The Spring Meeting was held on Saturday 5 March 2005 at Culcheth Sports and Social Club
(Notes from Unratified Minutes)
Present: Martin Granger Brown, Barry Keen, Ian Lines , John Wilkinson (Bowdon); David Barrett, Jean Hargreaves (Bury); Janet Davies, Geoff Reynolds ( Chester ); Alison Charters, Eric Charters, Anne Connop, Bob Connop, Alan Wright (Culcheth); Georgina Llewellyn, John Hunt (Llanfairfechan); John Beech, Kathryn Schofield, Roger Schofield (Pendle); Anne Belcher, James Hawkins , Tony Thomas ( Southport ).
1. Apologies for Absence Apologies were received from: Geoff Young (Bury); Mark Miller ( Crake Valley ); Liz Wilson, Peter Wilson (Fylde); Richard Bellwood ( Isle of Man ); Bob Burnett ( Southport ); Peter Wardle (Westmorland).
2. Confirmation of Previous Minutes Barry Keen noted that henceforth there would be a change to the policy of dealing with the minutes from the corresponding meeting 12 months previously, and that in future the Spring meeting will deal with the previous AGM, and vice versa. Acceptance of the minutes of the 2004 Spring Meeting was Approved nem con. Acceptance of the minutes of the 2004 Annual General Meeting was Approved nem con.
3. Matters Arising from the Previous Meetings There were no matters arising from the minutes of the 2004 Spring Meeting. Matters arising from 2004 AGM: * Barry Keen reported that the CA had confirmed that CA Representatives do not have to retire after 3 years, but they do need to be re-elected. * Barry Keen had clarified from the CA (Phil Cordingley principally) that although the CA was encouraging clubs to get sponsorship for major tournaments (e.g. for the President’s at Heaton Park ), it was not a requirement. * Barry Keen had discussed the origins of the rather curious restriction on the use of bisques (see p55 of laws book) with Stephen Mulliner, who believes that it was instigated by Lionel Wharrad in order to prevent the better players from using bisques. There are no plans at present to amend this law, although Barry Keen will keep it in mind if any revisions are made in future.
4. Reports from Officers
a) Chairman – Barry Keen: Barry Keen noted that a number of players from the North West (namely Chris Clarke, Colin Irwin, Ian Lines and David Maugham) have already been selected to play for England in the World Championships, and that others (such as Jenny Williams for New Zealand) may be selected via wild cards and the various qualifying competitions. Barry also congratulated Ian Lines on being selected to play for Great Britain against the USA in the Solomon Trophy at Mission Hills Country Club, Palm Springs , California , at the end of March 2005.
b) Secretary – Ian Lines: The ‘Croquet in the North’ leaflet has been put together by Ian Lines , and 800 copies kindly printed by Nan Bowers (courtesy of Trafford). Any errors or omissions which need to be corrected for 2006 should be communicated in writing to Ian Lines just before Christmas 2005. Paper copies of the pink 2005 leaflet are being distributed to all clubs, and an electronic copy is attached. Ian Lines will hold any spare paper copies.
c) Treasurer – Geoff Young: David Barrett (on behalf of Geoff Young ) reported that affiliations have been received from 12 clubs. Keswick have not joined this year as they don’t think we have anything they need from us. The NW Federation have paid a contribution to the cost of the Neil Williams Trophy (for the NW Millennium Advanced), the balance of which was kindly donated by his widow Deborah Williams. Net money in hand is about £2200.
d) Development Officer – John Beech: A NW Federation grant of £250 towards Bury’s electrification project was approved by the officers prior to the 2005 Spring meeting. David Barrett recorded Bury’s appreciation and thanks to the NW Federation. John beech noted that the CA’s policy on grants has changed slightly. Grants are now specifically for development and coaching. The CA will also provide equipment (from the CA shop) such as a full set of equipment for new clubs which join the CA. After 5 full years membership of the CA, the equipment becomes the property of the club, otherwise it reverts to the NW Federation. The following biennial awards have been made to clubs in recognition of their progress in the last 2 years – Ashby Townsend Club Award (for clubs with 1 or 2 courts) – Bowdon Aps Heley Award (for clubs with 3 or 4 courts) See 7 below and Appendix 1. Cheltenham Millennium Club Award (for clubs with 5 or more courts). Noted that Keswick has deregistered from the CA and NW Federation – Ian Lines will send details on possible CA affiliation option to Keswick. Barry Keen and Ian Lines will liaise with Keswick.
