The BCGBA Rules Revision meeting and Annual General Meeting took place last Saturday. This is the day where rules can be changed and a new President and Deputy President is elected.
The Rules Revision meeting is attended by each county who four votes each. Also able to vote are the Management Committee members including Past President and Life Members but not the Salaried Officers. In total there were ninety-four eligible voters and for a proposal to be passed it had to achieve two-thirds of the votes not including abstentions.
As in many of the previous year’s there were a number of house-keeping changes of rules. There were though some interesting rules that provided much debate.
The first proposal of the day sought to reduce the size of the management committee by removing the Past Presidents and Life members from the Constitution of the Committee. They could still represent their county at the meetings but only as the delegate. This proposal was inspired by the work of the Governance sub-committee and their proposals from a couple of years ago. This, as with all proposals, was debated and then put to a vote. Although some reform of the management committee is probably required the counties thought this was not the way forward and it was rejected.
A proposal from the Management Committee would have the responsibility for funding the BCGBA move from clubs to individual players. This has been a highly contentious topic for a number of years with many players objecting to this.
The arguments for the proposal centred on the need to invest in game with advertising the game and developing the structure to attract new and maintain current player numbers.
The arguments against centred on the investment currently managed by trustees. Since the inception of the membership scheme all the funds generated by this went into this fund and were not to be used for day to day managing of the BCGBA. This fund now stands at over £150,000 and is managed and protected by the trustees and has been used to fund development projects.
The result of the vote showed a majority in favour of the proposal but it did not achieve the sufficient numbers of county delegates to be passed.
The other proposal involving a change to the finances was an increase to the club affiliation fee. This proposal was to increase the fee by 25% to £20 and then a further increase in 2018. This proposal although against the wishes of many bowlers found support by 75% of the county delegates and was therefore passed. This should raise in the region of £12,000 this year and should offset the deficit of £10,000 on the BCGBA operational budget.
The next major proposal was from Warwick and Worcester and it sought to clarify the disciplinary process and set into practice what should happen when serious misconduct was proven. This proved to be popular with the counties and was passed although personally I would have liked clearer guidance on one of the restrictions. I think it reads that whoever is found guilty of misconduct cannot attend a park which has a bowling game taking place.
A change to the dress code was passed with grey trousers no longer allowed in the men’s game. This change is thought to clarify the dress code and there are too many types, or shades, of grey.
There were proposals to prevent the use of artificial greens for county matches and they were defeated for the second year.
One of the considered and thought through proposals was designed to change the structure of the Junior County Championship. The championship is in the same format as the Senior Championship with counties divided into groups with the group winners contesting the semi-finals and the winners the final. The proposed change looked at the problems a number of counties are having getting enough players to form a team on each of the three match days. The proposed change would have seen a three-tier league system based on recent performances.
Only the top division could provide the winners of the competition but a promotion and relegation system would have seen the counties move up and down the leagues based on their playing strength. This would have meant that less strong counties would play against each other and the top division would be the strongest and be more challenging for the players in it. After much thought, debate and consideration the voting showed that the proposal fell five votes short of being passed.
The afternoon brought us the Annual General Meeting where John Crowther and Graeme Underhill, Chief Executive Officer and Financial Officer respectively, give their reports on 2016. John reported on the events of the year and Graeme guided the delegates through the eight page financial report. It was also revealed that Chris Lambert has been appointed to replace Mel Evans MBE as BCGBA Commercial Officer.
Following the well-received reports we had the election of a President and Deputy President for this year. It is the turn of North Midlands to hold the Presidency and Phil Brown was duly elected to serve as President. Lancashire’s Keith Andrews was elected as Deputy President. Both have served the sport of Crown Green Bowls for many years and they will be attending a huge number of events this year.
There being nothing else to discuss the delegates made their way to the four corners of the crown green world. The season starts with the World Club Championships at Fox Lane in Leyland in March.
With there being no further items to report I’ll sign off this article but don’t worry you won’t have to wait till March for more stories on Bowls Observer. We’ll be back very soon…..