Bega Valley Bridge Club (Inc.)
ABN 14 272 585 791
Minutes of Annual General Meeting
Green Shed, Tathra, Monday 26th February 2024
Meeting opened by President Jann McNeil at 4:13pm
Attendance: Jann McNeil (chair); Paul Corbett (minutes); Dave Steer; Rob Robilliard; Nancy Badewitz; Mary Armstrong; Julie Colwell; Helen Hallet; Bridget O’Reilly; Eric Myers; Mark Oakley; Rhonda Jones; Margaret Robertson; Kath Jennings; Ann Long; Deb Turner; Andrew Thomson; Barbara Chambers.
Apologies: Jim and Denise Walter; Brian Riches; Marcella Hayward; Judy Jenkin; John and Lois Flannery; Martin Sims; Alison Sandwith; Beata Denkiewicz; Nancy Brunton; Ivi Streinman;
Minutes of Previous AGM and Committee Meetings: Minutes of AGM 27/02/2023 and three committee meetings were tabled.
Moved, Rob Robilliard, Seconded Eric Myers that “Minutes of those meetings be accepted as a true and accurate record of those meetings”. CARRIED
Matters Arising: Nil
President’s Report: Written report submitted (appended as part of minutes).
Moved Jann McNeil, Seconded Paul Corbett that “President’s report be accepted.” CARRIED
Secretary’s Report: Written report was tabled by A/Secretary Dave Steer (copy appended as part of minutes).
- That the Club renews the license with Bridgewebs to enable the continuation of the website.
- That the Scorebridge license be renewed.
Moved Dave Steer, Seconded Paul Corbett that “Secretary’s report and recommendations be accepted.” CARRIED.
Paul Corbett wished it recorded the work by David Steer and Martin Sims for taking over Secretary/Webmaster/Masterpoint Secretary duties during Paul’s illness last year. Acknowledged by acclamation.
Treasurer’s Report: Written report was tabled by Treasurer Rob Robilliard. (Copy appended).
- That report be accepted.
- That Committee decision to increase playing fees to $5 and annual subscription remain at $30 be endorsed.
- That covering approval be granted for purchases during year (cards, boards etc.)
Moved Rob Robilliard, Seconded Julie Colwell that “Treasurer’s report and recommendations be accepted.” CARRIED.
Review of COVID Plan: A written report with proposed amendments to the COVID Plan and recommendations (attached) were submitted by Mark Oakley and discussed.
Moved Mark Oakley, Seconded Margaret Robertson that “COVID measures as listed be adopted and that a second Air Purifier be purchased.” CARRIED. Covid Plan to be updated on website. Mark Oakley and Paul Corbett are authorised to select and purchase a suitable air purifier.
RealBridge and Improvers Report: A written report was submitted by Director Martin Sims.
Moved David Steer, Seconded Rhonda Jones that “Report be accepted and that the club fund a Zoom licence for teaching at a cost of around $25/month for those months required.” CARRIED.
Election of Officers: President Jann McNeil declared that signed nomination forms had been received by the Secretary for seven positions and under Part 3 (16.4) of the Constitution, no ballot is required and those persons are duly elected. They are:
President: Jann McNeil.
Vice President: Dave Steer.
Secretary: Paul Corbett.
Treasurer: Rob Robilliard.
Committee: Bridget O’Reilly; Julie Colwell; Mark Oakley.
Public Officer Chris Maxted and Director Martin Sims are ex officio Board positions under the Constitution and therefore carry forward.
Mary Armstrong did not renominate, and her service was acknowledged by acclamation.
- Investigation of POS facilities (eg Square, Tyro, Commbank);
After discussion it was considered that a POS facility was not justified at this time.
- Proposal for (plasticised) nametags (as used by SCBC):
After discussion, Moved Rhonda Jones, Seconded Kath Jennings that “The purchase of plastic nametags be discretionary by individual members, and at their own cost.” CARRIED. Several members stated their intention to purchase plastic nametags.