The following development issues were recently discussed with the CA Development Committee
• BURY CC. Recently completed £9000 project. Ladies/Gents/Disabled lavatories and access ramp to pavilion. Proposed project to provide electricity, fit new kitchen and refurnish pavilion at an estimated cost of £19800 for which a bid is made for CA grant aid at this meeting. • CHESTER CC. Negotiating with City Council for new pavilion on new lawns (Opened May 2004). Possibly for development in 2006. • CRAKE VALLEY CC. CA grant of £3000 spent on cladding, lining and some reflooring of historic timber building. AWA grant of £4000 being spent on new sewer and soakaway, installation of lavatory in pavilion and ramp for disabled access. Completion expected by start of 2005 season. • LANCASTER CC. Deregistered and no longer a Federation Club. • LLANFAIRFECHAN CC. CA grant for extension to two full sized courts not yet completed. Fence demolished and new fence erected. Awaiting contractor to move hedge, level and sow grass seed on additional land. • PENDLE AND CRAVEN CC. Note new name. The construction works are now complete apart from DIY fittings and finishes. The lawns will not be ready for play by Easter, but we have secured the two front lawns at Nelson for club and match play until July 2005 to secure continuity and all five lawns are available at Nelson for our Easter Tournament. Further drainage works will be done at Earby early season to try to bring the new lawns into use by mid summer. Because of continued uncertainty we have not yet fixed an official opening date. The new facility will provide 5 full sized courts and a pavilion with club room, incorporating a kitchen, licensed bar, toilet for ladies/disabled, toilet for men, cloak/bag room and machinery store.
Summary of costs and income sources.
COSTS – Levelling, landscape, drains, lawn sowing and tree/hedge planting £38,626; Pavilion, services and DIY work £32,822; Equipment £2,987; Other costs £2,698; Remedial drainage works £5,156; TOTAL COST £82,289.
FUNDING OF SCHEME: The Croquet Community, club funds, members and friends gifts, tax back and interest £18,972; Croquet Association grants £10,000; North West Federation £250; Bury Croquet Club £50; – 36.61% £29,272. Grant Aiding Bodies – Lancashire Small Sites Reclamation Programme £19,646; National Lottery Funding £5,000; Biffaward £5,000; Pendle Community Chest £4,988; Lancashire Playing Fields Association £200; – 43.57% £34,834. Commercial Sponsors – Fort Vale Engineering Limited £10,000; Robinson and Lawlor Ltd £2,000; Bellingham Wines (via CA) £2,000; Cooperative Society Community Dividend £500; RD Geotech £500; Woodlands Croquet £500; Rolls Royce plc £250; Heap and Preece £100; – 19.82% £15,850. TOTAL RESOURCES TO DATE £79,956. BALANCE TO BE FOUND £2,333. Applications for further grants have been made to The Craven Trust and Pendle Community Chest.
• PENRITH AND NORTH LAKES U3A. A club with an active membership of 16, considering joining the Federation and the CA as a Member Club before the start of the coming season. Will wish to take up the CA offer of a set of equipment on loan asap. Negotiating with Eden District Council for some land for lawn/s, in the meantime the group has been offered the facility of the famous Canon Markham. • SOUTHPORT CC. Undertaking phase 1 of Pavilion Scheme currently, to be completed by new season. Major security measures including shutters to all windows. Funded by club savings. Phase 2 possibly 2006, enlargement of pavilion, disabled lavatories and ramp and substantial improvements, for which grant aid will be sought. The club notes the CA request to retain ‘the cage’ and agrees not to relinquish without consulting the CA.
e) League Manager – John Wilkinson: The 2005 NW Federation fixture list has been finalised and distributed. Although it is good to see the extra teams which have entered, it is noted that the pressure on lawn availability for some clubs is greater than ever, and in future years fixtures will need to be started on 1 st April if so many teams continue to enter. The following rule change drafted by John Wilkinson was proposed by Tony Thomas , seconded by James Hawkins , and approved nem con.
