The AGM was held on Saturday 6 November 2004 at Culcheth Sports & Social Club. (Notes taken from Unratified Minutes)
The Committee as from 6 November 2004 will be: Chairman: Barry Keen; Secretary: Ian Lines; Treasurer: Geoff Young; Development Officer: John Beech; League Manager: John Wilkinson; Coaching Officer: James Hawkins; CA Representative: Barry Keen; NW Club Champ: Barry Keen; Pennine Cup Captain Paul Rigge; Child Protection Officer: Roger Schofield.
Representatives were present from: Bowdon (Barry Keen, Ian Lines, John Wilkinson), Bury (David Barrett; Jean Hargreaves, Barbara Young), Chester (Alan Stubbs, Janet Davies), Culcheth (Pat Barlow, Eric Charters, Anne Connop, Bob Connop, Judy Doring, Crake Valley (Mark Miller), Fylde (Leonard Ainsworth, Liz Wilson), Southport (Anne Belcher, Tony Thomas).
Chairman, Barry Keen, welcomed everyone to the meeting. He was standing in for Bob Burnett, who is retiring as Chairman at this meeting, Barry thanked Bob for all his excellent work as Chairman of the Federation over recent years. Barry noted that although none of the NW clubs had won any of the CA National Competitions, it had been a good year, with notable successes including Cheshire winning the Inter Counties, the West of Pennines winning the Pennine Cup, David Maugham winning the President’s Cup and Ian Lines winning the Chairman’s Salver.
Treasurer, Geoff Young, presented a set of accounts, audited by Peter Wilson. Barry Keen noted that the Federation seemed to have a reasonable balance.
CA Representative, Barry Keen, noted the increased use of internet/e-mail for CA activities. His 3 year term as CA Rep ends in March 2005, so the Federation is seeking a volunteer, able to travel to meetings in London on Saturdays as required. Potential volunteers should contact Barry for more details.
Coaching Officer, James Hawkins, sent a written report. He has run courses in Middlesbrough and Chester. There is a lack of golf croquet coaches within the North West, reflected by the relatively small number of experienced people playing this format within the Federation. Barry Keen also conducted a one-day high-bisquers course at Llanfairfechan. Chris Clarke will be running a Gold course at Bowdon for on 25-26 March 2005, aimed at 0 to -2 handicaps. Dave Kibble has also offered to host a Gold Coaching Course in the North, aimed more at the scratch and upwards so that there would be little overlap with Chris Clarke’s course. Bury club will contact Dave to suggest possible venues (e.g. Bury, Heaton Park).
Championship Manager, Barry Keen, reported that there were the equivalent of 63 players over the two days, but with clubs fielding bigger teams, the actual number of players was greater than this – probably the largest entry that we have seen and after last year’s disappointing entry, this augurs well for the future of the event. Entries were: 3 Advanced, 8 Handicap, 7 Short and 4 Golf. The winners were Bowdon (overall), Bowdon (Advanced), Bowdon (Handicap), Fylde (Short), Culcheth (Golf). The Federation’s thanks go to the Southport Club for their hard work in preparation of the lawns and for keeping the players fed and watered throughout the weekend. Thanks to Liz who advertised the event and chased up the entries as well as ensuring that all the entries were paid for. It is proposed that the following guidelines should be applied next year: – Handicap to be a 5 match event and double Banked on main lawns as far as possible – Golf Croquet should be played on full lawns with double banking, main lawns one day, caged area other day. – Short Croquet event should be double banked to double the number of games and played in caged area. – Advanced Event should be Double Banked and played on main lawns. – The event should be finished by 5.30 so that the prize giving has finished by 6.00 on Sunday – The allocation of lawns to teams in the Short and Handicap event should be balanced as much as possible.
League Manager, John Wilkinson, presented a detailed report. There continue to be a worrying number of walkovers, and concern has been expressed that perhaps these should not be scored as 6-0. 4 points to the winning side was suggested. With reference to the handicap league doubles games (played to base 8), it was noted that p55 of the Laws book states that “A player whose handicap is lower than the base handicap may play a half bisque but may not play a bisque …”. Team captains should be aware of this somewhat surprising rule. Barry Keen will try to establish the thinking behind it. Thanks were recorded to John Wilkinson for all his work on managing the Leagues.
Pennine Cup, Captain Paul Rigge reported a very successful event at Heaton Park, which was won by the West of Pennines.
NWF Millennium Competitions (Neil Williams Trophy) – Geoff Young reported very successful events in 2004. The Advanced at Heaton Park was won by Ian Lines. Handicap trophy was won at Pendle by Mark Lloyd from Chester and the runner up trophy was won by Liz Wilson from Fylde.