- Resurrection of afternoon tea break on Fridays;
The results of a survey conducted amongst Friday players was tabled. The respondents recorded a unanimous “NO” to the reintroduction of rostered afternoon tea. After discussion, the meeting agreed that players could bring afternoon tea spontaneously, and they would not be charged table money in this case.
- Increase to 30/32 boards on Mondays (Summer);
After discussion, it was Moved Rhonda Jones, Seconded Mark Oakley “That the number of boards to be played be at the discretion of the director/scorer on the day”. CARRIED
- Interclub bridge (eg. With SCBC or another club online);
As the capacity of the Green Shed is eight tables, it is considered impractical to conduct an interclub competition with SCBC at that venue. No decision was made in regard to online competitions with other clubs. There was discussion about potential issues with outside online players registering to play and being supported in the event of computer or internet issues.
- Advance notice of competitions and different scoring
Rhonda Jones requested that information be provided in advance where it was proposed to play “unusual” events (IMPS, teams etc). It was pointed out that the calendar lists competitions and redpoint events where known, and the message board and RealBridge banner provides information on the event to be played. In some cases (eg last week’s teams) it is dependant on numbers which can only be determined on the night. Rhonda also pointed out that some members were not familiar with how scoring works and the need for education.
There was discussion of the possibility of another “golden board” or similar competition with external sponsorship. No decision was made.
- Adequacy of amenities/equipment at our clubroom;
Members were requested to be on the lookout for a second-hand kitchen that would be suitable for installation in the green shed.
- Etiquette & conduct;
Discussion took place on lapses in etiquette and protocol eg. mobile phones disrupting play, concealment of bidding, looking at cards once played, table-talk etc. Conduct and etiquette are well-documented on the website and on the notice boards at the club room. Members are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the rules.
- Member recruitment - lessons, promotion, "twinning" with another club etc. The issue of our aging demographic;
Time did not permit discussion of this agenda item. Barbara Chambers advised that there are several people at “The Oaks” who may be interested in learning bridge.
- Demand for additional session(s), online or ftf;
There was some interest in a weekend session. It was considered that the regular Tuesday and improvers Thursday sessions are adequate so far as online games are concerned.
- Additional dealers, scorers, Directors, RealBridge facilitators, teachers/mentors.
The call was made for additional volunteers.
Meeting closed at 4:59pm
26h February 2024 26th February 2024
Bega Valley Bridge Club Inc.
President’s Report 2023
2023 unfortunately saw a continuation of some issues noted in last year’s summary, notably, declining membership being a primary concern. This mostly affected the Monday sessions held in the Green Shed (Tathra). Offsetting this was encouraging popularity and support for both the Friday playing sessions and the Tuesday on-line playing sessions.
The Clubhouse (Green Shed) in Tathra received some much-needed maintenance with BVSC engaging contractors to fix roofing and wall problems, particularly the facia and guttering on the north side. The shed was also painted in a slightly different shade of green, which gave it a fresh look. Club playing sessions were transferred to the Tathra Beach Bowling Club during the three-week period that was scheduled for the maintenance activities.
Normally, an individual’s health would not be commented on in this report, but it should be noted that the Club’s long-time Secretary, Paul Corbett, suffered a major health scare in 2023 and handed over secretary and webmaster duties to Dave Steer, from late June to December. We wish Paul all be best for 2024 and beyond.
Club members participated in a number of competitions and events in 2023. Merren Ward and Dave Steer represented the Club at the 2023 Sapphire Coast Congress (Pairs) in April, hosted by the Sapphire Coast Bridge Club. And we had good participation in the following events sponsored by Australian Bridge Magazine: AWNP (Novice Pairs, players < 100 masterpoints), AWOP (Open Pairs, unrestricted), and AWRP (Restricted Pairs, players < 300 masterpoints). And lastly, Martin Sims facilitated our participation in the Nationwide Pairs held over Tuesday night sessions. Congratulations to Bridget and Eric who came 26th in Australia in the AWNP Competition. They also came 98th in the AWRP Competition. And results for the AWOP saw Jann and Rhonda come 40th. Lastly, Alison and Martin finished first in the Winter Pairs Championship.