Rule 8(a) – Delete from “In the event of a walkover” to the end of the rule. Substitute “In the event of a walkover the match will be scored 4 – 0 for a Handicap match, 10 – 0 for a Short Croquet match, 14 – 0 for a Golf Croquet match and 4 – 0 earning 40 points for an Advanced match.”
f) Coaching Officer – James Hawkins: James Hawkins apologised for his absence at the last meeting, and his failure to organise as much coaching as requested last year (due to house move difficulties). It was noted that Culcheth lost out last year so they will be a priority in 2005. In 2004, there were successful golf croquet days at Llanfairfechan and Chester , and Barry Keen ran 2 days of Association coaching at Llanfairfechan. In 2005 there is a recognised need for more golf croquet coaches ( James Hawkins being the only fully badged CA golf coach in the NW. James will liaise with Abdul Ahmad re his badge and official status, and will run some golf croquet courses at which Ros Pimlott and Molly McBride will assist (in order to give them the experience/examination to become fully badged CA golf coaches). There has been a request (from Bury) for some Grade 3 coaching (handicaps 0 to 6). James Hawkins has ideas for a new syllabus and will liaise with David Barrett and Ian Lines. James Hawkins has been voted Coach of the Year by the CA for his services in Middlesbrough and North Wales . James was warmly congratulated by the meeting. Tony Thomas suggested that a Silver Course (6 to 12) would be worthwhile – All club reps to determine interest within their clubs and respond to James by 10/4/2005. Chris Clarke is running an Advanced Course at Bowdon on 25-26/3/2005. Barry Keen is running a laws/referees course at Bowdon on 9-10/4/2005. Aimed both at those wishing to take the referees exam and those who just want to know more about the laws (or those who need a refresher on the latest version). Cost is £12. Start at 10.00am each day. See Bowdon website for details. Anyone interested should contact Barry Keen asap.
g) CA Representative – Barry Keen: After having served 3 years, the Federation is required to elect or re-elect the CA representative. Barry Keen was thanked for his work over the last 3 years and was proposed for re-election by Ian Lines and seconded by John Beech, and approved nem con.
h) NW Championship Manager – Barry Keen: The NW Federation Club Championships is to be held on 2-3 July at Southport . Clubs are strongly encouraged to enter as many teams as possible. Barry Keen will be Manager and Liz Wilson will be Secretary. Liz will distribute entry leaflets to clubs shortly, together with confirmation of some of the arrangements to help meets the wishes of clubs as far as is practicable. Clubs are encouraged to enter and support the event.
i) Pennine Cup Captain – Paul Rigge (not present): To be held on Saturday 13th August at Heaton Park . Paul Rigge to select NW team and make arrangements.
j) Child Protection Officer- Roger Schofield: Roger is always willing to help and provide advice to any clubs as required. The importance of complying with the legal requirements when dealing with any children aged under 18 was emphasised.
5 Millennium Tournaments
Arrangements are now all in place for the 2005 Finals (see attached flyers):
Handicap Chester – 7-8 May – Manager: Barry Keen and Janet Davies – 9.30 am start. All organised. Marquee arranged. List of B&B accommodation available from Janet. Only Chester and Bowdon so far have specified their 2 entrants. Clubs must notify Janet in writing of their 2 entrants (name, address, handicap) asap.
Advanced Heaton Park – 17/18 April – Managers: Geoff Young and Ian Lines – 9.30 am start. We have sufficient entries for A and B Advanced. There is time for more, especially from clubs other than Bowdon. Geoff Young to finalise entries and do draw on 12 th March if oversubscribed (Ian and Geoff will liaise). Noted that the new Advanced trophy will be for the A Class, and that the old trophy (currently with Roger Brooks ) will be for the B Class.
6 Midweek League and Trophy John Beech has kindly volunteered to provide a trophy. This was warmly welcomed by the meeting and thanks to John recorded.
7 Presentation of Aps Heley Award to Bowdon On behalf of the CA, Barry Keen presented Bowdon (represented by Martin Granger Brown) with the Aps Heley award for 2004 (with a cheque for £100), in recognition of the club’s progress in the previous 2 years. The citation is included as Appendix 1. The meeting noted that Pendle & Craven might be an appropriate nomination for the Millennium Club Award (for clubs with 5 or more courts) award for 2006. Other clubs in the NW are encouraged to consider whether they might be eligible for such awards.
8 Inventory of All NW Federation Equipment John Beech 1 set of Townsend Hoops (returned from Culcheth at Spring 2004 meeting). 2 sets of Dawson 2000 Balls (P & S colours) purchased in 2004 (originally for Fylde). Fylde 3 mallets purchased in 2004 (Hogan Mallets – two 36″, one 34″, all 3 lb weight). Llanfairfechan CA indoor carpet (note that CA requires this to be insured). Bob Burnett 4 sets of second colour (old) Birkdale balls (originally belonging to Southport). Bowdon has loaned 5 mallets refurbished by Colin Irwin to Chester (a long term loan). Noted that the equipment provided for Heaton Park has been paid for by Bury out of Heaton Park events income.
