THE WILSON'S NORTHAMPTON

LAWN TENNIS LEAGUE

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Monday, 14 November 2005 at County LTC, Weston Favell, Northampton.

Present -

President Aub Draper (AD)

Chairman Barry Searle (BS)

Hon. Secretary Mark Beesley (MB)

Hon.Treasurer Clive Geddes (CG)

Executive Committee - Tim Graham, Mark Bird, Brian Tunbridge, Trish Harland.

Representatives from the following clubs: Abington, County, Dallington, Duston United, Harpole, Heyford, Kettering, Kilsby, Northampton, Old Northamptonians, Rugby, Rushmere, Towcestrians, Wollaston.

Apologies: Brackley, Earls Barton.

The following clubs did not attend: Corby S&L, Ferrers & Rushden, King's Park, Roade, St Andrews, Scaldwell, West Haddon.

Chairman's Opening Remarks - BS said no rule change proposals had been received and also referred to guideline sheets on court etiquette and behaviour which were made available by Tim Graham. He also remarked on the change of venue of the recent League Dinner/Dance at the Freemason's Hall which he believed had been welcomed, stating it was nice to be made welcome for a change.

Minutes of 2004 AGM - These were made available to clubs and there were no matters arising.

President's Address - AD presented a universal call of thanks to the existing committee for all the quiet 'unseen' work behind the scenes in keeping the League operating smoothly. He regretted he had not been at the Dinner/Dance but had received encouraging reports on the new venue, which had far less in common with popular episodes of Fawlty Towers.

Secretary Report/ Correspondence/Team Entries Tennis Balls - MB said that in taking over as Hon. Secretary from Chris Barritt, his job had been made easier by the fact that Brian Tunbridge had inherited the fixtures position.

Correspondence had been slim, although contact had been made with Wilson's regarding the new sponsorship payment, which had belatedly been received, having mysteriously been sent to County LTC. MB also stressed the need for greater communication and suggested more be done to work in tandem with Northants LTA.

Team entries for 2006 were about on a par with 2005. There was an extra mixed team for United and an extra ladies team for Rushmere, as well as a first mixed entry from Kettering, while Duston United had withdrawn their ladies team. Mixed sides had been dropped by Abington, Rushmere and Wollaston.

A brief debate covered the decision to place Kettering's mixed team straight into Division One on the strength of the performances of their men's and ladies teams when asked to start in the bottom section in the last two years. Rugby queried this, as their own mixed team had not secured a 'fast track' despite strong Winter League results, and the fact they had acquired some strong ladies players from the Warwickshire League, but BS said that winter and summer performances could not be compared.

The new Tour Ball, put forward by Wilson's as the recommended product for 2006, had not yet been delivered to John Henry Sports in any bulk and BS said it was too great an act of faith for clubs to buy them in quantity without sampling first. The price was on a par with the Double Core ball, but he recommended that clubs adopted a 'sampling' policy.

Treasurer's Report - CG presented the accounts and said that although at first glance, it had not been a profitable year, this view was misleading. The sponsor money from Wilson's (£500) had arrived too late to be included, while there were two years Norman Prentice award payments on these accounts, as Heyford had lost their cheque, while the Young Player of the Year Award payment (£100) appeared for the first time.

Motions for alternations to rules - There were none. A brief debate, prompted by Towcestrians, discussed the 7pm start which had been adopted by some out of town clubs as well as Dallington. BS said he felt that clubs were becoming comfortable with this strategy and in many cases it made good sense.

Election of officers - An en bloc vote was proposed and seconded to elect the existing officers.

Publicity/Website - BS reported that the situation with the Chronicle & Echo had not improved in the last 12 months, and therefore it made sense for the League to move forward by developing the existing web-site for which a debt of thanks was due to Brian Tunbridge. He said there would be some 'tidying up' of the Rules on the web-site, as (for instance) references to the handbook were no longer relevant. Exciting opportunities lay ahead with the 75th anniversary of the League in 2007 while there were other significant advances, not least the development work carried at clubs such as Northampton and Towcestrians, who thanked Nether Heyford for their co-operation during their period of court re-surfacing.

The inaugural Barritt Young Player of the Year awards had gone to Tom Foster (ONs) and Pippa Fisher (Northampton) and BS urged more clubs to submit entries next year, adding quantity to the quality. He stressed it was not just about ability, but on court behaviour as well.

He also said he was looking forward to the challenge of Kettering in all three areas of the League next year as it was healthy to have more widespread competition. He again thanked the executive committee, in particular Sylvia Dean for her running of the Mixed League, Gill Smith for her work with the Winter League, Melva Duley and Rita Freeland with the Ladies Veterans and Andy Trott (Men's Winter League) and Roger Pinnock (Men's Veterans).

On the subject of the website, BT said he was exploring the possibility of creating an 'honours board', so the League's history did not become lost while there was also discussion of providing maps to pinpoint club locations.

Mark Bird had again run the cup competitions, the Stevens Shield as well as the Mellor Cup for men and women. Finals days had been a success, although Mark admitted his later start to this year, due to work commitments, had seen a reduction in entries. A plan was mooted to incorporate cup fixtures into the league programme, rather like the FA Cup.

AOB - BS said he planned to meet Northants LTA manager George Gardiner to try to promote a stronger bond between League and county association. He also spoke on the subject of further league amalgamations, stating he did not want to rock the boat where other these were being happily administered but he expressed concern that in some cases they were operating 'out on a limb'.

Finally, he thanked County LTC for use of their clubhouse and the bar staff, and closed the meeting at 9.37pm.

ENDS