Reinforcing the popularity of on-line bridge play, the Club also participated in an “Upover vs Downunder” Competition in July, again using the Realbridge platform. Participants enjoyed playing against opposition pairs from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The other southern hemisphere teams were South Africa and New Zealand.
Finally, end of year functions were held in mid-December where awards and presentations took place. Congratulations to the following winners: Rhonda Jones, who won the Jean Parbery Award for the Highest Individual percentage, Nancy Brunton, who took out the Nancy Apps Encouragement Award (Novice), Andrew Thomson for winning the Margaret Settle Award for Most Improved over the previous year, and Bridget O’Reilly who was conferred with the Director’s Award. And congratulations to Dave Steer for winning the inaugural Club Person of the Year Award.
26th February 2024
Bega Valley Bridge Club Inc.
Secretary’s Report 2023
Formal Correspondence – Letters
- June 2023. Letter of appreciation to Bega Valley Realty for their Golden Hand sponsorship.
- July 2023. Letter of appreciation to Bega Valley Shire Library for their support in running training lessons for new bridge players. Sent by email. Received a lovely response from Linda Albertson, Library Coordinator.
Other Significant Correspondence
- Emails were exchanged with University of the Third Age (U3A) regarding potential for BVBC to use U3A resources to conduct training courses - overtaken by a decision to use Bega Valley Shire Library instead.
- Emails were exchanged with Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) to use their Library Media room to conduct a series of lessons and practice sessions for a beginners’ bridge course – it was a very good facility and should be considered as an option for any future courses of up to six students.
- Emails were exchanged with BVSC Property Management regarding maintenance work on the Green Shed. There is probable further work to be done on the interior of the Green Shed in 2024.
- During the year the Committee addressed: at a meeting with BVSC, improvements to Green Shed; the filling of a casual vacancy; a proposal to waive costs for the Nationwide Pairs event; a report on beginners’ lessons and proposal for U3A course; replacement of Paul Corbett in the Secretary's role (due to medical issues affecting Paul's ability to perform the duties of Secretary), an additional signatory for financial delegations.
- Due to fee price increases from both the ABF and the NSWBA, the Club was obliged to consider its playing fees and annual subscription fees for 2024. As a result, the Committee agreed to increase the Club’s playing fees from $4.00 to $5.00 per playing session, whilst retaining the annual subscription fees at the current $30 per year.
- Purchase of a new Bridgemate and an additional board set – issues with the older bridgemates are increasing, which may mean the purchase of additional bridgemates in 2024. Potential software updates to the older bridgemates will be investigated prior to purchasing new items.
- The Club website was further enhanced during the year and continued to prove popular with over 80,000 “hits”. With much encouragement from the scorers, more players are using the electronic on-line registration system to book into sessions. More work will be done in 2024 to reiterate the advantages of using this system.
- Deb Turner commenced as a scorer for Friday playing sessions and Jann McNeil commenced with operation of the dealing machine.
- Dave Steer ran two separate face-to-face training programs of seven weeks each based on Paul Marston’s book “Introduction to Bridge”.
- Alison Sandwith continued with the Bridge for Improvers sessions on Thursday nights (using the Realbridge platform), and participants reported that they benefited greatly from them.
- Five former members renewed their Club memberships. Four new members joined the Club. Two members transferred from the Club to the Sapphire Coast Bridge Club (SCBC).1
- Timely payment of annual subscription fees remains an issue.
A/g Secretary (June 2023 – December 2023
26th February 2024
Bega Valley Bridge Club Inc.