9 Club Reports and Announcements
Bowdon May weekend oversubscribed. June weekend and Northern week has a few places left. A number of places still left for the Northern Championship. The club continues to thrive with about 85 full playing members at present. Major projects of last year included the extension of the lawn playing areas, improved drainage on lawn 4 and refurbishment of the kitchen. The Spencer Ell will be held on 7-11 September. Bowdon won the Aps Heley award for 2004.
Bury 36 members. Have been busy raising funds for electrification project. Priority this year is to recruit more members. Events at Heaton Park (all in Croquet in the North leaflet) include: 16-17 April Lancashire International Golf; 13 August Pennine Trophy; 8-11 September Presidents Cup; 24 & 25 September Millennium Challenges (Advance and Handicap); All clubs are encouraged to advertise that the Presidents Cup is taking place at Heaton Park , and encourage members to spectate this extremely prestigious tournament.
Chester New lawns have been opened. Doing all the usual things. Currently working on the project for a new pavillion.
Crake Valley No report.
Culcheth Have been using the indoor mat. The annual dinner (with a contingent from Bury) was a great success. Currently in discussions about having grass cut shorter. Now down to 13 members but ticking along, although will probably need to consider recruitment drive sometime soon.
Ellesmere No report.
Fylde Fylde have requested advanced coaching at Pendle.
Isle of Man IOM apologised for not sending a representative to the meeting. Richard Bellwood reports that that they have started playing on an old bowling green – crown, but very slightly so – in Nobles Park Douglas last May. They have unlimited use apart from two 10 day periods in mid June and early September, when the IOM Bowls competitions are on. It is a great venue and ideal to give a push for more players this year. IOM hope to be at Southport this summer.
Keswick Active but not a member of NW Federation at present. Barry Keen to contact Keswick.
Lancaster Not active and not a member of NW Federation at present.
Llanfairfechan Membership steadily rising. Coaching in 2004 was well received. Club has been doing all the usual things, including ACE (Adult Carers in Education) coaching every week. Noted that not all members are croquet players and that social activities during the winter (such as Boxing Day barbecue) have helped the club thrive.
Pendle & Craven (formerly Pendle) The new club at Craven is almost finished, although the lawns require work on drainage so may not be available till mid 2005. However, lawns at Pendle remain available and Easter Tournament (25-28 March) will go ahead at Pendle and all are encouraged to enter asap. Currently 51 members and optimistic about recruiting more in Craven when lawns available.
Southport 92 members. Metal shutters have been installed to mitigate the vandal problem and the roof is to be replaced. The major development of the clubhouse has been postponed to October 2005 due to lack of funds. A new kitchen is being installed, and it is noted that this was financed by social activities such as Friday evening get-togethers at the club. Club is hosting Home Internationals on 18-19 June and the northern area finals of the golf and All England competitions. There are still places available for 23-24 April Advanced Tournament, and very few entries for the long bisquers tournament (11-12 June) – potential applicants are encouraged to apply asap. The biggest challenge facing the club at present is progressing people from golf, to 14 point, to handicap, to advanced, so this year they will be running a series of internal one month doubles competitions (high+low handicap in each team) to help people progress.
Westmorland Have not entered the league in 2005, but hope to re-enter in 2006.
10 AOB • Janet Davies suggested that some players would prefer that league matches should have the same format as the national club competitions (i.e. only one doubles in the morning). This issue was debated. The advantage of two doubles is that weaker players can gain experience from stronger players and inexperienced players may feel more confident if not entirely on their own. Conversely, some players would prefer to play more full games, particularly if they have travelled some distance or want to get as many games as possible on their card. It was noted that the present system has worked well for many years and it was decided that no action be taken at present. Clubs are encouraged to debate the issue and it may be considered at the next AGM (possibly for the 2007 season).
• B&Q Grants . Noted that B&Q has advertised that it will give up to 25 grants (in goods) of up to £500 to local sports clubs as part of their good neighbourhood scheme. The details are unclear, but worth investigating further if clubs think they might be eligible.
• Coop Society Grants . The Coop gives grants of up to £5000 to sports clubs which have a Coop store in their neighbourhood. John Beech reported that Bury recently received £500 with no strings attached.
11 Date and Time of Next Meetings The date of the next AGM is Saturday 5 th November 2005 starting at 10.00 am at Culcheth. The date of the next Spring Meeting was set at Saturday 4 th March 2006 at 10.00 am at Culcheth.
12 Close of Meeting The Chairman thanked the Culcheth Club for hosting the Spring Meeting and declared the meeting closed at 11.55 am .
Ian Lines, NW Federation Secretary, 5 March 2005