Heaton Park Developments – David Barrett reported that Croquet at Heaton Park continues to flourish, thanks to the considerable efforts of Bury Club. The GB v USA Solomon Trophy was the highlight. Events in the pipeline for 2005 include – NW Federation Millennium Advanced Competition (2-3 April probably), Pennine Trophy (West of Pennines to be captained by Paul Rigge), Lancashire International Golf, Heaton Park Challeges (end of season), President’s Cup (8-11 September).
Reports from the clubs included: Bowdon – Considerable work was done over the winter on extending the flat lawn areas, including shifting about 250 tons of soil. The club won the NW Club Championship (including the Handicap and Advanced) and the NW Advanced League for the first time. Membership continues to be healthy with a full complement of 100 full playing members. Bury – 36 members. Bury won both the Handicap and the Golf League. Bury are to be congratulated that, even with just 36 members, they were able to run 7 teams in the leagues and were always able to raise a team for all fixtures. Chester – New lawns were ceremonially opened by Nigel Graves, the Secretary of the CA, at the beginning of May. Membership was up again, to 61 from 53 last year. In addition to our usual beginners’ course we ran a one day refresher course for high bisquers, and Barry Keen and James Hawkins respectively ran a course on the Laws of Croquet and a golf croquet training day. For the first time for several years we were able to send a team to the Southport Championships. We held a one day full lawn handicap match against the Shrewsbury Croquet Club who sent a team of six players who we managed to beat 9:3. Apart from normal club activities we ran ‘have a go’ golf croquet events at Erddig and at Llanbedr DC near Ruthin. We also provided golf croquet parties for a group of young ladies on a hen weekend, and for the volunteers of the Chester Branch of the Samaritans – this last raised £220 for the Samaritans. Now in talks with the Council about the possibility of building a pavilion by the new lawns. Crake Valley – Membership up to 37. Sad news of the death of Neil Pennington. Hosted the Cumbria Cup and the CA v SCA. Planning to have 2 Advanced Tournaments in 2005. Have obtained grants from CA and Awards for All (£4,000) for various works: mains water has been installed, the club house has been reclad and will be refurbished by the start of the 2005 season. Thanks recorded to John Beech for his advice and assistance. Culcheth – Now has a membership of 12 people. Thanks to Culcheth Sports Club for moving our lawn we have been able to play Croquet seven days a week. We came 4th in the league this year. Six of us entered a competition, at Heaton Park; the lawns were excellent, we came away with 1st and 2nd prize. Southport Croquet Festival was a great success; we came away in triumph with a trophy for the first time, let us hope its not the last. Southport also invited us up for the day, we had a wonderful time, the sun shone all day and we were made to feel very welcome and next year, we hope to be invited back. Several of our members went to the Bury Fun day and thoroughly enjoyed it and one of our members won a bottle of wine. Fylde – Have had a poor year in terms of lawn damage and vandals due to Council removing park rangers etc, but these have now been reinstated, along with CCTV, so things should improve. 20 people on the beginner’s course, of whom 17 joined. 12-14 new members are playing regularly – about 20 in all. Club is keen to play in handicap league next year although lawns not ideal (meeting considered that this was not an obstacle to playing in the league). Llanfairfechan – Club flourishing with gains in playing and social membership. Had an active and substantial involvement with junior players from the local primary school, local Brownies and Guides. We have experienced a growing number of organisations (Rotary, Lions, Round Table, 41 Club, various church groups etc) having croquet introduction courses and holding social events at the club. Been invited to give golf croquet tuition to WI groups in Machynlleth and Denbigh. Now employ a firm to do the heavy groundwork (scarifying etc). The extension work to the lawns has started and phase I (claiming the land by fencing it in) completed. Pendle – Moving to Earby. Work is 80% complete, but lawns may not be available in time for start of season (April weekend tournament may not be possible). Southport – Have had a good year. 91 members, with the increase largely due to more ‘fun’ croquet and social activity. Club is considering entering more teams in the NW leagues. Club was complimented by those playing in the Spencer Ell. Westmorland – There has been some improvement in the lawns.
Presentation of Trophies was made to Bowdon (Advanced), Bury Caesars (Handicap), Fylde (Short), Bury Souths (Golf).
Any Other Business – NW Federation fees remain at £20. Cheques to be sent to Geoff Young asap (Action Club Reps). Inter-Counties Captains for Lancashire and Cheshire confirmed as James Hawkins and Colin Irwin respectively. This matter to be put on the agenda for future AGMs. Thanks were recorded to Peter Wilson for auditing the accounts. Thanks were recorded to Tony Thomas for maintaining the www.croquetnw.co.uk website. Draft minutes of AGM will be issued within 4 days for comment to all club representatives and club secretaries who have provided e-mail addresses. Comments received by 1st December 2004 will be incorporated. Final issue to all Club Secretaries will be by snail mail, unless they have an e-mail address.
Next Meetings will be – Spring Meeting on Saturday 5 March 2005 and the AGM Saturday 5th November 2005, both meetings at 10.00 am at Culcheth.