Minutes of Nottinghamshire Contract bridge association Committee Meeting
12th June 5.30pm @NBC
Received from Maciej, Sue W and Mark (Mark had hoped to turn up later but said that it was likely he may not make it)
2. Approval of the minutes of the last two meeting.
Jane had requested changes to both sets of minutes. These were agreed subject to these changes.
3. Matters arising
Following the ruling regarding re-arranged matches Jane had spoken to the EBU and she is going to clarify the wording in the teams of 8 rules. Rule 19 will be revised to say: An agreed match date may be re-arranged at any time, without penalty, only by mutual consent. However in asking for a re-arrangement, or cancelling a match, a team is agreeing to concede if their opponents do not wish to rearrange, or a new date cannot be agreed. It is advisable for Teams to make sufficient allowances for last minute non availability of players. In the event of poor weather conditions it is reasonable to agree to cancel.
4. Chairs Report
Toni suggested that the main goals for the coming year were the July Festival, if it was to go ahead, and to improve the County Bridge Scene, that is County events and county matches both. The paper she had circulated late in the day stated these aims. Then after discussing these we need to ensure our internal structure and Roles/remit were adequate to deliver these aims. It was agreed to discuss the July Festival first to allow Mark time to arrive as he said he may arrive later July Festival
It was noted that the July Festival was pretty close and that some effort would be needed to achieve it. There was a suggestion that only the 20nd-22th July events should run as they were already going ahead so there was no extra work required but it was noted that this rather defeated the objective of having enough events to cater for all levels and to warrant a big publicity splash. In the end it was agreed to go ahead with the Festival but limit some of the activities from the full list included in the Chairs paper. For example Graham was not keen on a SIMS for the Improver's, as he liked the teaching support element of this Wednesday afternoon group. Toni agreed to re-draft and send round the committee with suggestions for all to participate in some element of the planning.
▪ 20th July Green Pointed Pairs Graham organising at present 9 pairs.
▪ 21st July Priday Cup Graham organising, Clare directing. Sue to ensure trophies are available.
▪ 22nd Club SIMS pairs All committee members to promote in their own clubs. Post meeting actions noted below.
▪ 23rd Tuesday, 24th Wednesday, 25th Thursday, 26th Friday no noted activity as yet
▪ 27th Saturday open events at local libraries
▪ 27/28th EBED teacher training or TD training. Derby blue point event.
22nd SIMS: Clare will get exact costs from ECATS and advise the committee. She will agree to organise this aspect of the event. Sue M has agreed to draft a flier for issue to all clubs to attract new players to those clubs hosting the event. She will email around next week and print off hard copies. All committee to promote in their clubs. Toni will contact the Monday clubs and seek agreement to join in. Sue M also said we should visit the non Monday clubs to try to get more interest. Sue M to organise. Woodborough – a non Monday club will hire a hall to join in. Toni to draft a piece for the newsletter to go out within the next 2 weeks as priority. Sue M has since suggested that as the ECATS cost doesn’t look like being that high, i.e. Not more than an extra 50p per player, the £100 that the committee voted to pledge to subsidise the ECATS cost could in part be used for prizes. If this attracted more players it would be an easier event to put on in future years and non Nottingham city players would feel that their views were being listened to as this was a key idea from the clubs conference. ACTION: do the committee agree this course of action? 27/8th EBED teacher training: This is unlikely to take place as at last count only 2 people had expressed and interest and EBED wanted 8 for the event to run. Clare will approach Derbyshire to see if they were willing to run a blue point event on the following Sunday or Saturday 27/8. This would be at Spondon but would likely attract a different cache of player. This means the NBC room could be available for TD training. This to be run this year by Ken Smith (Derby County TD) with Keith in support, alternating from last year. Keith is on holiday until then so this fits better with his time. Keith to organise with Ken and confirm asap. Sue M pointed out that the proposed Derby BP may not be viable because of the Scarborough congress taking place. Clare said that the Scarborough Congress extended its days last year and this was given as one of the reasons why the Notts green pointed teams had not had enough entries last year.
Other ideas such as play with a Star on a Friday at NBC and open evenings at clubs were discussed. Graham said that NBC had discussed the idea of a club open day but the last one was not successful. It was felt that some display in a local library such as the one done by the South Notts consortium would work better. Subsequently Shirley has agreed to organise a open event at the West Bridgford Library on Saturday 27th. Keith has contacted and booked a similar for Arnold library. Clare has agreed to approach Eastwood library and Toni will do likewise at Southwell depending how this dovetails in with Len Jacksons imminent Snotty course in the Radcliffe area. The NCBA promotional material can be used in each venue. Each leader to take forward the event at each library but hopefully some support from each committee member would be forthcoming. In respect of ‘play with a Star’, this was a simple normal drive but pairs being formed by names from a hat so less experienced players could play with the more experienced players. This requires the goodwill of better players. Mark to be asked to secure a group of 12 top players to see if this was viable.
