NWFCC AGM at Culcheth, Sat 17 November 2018 – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY by Tony Thomas
Chairman Paul Rigge welcomed about 40 people to the AGM and thanked everyone who had contributed to another successful season for the Federation. In his report he welcomed two new clubs to the Federation – Stonyhurst College and Criccieth. Despite a glorious summer for Croquet, we need to encourage more players to enter the Federation Millenium Tournaments. Secretary, David Walters, announced a workshop at Bury, about Club Development to be led by National Development Officer, Dave Gunn. The Treasurer, Liz Wilson, produced a healthy financial statement and recommended no change to Club Subscriptions.
CA Representative, John Dawson, was congratulated on becoming CA Vice Chair of Council, before describing how CA Council was being reduced in numbers and be able to deal more effectively with policy issues, e.g. the issue of Primary and Secondary club membership is now being re-examined. The CA had a good input into the BBC programme ‘Countryfile Live’ at Blenheim and planning for similar success at Castle Howard in 2019. It is hoped to get Croquet recognised as a Demonstration Sport for the 2020 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
League Manager, Ivan Wheatley, described another successful league programme of 154 matches where in one of the Leagues, the title was won in the last game of the season and by the closest of margins (one net game on the whole seasons results). The wet Spring weather caused many postponements then the hot dry Summer produced interesting challenges on difficult lawns. A Working Party has been reviewing the Level Play AC Leagues since the A league is no longer competitive and the B League needs to attract more players. It is proposed to allow combined club teams in 2019 with a minimum individual handicap of 1 but the minimum aggregate team handicap be 6. The highest handicap player should play in the Doubles game which generated some discussion, especially whether to allow alternate strokes doubles format. The Working Party will finalise their recommendations in early 2019. A Proposal from Southport was carried unanimously making the use of Corner Pegs compulsory in all AC league games in future.
During 2018, there was one Coaching Pod at Bury concentrating on Super Advanced, the Flying Circus delivered very popular Golf coaching at Crake and regular coaching surgeries were held at Pendle and Fylde. James Hawkins highlighted the need to develop more flexible coaching schemes to adapt to modern employment patterns.
Federation Handicapper, Don Williamson, described some research currently taking place in York, focussing on incorporating Short Handicaps into the automatic handicapping system, so that players would only need one card in future. This news was greeted with some scepticism, however, we await further developments. Don will also lead a club workshop in Spring to discuss the implications of the changes to the Golf Croquet rules.
Webmaster Tony Thomas described how the website has received over 50,000 hits in the last twelve months, the most popular pages being the Homepage, the League pages, the Who’s Who and surprisingly, the Honours Board. Fresh news items usually attract over 60 hits within a few days. To comply with the new General Data Protection Regulations, we need evidential agreements from members in order to display their name and contact details. This will be done by the webmaster for Federation officials and clubs will be asked to do a similar operation for Secretaries, Chairs and Team Captains.
Most clubs gave brief reports of their successes and developments, the common theme being damaged lawns either through excessive rain in Spring or extreme heat in Summer. Bowdon reached the finals of the national Inter Club competition and have developed a successful Alternate Doubles evening. Bury have installed new drainage system at Whitehead and have a new coach in Chris Alvey. David Guyton from Chester has been awarded a CA Diploma. Crake have made significant improvements to their lawns and are hopeful of Grants to improve their clubhouse. Criccieth have installed a new canopy on their clubhouse and Culcheth continue to attract about 40 people for their indoor mat sessions. Flixton are still developing their presence and have grown to 35 members. Fylde hosted the All England Area Final and have offered their venue for 2019. The lawns at Liverpool have been unplayable all season and have had very expensive repairs to their mower. Llanfairfechan continue their very active schools programme and their clubhouse attracts many visiting groups. Pendle lawns are now much improved after serious damage but membership is now only 20. Salford are now using Banners to attract new members. Southport hosted the prestigious Chairmans Salver and have just completed an ‘Air to Ground’ lawn treatment where compressed air has been pumped twelve inches below the surface. Stonyhurst have now produced their first Mallett and are investigating the use of hoops for their Astroturf facility. Tattenhall have installed a new storage shed and fencing. Westmorland have had their most successful season winning the Festival and then two league titles.
A Motion from Southport proposing the removal of voting rights for Federation Officers on Motions presented by clubs was overwhelmingly defeated.
Sarah Andrew was elected Development Officer and Ivan Wheatley the Festival Manager, all other existing officers were re-elected. Paul Rigge presented James Hawkins with a CA Diploma for his services to Croquet. The 2018 League trophies were presented to: Francois Garcia (Bowdon – Adv); David Snaith (Westmorland – Golf); Alan Clare (Chester Centurions – Level Play Golf); Derek Lunt (Southport – Midweek Handicap); Mike Hodgson (Westmorland – Short); David Boyd (Chester – Weekend Handicap).
The AGM closed at 12:30. The Spring Meeting will take place on 2ndMarch 2019 at Culcheth.
This summary is a personal view from Tony Thomas and may not necessarily represent the official view of the Federation.