Nottinghamshire Contract Bridge Association
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Wednesday 8th May 2019
6.30 pm at Nottingham Bridge Club
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence had been received from Jane Hall, Dick Milne, Janet Jacques, Keith Rodgers, John Auld, Irene Auld, Graham Lee, Paul Sweet and John Rolph.
Minutes of the AGM held on 16th May 2018
These were approved by the meeting. Proposed by Clare Batten and seconded by Shirley Ashtari.
In her first report as chair of NCBA, Toni Smith stressed that the AGM was important and was the opportunity to both look back of the previous year and to consider plans for the future. The AGM was also an opportunity for any EBU individual to raise issues via motions or probe the committee performance with questions. She believed that the committee had carried out the main aims of the association, namely to promote and further bridge in the county, to organise competitions in the county and to participate in matches with other counties.
The new committee had worked on the following objectives, which were ratified at the previous AGM:
- Communication and engagement;
- Training and development;
- A sensible committee structure and processes;
- Extending the range of County competitions offered and building County match potential;
- To advertise and promote bridge across the county.
Toni thanked the committee for their hard work throughout the year and acknowledged that volunteering could be difficult.
Among the successes of the previous twelve months had been the recent clubs’ conference , at which most affiliated clubs had sent a representative. Tim Anderson, an ex-Nottinghamshire member, now an EBU spokesperson, had given a talk on the EBU plan to increase membership of clubs.
Another item of note was the first Nottinghamshire Blue Point Swiss Pairs event held in February, which had attracted eighteen pairs. Several of the participants had said that they had enjoyed the novel session. The Committee had plans for a second weekend evening BP event.
Paul Sweet was thanked for his work in developing a Safeguarding Policy for the county, which several clubs had modified for their own use.
With the increase in the number of social as opposed to competitive players, clubs, including Retford and Mansfield, had started to hold well attended afternoon drives.
Liaison between Nottingham Bridge Club and NCBA had resulted in a successful “Bridge with Lunch” drive on the second Thursday of the month. The NCBA run Wednesday Improvers events were very successful and Graham and Clare were thanked for their undoubted efforts in supporting newer players build confidence to attend drives. Without this event NCBA would be running annually at a deficit due to the drop in attendance at the high end events.
On a positive note, the number of entries to both the Mixed Pairs event and Journal Cup had increased. However attendance at county drives was a cause for concern. It was also reported that the number of entries for the forthcoming Green Pointed Swiss Teams was low and that the event could well be cancelled.
On the communications and engagement front, the county newsletter continues to be popular. Help would be requested to assist the editor, Paul Sweet, with the IT side of things.
At the recent committee meeting Jane Hall, the teams-of-eight organiser, had stated that no less than 260 players had participated in the three divisions. It had also been agreed that at future county drives, the director would not be expected to play the table fee element to mark the investment TD’s put into their volunteering and the impact on their own game when directing & playing. It was left to clubs to consider if they wished to also acknowledge the important role of the TD similarly whilst also acknowledging the other valuable volunteering roles other club members also take on.
Toni mentioned that several “Masterclasses” had been held in the past year, and that she wishes to thank those people who had presented them.
This year’s Café Bridge (not a county association event) had again proved a great success, with no less that ninety players taking part. NCBAB had loaned their promotional material for this bridge event. It was available gratis for any club wishing to put on a bridge event.
Results of all three county teams in the Midlands League had been disappointing and it was hoped that improvements could be made for the future.
Looking to the future, it was hoped that the NCBA web-site could be improved and that this year’s structure of the summer teams of four event would be better received.
It was hoped that the county committee would be able to organise a TD training session and an EBED led weekend for players wishing to become bridge teachers. However, for this teaching event, scheduled to take place at the Nottingham Bridge Club, eight candidates would be needed before the course could run.
Toni said that the highlight of next year could be the “Festival of Bridge” week planned for July. However as usual it could only go ahead if there were willing volunteers to helput the events on and interested participants. It was hoped that this would include:
- A sims event on Monday involving clubs from Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire;
- TD training;
- Safeguarding training;
- A sims event for improvers, for which Andrew Scott had agreed to prepare a commentary on the hands;
- The NCBA GP Swiss Pairs competition. And possibly a blue point event hosted by Derbyshire.
Event Winners and Presentation of Prizes
Although a technical hitch prevented the trophies being awarded, the following winners were announced.
