Director ‐ David Stevenson
President ‐ Grattan Endicott
Vice‐Presidents –Jean Keen suggested that Dave Keen should be elected in view of his contributions to the county, notably as secretary to the selection committee. The following were elected : Doris Coltman, Erika Slatcher, Adrian Fontes, Chris Wentworth, Dawn Herbert, Liz Stevenson , Ted Reveley, Jean Keen, Julia Dearing and Dave Keen.
EBU Shareholders – In line with the Chairman’s proposal and with the President’s agreement, the two EBU shareholders will be, ex officio, the Chairman and vice‐Chairman, currently Paul Roberts and John Hampson. The Chairman emphasised that the President, Grattan Endicott, who was previously one of the shareholders does not wish to continue but that he is entitled to attend all shareholders’ meetings by virtue of his position within the EBU.
EBU Bridge County News Editor and County Newsletter Editor ‐ Bob Pitts
Webmaster – Barbara Serres. Jean Keen having expressed her wish to stand down at the AGM, has been working with Barbara Serres to ensure a smooth changeover.
7.3 Election of Sub Committees. All being duly proposed and seconded, the following were elected:
A Selection Committee – Dave Keen wished to stand down as Chairman and John Griffith had indicated that he was not seeking re‐election. It was decided that the committee should consist of 9 members. A secret ballot was held and the following were elected: Dave Keen, Geoff Cowie, John Hampson, Chris Pope, Alan Stephenson, Ted Reveley, Liz Commins, Barbara Serres, Dave Flacks. It was agreed that John Hampson would act as interim Chairman and would convene the first meeting of this committee. At that meeting, a Chairman would be elected and all of the many and various points brought up in the debate would be considered.
B Tournament Committee ‐ Roger Arnold, David Howe, Jean Keen, Dave Keen, Ted Reveley, Liz Stevenson, Jill Oddie, Phil Nuttall, Joan Marray and Julian Merrill
C Conduct Committee ‐ David Stevenson, Ted Reveley, Dave Keen and Grattan Endicott 8 Any Other Business
The Chairman presented the Cheshire salver to Barbara Serres.
Jean Keen read out an email (see below) from Mary Stanley, a member of the Dublin team who had recently played a match against the county, expressing her thanks.
Thank you and Dave and, indeed, everyone, for such a wonderful weekend. Each time I bump into one of my teammates in our various clubs, there is reminiscing and laughter, and genuine pleasure and appreciation. I simply had to drop you a line to tell you that.
I am so sorry I missed the dinner on the last night which I gather was great fun. I loved all the other meals and know the amount of work that went in to making this such a brilliant weekend.
There being no other business, the meeting finished with a (moderate) tasting of the excellent wines brought by Julian Merrill while looking at a prototype of the new County website. This was greatly appreciated by all.
Richard M Alcock
Richard Alcock : 17th June 2013
2012/13 Report from County Chairman, Paul Roberts
First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who has supported our County’s bridge activities over the past year, whether by serving on one of our committees, undertaking a specific role, organising an event, or simply playing in a County event.
During the year two people who have given sterling service to the County over many years resigned from key posts:
Angus Clark has resigned as County Secretary, and also from being one of our two Shareholders.
Jean Keen resigned as Webmaster wef from the AGM ( but continues to work for the County in other ways)
Both people have worked very hard in support of our County Association for many years, and I am sure everyone will share my appreciation for all their efforts.
Their replacements – appointed by the Executive Committee – are:
Richard Alcock as Secretary
Barbara Serres as Webmaster
Myself – as Chairman – as Shareholder
I’d like to thank Richard and Barbara for volunteering to take over these key positions. I understand that they will be happy to continue in these posts if elected at the AGM.
Many other Counties appoint their Chairman as an “ex officio” Shareholder. Subject of course to the willingness of the incumbent, I would recommend this approach for M&CBA.
Our other shareholder has – for many years – been our President, Grattan Endicott, but in recent years he hasn’t been able to attend many shareholders’ meetings. Since he is entitled to attend almost all EBU meetings, including those of shareholders, in his own right as an EBU Vice President, he has told us he is happy to stand down as a MCBA shareholder. I would therefore suggest that – for continuity ‐ there would be merit in electing our current Vice Chairman as our second shareholder.
I would also like to thank two other people who kindly agreed to fill posts which were not filled at last year’s AGM:
Liz Stevenson has taken over the chair of the Tournament Committee
Phil Nuttall (of Deva BC) is now our County Club representative.
Unfortunately we have not succeeded in identifying anyone willing to take up the key role of County Youth Officer.
