Minutes of the NCBA Committee held on 1st May 2019 at the Nottingham Bridge Club
- Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence had been received from Clare Batten, Maciej Lejman and Mark Goddard. In the case of Clare Batten, she was recovering from a recent car accident and the committee wished her a speedy recovery. Sue Wright had contacted the committee to say that she would be arriving late.
Dave Treharne was attending the meeting as chair of the Nottingham Bridge Club.
- Matters arising from the meeting held on 6th February 2019 not dealt with on the agenda.
There were no items under this heading.
- Approval of the minutes of the last meeting
In the absence of a copy of the minutes, which had previously been circulated, the approval of the minutes was deferred until the next committee meeting.
- Chair’s Report
Toni Smith commenced her statement by saying that as this was in effect the last report of the bridge year, it was an opportune time to both look back to the successes and possible problems of the previous year, and also to consider plans for the future. Contributions from other committee members were welcomed.
Among the positive aspects of the year were the success of the second club’s conference and the popularity of both the Wednesday afternoon drives and the monthly bridge with lunch on Thursday. The latter was a joint venture with the Nottingham Bridge Club.
The county had organized a successful TD training event.
The number of players at the Journal Cup and Mixed Pairs competitions had increased this year, which was welcomed.
It was proving difficult to produce the newsletter as regularly as had been planned, but the proposed communications sub-group could alleviate this problem. Paul Sweet was asked to contact Gordon Parsons, with a view to him joining this sub-group.
It was thought that the communication of county information within the clubs was varied. Sue MacIntosh reported that Keith Abel has done an excellent job at Retford. At some other clubs the announcement of county events could be improved.
It was disappointing that there were no representatives of either Newark or Sunday Tigers on the committee.
The idea of having a county representative, as distinct from a committee member, at each club had not taken off.
The attendance at county events from clubs such as Keyworth and Phoenix had decreased over the years. This might be due to an ageing membership, who were unhappy at driving at night.
The committee was asked to think of ways to improve support for the county.
It was noted that there had been a change in the type of bridge that was popular these days.
Sue MacIntosh said that, following comments at the clubs’ conference, Retford had started an afternoon drive, which was well attended. Sue Wright commented that Mansfield had instigated something similar.
The county had organized several master classes throughout the year, the attendance at which had been mixed; some well-attended, other less so. The people who had given these classes were thanked for their time and effort.
The county had been instrumental, through the efforts of Paul Sweet, in developing a safe-guarding policy for both the county and affiliated clubs. The possibility of organizing a training session, via the EBU, for safe-guarding officers was suggested.
The problem with slow play at various clubs was discussed. One suggestion to improve the situation was that drives should have an assistant director, who could for example move the boards, should the director be delayed after being called away to give a ruling.
Ways of improving the attendance at county nights was considered. The possibility of holding drives on Monday nights as well as Wednesday was discussed. It was unclear why county night attendance had dropped so dramatically.
Shirley Ashtari reported that Derbyshire were keen to play a fourth team match against Nottinghamshire. It was unclear if there was any support for this, and who would be suitable players for the team.
Looking to the future, the following topics were listed as being important:
- Volunteers would be needed to organize the various components of the July Festival.
- Could the county web-site be improved and become the first port of call for all clubs regarding information about all aspects of bridge in the county?
- Implementation of ideas which had been raised at the clubs’ conference, such as youth bridge and the creation of a teachers’ group to disseminate good practice.
- Identification of the role of the committee; should we be supporting clubs’ initiatives or spearheading changes.
Toni hoped that the committee members would look at her list of future objectives and opt to support those that they were interested in or had expertise in. Every committee member was asked to look at the list of objectives and pick those that they would be happy to be involved in. (A copy is attached to these minutes.) Ideas for implemented these proposals should be brought to the next committee meeting.
The committee needed to prioritise its efforts in the year ahead, and cooperation between members was vital if these plans were to be carried out.
- Treasurer’s Report
Ian Dovey reported that from a financial viewpoint the year had been successful, with the county making a profit of around £1600. This was due mainly to the Wednesday afternoon ‘improvers’ drives. Ian thanks those members of the committee who had helped out at these drives. Graham Brindley formally thanked Nottingham Bridge Club for allowing the county to use the club premises free of charge, and also wished to thank David Dunford for his help throughout the year.
Ian commented that income from other sources such as the Green Point events and county drives was down, but this was also a problem at Derbyshire and Leicestershire. He was disappointed that the clubs’ conferences had not appeared to generate an increase in attendance at county drives. Other committee members pointed out that the clubs’ conference had had other benefits regarding bridge in the county.
The treasurer stated that the county cash assets were in the region of £14900, and that the year’s accounts were being checked by Martin Mellor, ready for next week’s AGM.
- Received Correspondence
In the absence of the secretary, there was nothing to report under this heading.
- Teams of Eight Report
- Resolution of dispute between Woodborough A and Retford B.
A sub-committee had been set up to consider this matter. After careful consideration the sub-committee had found in favour of Retford B, and that Woodborough A were deemed to have conceded the match. Although there was some sympathy with Woodborough regarding whether the Retford team had agreed irrevocably to a rearrangement, it was felt that Woodborough should have acted more quickly to email correspondence concerning new dates.
- End of season report.
Jane Hall informed the committee that the winners of the divisions were as follows:
Division 1: Nottingham Team A Gambit
This team would represent Notts in the Garden Cities Competition.