- Teams of Eight League
- Division 1
Winners: Nottingham Gambit
The team would represent the county in the Garden Cities Trophy
Runners Up: Retford A
- Division 2
Winners: Nottingham Alderclarke
Runners Up: Sunday Tigers
- Division 3
Winners: Retford C
Runners Up: Woodborough B
- Summer Teams of Four League
Winners: Burton Joyce
- Mixed Pairs
The winners were Christopher and Dorothy Close
- Journal Cup
The winners were Lloyd Eagling and Stan Zygadlo.
- KO Teams of Four
The winners were William Crook, Ankush Khandelwal, Rob Sharpe, Tony Sowter and Steve Raine.
- Priday Cup
The winners were Bernard Plumb and Liz Rothwell.
Treasurer’s Report and Submission of Accounts to 31st March 2019
Ian Dovey, the NCBA treasurer, commenced his report by thanking Martin Mellor for checking the accounts. He explained that the excess of income over expenditure had risen to £1595, due mainly to the continuing success of the Wednesday afternoon drives organised by Graham Brindley and Clare Batten. Ian also wished to thank David Dunford for helping out at these drives, despite not being an NCBA committee member.
In turn the Nottingham Bridge Club was thanked for letting the county use the premises for these drives free of charge.
The cash assets of the county stood at £14935.
The accounts were approved by the meeting. This was proposed by Mel Shepherd and seconded by Stan Zygadlo.
The meeting then discussed the county component of the universal membership table fee. It was decided that it should stay at the present rate of 4p for the moment.
Election of Officers
No vote was needed as there had not been two candidates standing for the main committee posts.
The committee will be:
President: Ankush Khandelwal
Chair: Toni Smith
Hon Treasurer: Ian Dovey
Hon Secretary: Clare Batten
County TD Keith Spencer
County Captain: Mark Goddard
Other committee members
Two motions had been raised, both proposed by Toni Smith and seconded by Clare Batten.
The number of ordinary committee members to be changed to the maximum of twelve or the number of Nottinghamshire clubs, whichever is the greater.
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.
However, before any discussion could take place, it was pointed out that according to the constitution, any motion put to an AGM had to have a proposer and two supporters who had to give their support in writing. The fact that at last year’s AGM a motion had been put that had only a proposer and seconder, was not regarded as relevant as both motions involved a change to the constitution. After a measured but sometimes heated argument it was agreed to discuss the motions but that they could not be voted on.
Toni’s rationale for the first motion was that this would allow each club to have a representative on the committee if that was what the club wanted. If each club had a county committee member, then NCBA would truly be club representative. Clubs would be 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 county committee no matter how large the committee became.
Mel Shepherd was of the opinion that he would have voted for this proposal had the correct procedures been followed.
Toni’s rationale for the more contentious second motion was that it 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.
The motion would have been amended to include sessions at players’ clubs as well as county events.
Shirley Ashtari, in her role as county teams co-ordinator, thought that there was already a shortage of people willing to play for the county and that restricting the pool available for selection would not help matters. The amended motion was not intended to restrict any member from playing at all. Sue MacIntosh believed there were many people who were interested in playing but who needed proactive support to come forward.
Ian Dovey remarked that the low number of tables at county nights had been raised many years ago, and that it was not a recent problem. He also commented that the motion had alienated some players against the county. Keith Rodgers email supporting the motion was summarised for the group, as were the points John Auld and John Rolph raised about the difficulties for some players in attending a Wednesday only NCBA event or the distances involved.
Lloyd Eagling was of the opinion that the outcome of the proposal would be to further weaken the county teams.
Phil Cooper stated that the county committee needed to find ways to encourage people to play at county drives and develop a clear path for aspiring players to reach county status.
Toni agreed that a structure was needed to enable players to progress from beginners to county level, if they had the ability. Beginners’ classes and improvers’ lessons were not in themselves sufficient.
The county captain, Mark Goddard, was not in favour of the proposal and thought that it would alienate certain players.
It was agreed that the proposal could be considered in modified form at a future AGM and discussed further at the next county committee meeting. Whilst there was no consensus with people having decided views, it was positive that individuals felt able to express options and ideas.
The meeting finished at around 7.30 pm. The meeting was followed by drinks and nibbles and a free game of bridge was offered.
Toni Smith, Mel Shepherd, Ian Dovey, Lloyd Eagling, Maciej Lejman, Phil Cooper, Keith Spencer, Kay Hamilton, Mark Goddard, Stan Zygadlo, Clare Batten, Shirley Ashtari, Sue MacIntosh, Graham Brindley, Chris Frost