THE WILSON NORTHAMPTON LAWN TENNIS LEAGUE

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at County LTC on November 13th 2006

Executive Committee members present: Barry Searle (BS) chairman, Mark Beesley (MB) Secretary, Clive Geddes (CG) (Treasurer), Tim Graham (TG), Trish Harland (TH), Brian Tunbridge (BT).
Clubs represented: Abington, County, Dallington, Harpole, Kettering, Kilsby, Northampton, ONs, Rugby, Rushmere, Wollaston.
Apologies: Aub Draper (President), Malcolm Ward (Rushmere).

CHAIRMAN'S OPENING REMARKS: BS welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked those present to verify the 2005 minutes as a true and correct record. There were no matters arising.
He welcomed the new chairman of Northants LTA Gina Jackson to the meeting and said her presence was another sign of stronger links between the League and the County body. He felt her appointment was a step forward. He also said he had been asked to become President of Northants LTA which he deemed a great honour and had accepted, while not seeking out many fresh onerous tasks on top of his present commitments.

PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS: in the absence of Aub Draper, BS congratulated the winners of all the divisions and commiserated with those relegated. He said that from anybody's standpoint, the highlight was undoubtedly the success of Abington in winning Ladies Division One... 'a great achievement for a small club'. He added that while there had been competitive tennis at all levels, this division topped the lot with Abington beating County A with Kettering a further point back in third. He said that in the men's league, Kettering had become the 'Chelsea' of local tennis and it was up to other clubs to match them. BS then said Northampton LTC's new facilities were excellent and anyone who had not paid a visit to Westwood Way would be sure of a warm welcome. His two wishes for the future were that more young players would take up league tennis (although there were some promising green shoots) and that mobile phones would become less frequent invaders of court space.

SECRETARY'S REPORT: MB said he was probably preaching to the converted but asked clubs to lend more support to new captains when they took on such a responsibility. He cited an example of a club who had suffered a relegation largely due to a team captain not initially being in full grasp of the rules. MB also said he had joined the Northants LTA committee since the last AGM (AD is also still a member) and this was helping provide greater liaison. A discussion about tennis balls and the Wilson sponsorship then took off during which BS reminded those present that unless sufficient number of clubs supported the Wilson Tour and US Open balls through local retailers John Henry Sports, there was a danger the sponsorship might disappear.

TREASURER'S REPORT: CG said that income had exceeded expenditure by £794.26 but that was due to the sponsorship money of £500 from the previous year being late and included in the latest set of figures. The balance sheet also showed expenditure to clubs for entering the Stevens Shield. Organiser Mark Bird explained the initial sponsorshop from Vitabiotics had not been as much as expected. CG added he had discovered something in the small print of the Wilson sponsorship deal which said the figure should have risen by an extra £50 each year. This had not so far been claimed and the League was currently £150 'short' as a result. A proposal to accept the account was agreed by Dave Mundy and seconded by Gina Jackson.

MOTIONS FOR ALTERATIONS TO RULES: A proposal put forward by the executive committee to strengthen Rule 8 was passed unanimously. Now, in the event of two teams finishing level on points and matches won, matches drawn and 'head-to-head' results shall be the next decider before games ratio.

The meeting also voted on an 'operational' change so that in the event of a club's (for example) D team being promoted to a higher division than their C team, the club shall decide whether the team lettering is reversed for the next season.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS: The existing officers were voted en bloc to continue. A vacancy had arisen on the executive committee due to the resignation of Mark Bird. The League was keen to have a representative from Kettering in the light of the growth in strength from the east of the county. Beth Freeman's name had been put forward and she had accepted the offer.

PUBLICITY/WEBSITE: BS said that coverage in the Chronicle & Echo had improved markedly in 2006 since Steve Walsh had become the new correspondent while there was strong praise originating from Kilsby for the quality of the League web-site and the stirring efforts of BT.

It was generally agreed communication was at the heart of most problems with league tennis and in the event of a team pulling out, it was recognised as 'not enough' simply to expect that team to ring round future opponents or putting it on the website which not everyone sees.

AOB: In the light of Mark Bird's resignation from the executive committee, BS said someone had been lined up to take over the running of the Cup competitions for 2007. There was plenty of discontent expressed over the current running and accountability of the Men's Winter League organiser but BS added he was as close to certain as he could be that the same individual would not be in charge next winter and he would be seeking a replacement.

This was agreed as a difficult area for the executive committee to address as it has never automatically fallen under its jurisdiction (similarly the veteran leagues) but the clear message from the clubs was that they wanted accountability and this is clearly not happening at present.

TG spoke briefly about his plan to set up a new 'Singles Ladder' which would be available for both men and women (boys and girls) and he is to draft up a structure as to how it would work and contact the clubs.

*** The meeting closed at 9.40pm.