Division 2: Nottingham Team B Alderclarke
Division 3: Retford C.
Jane commented that 260 personnel had played in the teams of eight league, making it very popular. This presented about one third of the EBU NCBA membership.
The average numbers of players for teams in divisions one and two was thirteen and for division 3 it was eighteen. She had checked that all players were eligible and that the nominated players rule had been adhered to. There had been one conceded match which was non-controversial and another which had caused problems. The rules regarding rearranged/conceded matches would be modified before the start of the new season.
- County Captain’s Report
In Mark Goddard’s absence, Shirley Ashtari reported that the county teams had not had a successful season, and that it had been difficult to raise three teams for some of the long distance away matches. Despite this all the fixtures had been fulfilled. The county positions were as follows in the three leagues:
Dawes (Division 1) Eighth
Porter (Division 2) Sixth
Markham (Division 3) Seventh
There was some discussion as to whether pairs should put themselves forward to play for the county, or whether pairs should be asked if they are willing to play.
It was agreed that wine and nibbles would be provided for the AGM paid for by the county. Ian Dovey volunteered to sort these out.
It was suggested that winners of county events should be presented with a memento of their victory. Possibilities could be a photo/certificate or an engraved glass trophy. Clearly there would be no time to sort out glass trophies for next week’s AGM, but this suggestion would be discussed at a future meeting, after costings had been considered.
Teams of Eight and Teams of Four trophies should be presented at the AGM. Trophies for other events had been presented on the day. The committee would discuss what to do in future years.
A checklist of information needed for the AGM was gone through.
It was hoped that the quorate of 15 attendees would be reached.
- Teams of Four
Shirley Ashtari informed the committee that the winners of this season’s team of four event were Burton Joyce, with Ravenshead in second place.
For the forthcoming season, where the second division was aimed at ‘social players’, six teams had entered division 2, but only three teams in division 1. More teams for this division were clearly needed, and it was hoped that both Nottingham Bridge Club and Woodborough Bridge Club would be able to raise a team.
Shirley stated that, next year, there was no guarantee that there would be more than one division.
It was agreed to hold the next committee meeting on Wednesday 12th June commencing at 5.30 pm. This would be followed by the monthly county drive.
Graham Brindley reported that the Journal Cup had been held on 17th March. The winners were Lloyd Eagling & Stan Zygadlo with Mark Goddard & David Hodge in second place.
Entries for the NCBA Green Pointed Swiss Teams were low and there was a strong possibility that the event would been cancelled. A decision would be made on 12th May.
It was agreed that the Priday Cup, an event for players with a NGS grade of 10 or less, would be held on Sunday 21st July. Increased publicity would be needed to ensure a good turnout.
Paul Sweet and Sue Wright reported that due to other commitments, the newsletter had been delayed. It was thought that bringing in a team member with good IT skills would be beneficial. . Paul Sweet was asked to contact Gordon Parsons, with a view to him joining this sub-group.
Jane Hall commented that a regular newsletter was good and that they should be short and frequent, with the timing of the issues being important.
Setting up a communications sub-committee would help with the production of the newsletter.
- Motions received for the AGM
Toni Smith had put forward the following motions to be discussed at the AGM
Toni summarised the rationale as follows:
This would allow each club to have a representative on the committee if wanted. If each club was represented then NCBA would truly be club representative. Clubs are more interested in being involved in cross club and cross county activities and this could further facilitate club interaction as per the NCBA’s objectives ratified at the 2018 AGM.
It was pointed out that there was no guarantee that all clubs would be represented on the committee, no matter how large the committee became.
The constitution to be amended to include a qualification for eligibility to
represent Nottinghamshire in County matches as follows: Players may be
selected to play for Nottinghamshire based on a range of criteria which should
be outlined, and advertised on the NCBA website, in general terms, at the
start of the season. This to include an expectation that those wishing to be
selected should support County nights and NCBA organised events and have play
at these events at least 6 times in the past 12months. This to exclude To8
and To4 events.
Toni summarised the rationale as follows:
This would facilitate greater support to the County Bridge scene by those more experienced players and as a result would permit less experienced players the chance to practice against the County’s best players thus developing players. The current County performance may not be not as good as it could be and this could be attributed to the lack of higher level opportunities to practice established partnerships against the strongest competition. This motion will demonstrate the determination of NCBA to a) build capacity at all levels so that there is succession planning in place for County matches, b) provide a regular viable County drive for County players to get practice at the highest level, c) provide an opportunity for the better players to ‘give back’ to the County by attending and supporting the developing player and d) avail themselves of any development opportunities that NCBA may arrange on County nights such as County Team debriefs and training.
A discussion took place as to whether it was possible to put forward an amendment to a motion raised at an AGM . The consensus was that it was possible, but this was to be checked.
Given that members had contributed to earlier discussions, the only item raised was a query from Toni Smith as to whether TDs should not have to pay to play in a drive that they were directing. Although generally thought a good ideas, it was mentioned that club committee members contributed to the smooth running of a club in other ways, without any benefit.
It was up to clubs to decide whether to implement this proposal or not, but for county events, the director would not pay any table fee,
A suggestion was made that a mini club conference should be held before the next AGM, in order to try and get all clubs represented at the AGM.
Date of Next Meeting
The next committee meeting was scheduled for Wednesday 12th June starting at 5.30 pm.