Treasurer’s Report 2023
EVERYDAY A/C 5,580.73 2,605.66
TERM DEPOSIT 20,292.09 26,063.19
TOTALS $25,872.82 $28,668.85
MAJOR CHANGES FROM 2023
1. On-line play on Tuesday nights resulting in saving on rent and low charges for on-line play. In fact, the total monthly payments for the 4/5 Tuesday nights on-line are roughly equivalent to the rent for 2 nights at MOW.
2. Payment for on-line bridge and maintaining computer programmes.
3. Purchase of consumables – cards, biscuits etc.
4. In November an additional $5,000.00 was added to the Term Deposit when the money was re-invested.
Overall, the Annual Subscription of $30 just pays for Registration and Master Point “Membership”. It was decided to keep this figure at this rate and “subsidise” it by increasing payments for each session.
Payment when playing, covers rent, consumables, tea, biscuits etc. The increased playing fee of $5.00 continues to be one of the cheapest payments to play bridge in Australia. One of the major reasons for this modest fee is attributable to the work of some members in providing expertise with computers thus enhancing the quality and nature of our bridge.
Details of all payments and income are available if needed.
8 February 2024
Bega Valley Bridge Club
AGM Monday 26 February 2024
Report on COVID measures at the Club
As COVID virus continues to circulate freely in the community and new variants emerge, people will continue to be infected with this virus and will be able to spread it when they have few or no symptoms. The Club should minimise the opportunity to catch COVID whilst playing Bridge at ‘live’sessions and my recommendations are provided for this. I have also written an update about immunizations recommendations for our player group.
As before, members should not come to the Green Shed when they are unwell in any way and should try to have a COVID Rapid Antigen Test to see if they are infections for COVID.
Covid is an air-spread respiratory virus and so is very easily spread and caught when we are sitting close to each other, indoors, playing Bridge over several hours indoors. To minimise this risk, we should have the doors open and fans on whenever possible in the Green Shed. I recommend that a second air purifier unit be purchased and used, as this was the initial recommendation.
Mask wearing is available to reduce the risk of catching COVID – people with symptoms should not come and wear a mask, thinking that this will protect others. Hand cleansing helps, particularly when one has one’s hands around the face – eating, drinking and smoking.
Physical distancing still has a place and should be generally used indoors.
The player group should have up to date immunizations and be informed about current management of COVID as it affects them.
Whilst many people have only a mild illness with COVID, some have a severe illness requiring hospitalisation and intensive care and a few will die from this infection. Quite a few will develop ongoing disabling symptoms after COVID infection, so called “long COVID”.
It is still best to be immunized, act so as not to catch COVID and if one does contract it, to resort to anti-viral antibiotic therapy for COVID if recommended.
10th February 2024
Bega Valley Bridge Club – COVID-19 Update February 2024
Review of the Club’s Measures against Covid-19
Almost 4 years into the Pandemic, the SARS Cov2 Virus remains prevalent in our community and people continue to die from it every day in Australia. We are now immunised and have more effective and specific treatments.
Wellbeing of Members and Visitors
- People intending to play MUST register with the Director or Secretary before 11am on the day of play. This is best done in the Members’ Only section of the Club Webpage, but can also be by phone, text or email. Partners should be pre-arranged where possible.
- Players are asked to follow the following guidelines:
- Stay at home if unwell for any reason;
- Test yourself if unwell with a COVID Rapid Antigen Test if symptoms consistent with COVID19;
- Sanitise or wash your hands with soap and water before and after eating and smoking and after visiting the bathroom;
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow;
- Minimise contact with your face and skin & contact with others;
- Wearing a mask inside the Green Shed is strongly recommended but is voluntary.
- As circulating fresh air is good to minimize the risk of COVID virus (and other respiratory illnesses) spreading between members in the Green Shed, members should be able to keep themselves warm enough, with appropriate clothing available, whilst playing. (Doors and windows should be open whenever possible).
- Bega Valley Bridge Club has the right to refuse entry to any person who appears unwell.