Priorities for the coming year. Toni wanted us to look at two main strands and the structure of the NCBA to best deliver these. 1. Communications it was discussed at the previous meeting on 1st May that a communications sub committee could be set up to look into the issues of the website, newsletter and maintaining a dialogue with clubs and county members. Paul Sweet confirmed that Gordon Parsons had agreed to join this committee, but he was currently on leave. The group approach would be supportive of ensuring more regularity of newsletters and the group needed to discuss roles as currently there was a disjoint between expectations and strengths. The list of responsibilities/activities to fall within this working group was briefly considered with no additions/omissions. The working group can review in more detail in due course but it was noted that a success of NCBA over the past few years was the improved relations with clubs and better communications and this needed to continue to improve. The committee discussed the remaining negative reputation which is slowly dispelling but not soon enough and communications is a key part of this as well as culture change. 2. County Bridge (This covers county bridge events as well as county matches) The performance of the county squad produced a long discussion. It is to be noted that the county captain had put a paper to the group and that prior to the meeting there had been an email debate on the issues he raised had taken place. Several people had supplied detail responses and others had expressed their agreement with the general view that autonomy was not acceptable. The following points were covered.
- Selection Criteria do we have any? Why not? Needs to be transparent to members so more likely to put their names forward as the pool of county candidates is too small as stressed by Shirley as this gives rise to selection issues.
- Making sure all county members are aware of how they could become members of the squad. This links to more proactive communication not being reactive. Some people did not see a message on the website. Visiting clubs and the face to face talent spotting and encouragement is helpful.
- Making new members of the squad welcome when they played for the first time. The issue around the stand offish culture and lack of team spirit caused some members not to put their names forward again was generally not acceptable. Examples were given of personal experience.
- Giving people plenty of notice they are required to play. Sue M showed the Yorkshire league list which has the provisional first cut of names already issued. Whilst there may be some move closer the time, a full allocation early on helps diary commitments and thus would ensure the maximum pool of possible players is available to help selection . Mark's paper had said 2 months but Toni suggested that more than that was possible and indeed needed
- Allowing pairs to move between the first second and third teams. Methods could be used for this which are objective and transparent. Some were in the Chair's paper. Whilst a successful To8 has a ‘team intuition’ this should not stop fluid movement and trials could be used for ‘ win on spot’ places to promote competition and drive to excel. Likewise established partnerships should be the aim even if not always possible in practice.
- Do county nights need to be linked to the squad training. This would help in selection being effective, current and transparent.
- Having county trials a separate event in August had been put forward. However this midsummer and only one event. In reality a trial over say a 3 drive period based on county night was also possible.
- Putting together a 4th team to give potential members of the squad an idea of playing at this level.
- How we use “County night” and whether we needed to look at some of the reasons why people do not want to play at this event. The reputation was a constant issue- poor behaviour from both strong and weak players. We agreed to try and keep the Wednesday going over the summer and all were exorted to support. A new strategy needs working up for the coming season- re-badging to attract more interest.
- Giving people practise at playing teams events. So the 18th August event put forward by Mark was suggested instead to be a training event on the difference between teams and Pairs. Whilst this topic had been covered already in a master class put on by NCBA it needed to be addressed again as the attendees differed.
It was agreed that 2 subgroups would be set up to look at each of these strands separately. Each member could be on more than one working group, especially as some elements were discrete for example Keith and the website is a discrete activity on communications . He could be supported by others as agreed within the group but he need not partake of the other elements such as newsletters unless desired.
Ian Dovey stated that he did not want the subgroup looking at the county performance to be a selection committee. However it was felt that in order to avoid accusations of cronyism it would be useful if this group could form the mechanism for selection for next year. The paper had listed a range of possible criteria and roles and remits for the group covering development etc. These were to be taken forward by the group. In particular Sue M noted that if we wanted improvements we could not carry on doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Now was the time for some proactive measures and a large amount of ideas had been put forward. The working groups should respectively take these forward and working in a smaller group would permit quicker actions as some of these areas need imminent working on. Committee members were asked to put their names forward to be part of the two sub committees.
4. Secretary report Clare Batten.
Clare had received information about the discussions that took place at the EBU county Chairs meeting. The EBU are looking to increase the universal membership by 2p next year and also remove the discount given to counties. Clare mentioned that the EBU were looking for extra income so the EBU would also be looking at leakage from clubs. Clare had also contacted the EBU about the running of a Blue Pointed pairs on a Sunday and in consultation with Keith Spencer who would be directing this will take place on 6th October which is a Sunday. It was noted that the weekday event held in February was a success but some people had expressed a wish for one to put on a weekend.
Sue Wright who was unable to attend the meeting had reported that she was making progress sorting out the trophies.
The date of the next meeting was fixed for the 28th August.