I have also just heard that Dave Keen has decided not to seek re‐election as Chairman/Secretary of the Selection Committee. Dave has worked very hard in this role, and I doubt there are many people who are aware of the extent of his efforts in organising the many different teams that the County puts out each year, so I am really sorry that he has decided not to continue in this role.
Perhaps in the future the Selection Committee might consider some way of spreading the load – with different individuals organising teams for different events: The Dublin match, the Derby match, and the County Trials might all be candidates, though it might be more difficult to share the organisation of the Northern League between several people.
At last year’s AGM it was agreed that it would be desirable to recognise the successes of our players as individuals, pairs or teams. Unfortunately we haven’t established a mechanism for logging such successes, beyond those reported in the County newsletter, so I apologise if the attached list misses out your own achievements.
English Bridge Union developments
The EBU plan to form a “Charitable Incorporated Organisation”. As I understand it, this will take over those EBU activities which are accepted as fitting within the auspices of a Charity. The remaining activities will continue to operate outside the Charity.
They have produced a strategic plan “Bidding for the Future” – a number of copies are available here, for anyone who would like to peruse them. There is an EBU County Chairmen’s meeting on 26 June, at which I – if re‐elected as Chairman – am happy to raise any questions or concerns.
The EBU are planning some – relatively minor – changes to the alerting and announcing rules. Again, I’ve got a few copies here if anyone wants to look at them. These seem pretty sensible and non‐contentious to me, but I’m not entirely clear how/when they are to be implemented.
MCBA Selection processes
Selection for top teams in any sport is never easy, and is not helped by the fact that no‐one can ever prove whether it is correct: However well a selected team does, it may be thought other players would have done even better; however badly, there can be no certainty that others would not have produced even worse results.
Nevertheless, it is always good to look for opportunities to improve the processes, if only to try to reduce the potential for – often unfair – criticisms of the selectors. It is therefore suggested that two changes be trialled:
For the major events (the Tolly and the President’s Cup in most years) a small (2 or 3 person) sub committee be formed. The criteria for membership of this group would be that members should either be top players – whose selection (with a regular partner) – would be universally accepted as automatic, or very experienced tournament players who are not candidates for selection for the relevant competition
This sub committee record the reasons for their decisions. (Not for publication, but to be made available in confidence to those players who would like to understand the reasons for their non‐selection)
Notable Successes by M&CBA players over the past year or so
In the North Wales Swiss pairs congress in early July, Neil Thomas won partnering Sue Richmond of Lancashire.
Dave & Jean Keen , David Stevenson and Liz Commins were equal 2nd in the Mid‐Wales teams Congress in July.
In the Westmoreland Swiss Pairs that took place on Sept. 30th, Bernard Kaye and Roger Waddington finished equal second, on the same score as Neil Thomas, who was partnering Sue Richmond of Lancashire.
David Stevenson and Liz Commins won the LCBA October green-pointed pairs event.
David and Liz along with Paddy Murphy and Matt Foster won the LCBA Foundation Cup event at the beginning of November.
John Hampson and Julian Merrill have an excellent record in the EBU Seniors’ Congress. Last year they won the A’ final of the pairs event from a very good field. This year they managed a very creditable 5th in the A’ final and then went on to achieve success in the Swiss teams, finishing 2nd with teammates Barry and Barbara Stoker from Surrey.
During 2012 David Stevenson and Liz Commins won eight green pointed events and several black point ones in partnership. It did not seem to matter whether they were pairs events or teams; they were equally successful
Ted Reveley and Stuart Matthews were part of the foursome that finished second in the teams event at the Manchester Congress in January.
M&CBA players had a lot of success at the Blackpool end of Year congress with pride of place going to David Stevenson, Liz Commins and Paddy Murphy, who with Tracy Capal of Manchester won the Swiss teams.
Well done also to Margaret Howe and David Burrows, who won a prize in the Swiss pairs as the highest placed category B pair.
The Open Pairs was won by Geoff Cowie and Rob Roberts.
The Deva Bridge Club team – representing the county – have reached the National Final of the Garden Cities Cup (for teams of 8). The team that qualified was John Hampson, Bob Pitts, Al Stephenson, Stu Matthews, David Stevenson, Liz Commins, Julian Merrill, Paul Roberts.
For the second year running, Deva Pair Laurence Stone and Martin Cutbill qualified for the National Pairs B final.
Julian Merrill and Joan Marray, together with Jean and Peter Hand of North Wales/Manchester, reached the final of the Cambria Cup where they lost to a very strong team from South Wales.
M&CBA INCOME AND EXPENDITURE ACCOUNT
YEAR ENDING 31.3.13
INCOME 2013 2012
Subscriptions 1,804 1,814
Competitions 532 713
Bank Interest 102 27
Entry for Corwen, Pachabo & Garden Cities General Administration
Excess of Income over expenditure