- All players should have ‘up to date’ immunization against COVID-19: everyone should continue to have COVID-19 Booster doses as recommended by their GP/ATAGI. Vaccination remains effective against serious illness and death from COVID-19. Anti-Viral antibiotics are available to use now for COVID-19 and provide extra protection from death and serious illness.
- Members should try to maintain the recommended 1.5 m separation from other persons where possible.
Hygiene and Cleaning
- Hand sanitiser dispensers will be available near each playing table and should be used by each member at the start of play and conclusion of each playing round.
- Air purifiers should be in operation at all times when the Green Shed is in use. Filters should be replaced as recommended.
- Toilets will be stocked with hand soap and paper towels.
- Posters will be displayed in toilets to remind people of effective hand washing practices.
- Supplies of detergent/disinfectant of an appropriate strength will be available in the kitchen area.
Complying with Authorised use of Clubhouse
- Any “social” bridge games, lessons or other activities at the club premises MUST comply with the above plan.
ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization)
Advice on COVID-19 Vaccination
All adults should have a primary course of COVID vaccination:
- First Dose – hopefully done in 2021 when the vaccine became available
- Second Dose – 2 months after first dose
Booster doses are recommended as follows:
- Third Dose – everyone aged 65 or over (hopefully done in 2022)
- Fourth Dose - (2023 vaccine) – everyone aged 65 and over (hopefully done in 2023)
- Fifth Dose (2023 vaccine) is recommended for those 75 and over and should be considered for those 65-74 years old (six months after 4th dose or 6 months after any COVID infection)
It is expected that regular annual or six-monthly doses will be recommended for those 65 years and over for the next year or even longer, depending on the developing situation with COVID-19 in Australia and the world generally.
Recommendations for 2024 vaccinations for COVID and Influenza are awaited at the time of this report (10th February 2024)
Extra doses may be required for those at higher risk due to medical illnesses or conditions affecting a person’s immune system and specific advice from your GP is needed here.
Some people with pre-existing Respiratory Conditions should have the new vaccine against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) which causes ‘common cold’ symptoms in adults and bronchiolitis in babies and more severe respiratory illness in this group.
Some club members have had 5 doses of COVID vaccine at this point. If you have had only 2 or 3, you are behind and need another dose of COVID vaccine!
BVBC February 2024
AGM Report – Alison & Martin
The online bridge event on Tuesday nights consistently enjoys good participation, typically attracting around 4-5 tables. Over the past year, we have engaged in the ABF Nationwide Pairs on a monthly basis, enhancing the depth of our local competition through this red-pointed simultaneous pairs competition.
Once again, we took part in the "Up Over v Down Under" international competition on RealBridge in July, allowing our members to face opponents, primarily from the UK. This provided an interesting experience, offering our members the chance to have a chat with the players after each round.
Last year, we experimented with a couple of innovative approaches. One involved a teams match where teams were made up based on club handicaps, and the other was the "Winter Pairs Championship" held over two nights, featuring aggregate red point scoring. Both of these events received positive feedback from our members.
The pie chart depicts our club's membership distribution based on ABF competition classification. Notably, over 80% of our player base falls under the novice category. While this isn't inherently problematic, it does pose a challenge in attracting and retaining members seeking a more advanced and challenging experience.
To be successful, bridge clubs need to provide several pathways to suit the needs of members.
One of the initiatives that Alison and I have been running is online improver bridge sessions on Thursday night. These consist of a short presentation on a topic followed by set hands on the theme. RealBridge offers the opportunity for players to discuss the hand and be mentored during the bidding and play. Attendance is usually 2-3 tables.
We have trialled presenting through RealBridge, but this has some shortcomings compared to Zoom. RealBridge provides a broadcast-only facility that doesn’t allow participants to ask questions. On reflection, Zoom is better for the presentation and questions and then use RealBridge for play.
That the club fund a Zoom licence for teaching at a cost of around $25/month for those months required.