WILSON’S NORTHAMPTON LAWN TENNIS LEAGUE

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting November 2011

(held at County LTC on Monday November 14th, 2011)

COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT:  Barry Searle (BS) Chairman, Mark Beesley (MB) Secretary, Clive Geddes (CG) Treasurer, Brian Tunbridge (BT) Fixtures’ Secretary, Tim Graham (TG), Trish Harland (TH), Margaret Green (MG), Lisa Hodges (LH), .

CLUBS REPRESENTED: Abington, Brackley, Collingtree, Corby, County, Dallington, Duston United, Ferrers, Harpole, Heyford, Kettering, Kilsby, LMRCA, Northampton, Priors Marston, Roade, Rugby, Rushmere, Scaldwell, Towcestrians, Wollaston.

APOLOGIES:  Gill Smith (GS), Aub Draper (AD), Tony Redden.

CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS: BS welcomed everyone to the meeting and set a 9.30pm finish time which he hoped would focus minds.

MINUTES OF THE 2010 MEETING: These were proposed by Trish Harland (TH) and seconded by Dave Mundy (Northampton) and adopted as a true and correct record.

MATTERS ARISING: There were none which would not be picked up in other categories.

PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS: With AD tendering apologies, BS stepped into his shoes. He congratulated all league winners (summer, winter, veterans), especially County A although they had been denied a league ‘treble treble’ by Northampton who had won Mixed Division One. He commended a strong showing by Brackley ladies, winners of Division Two and runners-up in Division One. Also LMRCA ladies who had earned back-to-back promotions to reach Division One while Collingtree A had remained unbeaten in winning Men’s Division Four as well as narrowly missing out in a hotly contested Mellor Cup B final. BS thanked Ram Gallo for organising the Mellor Cup and Steven Shield competitions and also congratulated Northampton LTC on their revival of the Baron Boulos Cup which had been won by Josh Winters and Clement Mallet. The recent League Dinner/Dance had been a success, with 160 people attending the Marriott Hotel and over £600 had been raised for the James Kouzaris fund, in memory of the one-time Rushmere player who had been shot dead in the USA in April. A de-brief Dinner-Dance meeting had already been held with organisers Rosemary Swallow and Sharon Constable. BS also raised the dual ‘ringers’ issues on court, which labelled ‘unacceptable’ the use of mobile phones on court and the practice of bringing in ‘one-hit’ players for key matches, especially towards the end of a season. There was some discussion as to the possibility of ensuring Mellor Cup/Steven Shield players should play in an earlier round before the final. On a more positive note, BS commended the ongoing Young Player of the Year awards and the standards set by latest winners James Brawn and Kate Clayson.

SECRETARY’S REPORT: MB stated a case for maximum flexibility within league rules during a period when pressures on players’ time, and in particular captains, were more critical than ever before. The 7pm starts at many clubs had gone some way to achieving this, but MB said it was important that players who were keen to play league tennis were not hindered by the rules and disillusioned. MB also said there was increasing value on volunteers in local sport and committees, remarking that the committee door was always open to Northampton tennis supporters with something to offer.

TREASURER’S REPORT: CG said there was an income for the year of £7,332.50 with expenditure of £6,826.65 which produced a working excess of £505.85, although the League had not yet paid its deposit on next year’s Dinner/Dance. The Wilson sponsorship three year deal expired in December but CG had spoken to Andy Meddings of Wilson and a two year deal had been agreed from 1st January 2012 to 31st December 2013, again for £650.p.a.

MOTIONS FOR ALTERATIONS TO RULES: A vote was taken on the night to clarify the action taken under Rule 13 when a club fielded an ineligible player, either through design or by accident. BS said he had always taken the view it was best for a match to go ahead rather than cancel, simply because one player or more was not eligible, simply ensuring any sets won by the ineligible player were conceded. He felt to award penalty points against the ‘offending’ club went too far. An almost unanimous verdict supported this view on the vote. The other debate centred on Rule 11 (player eligibility). The movement within teams rule had changed for the last three years and was causing confusion for club captains and committee members alike. It was felt stability was needed and clubs were invited to debate options proposed by TG (Northampton) and Tim Walden (Abington), while Terry O’Reilly (Wollaston) spoke on behalf of the existing rule. Clubs would be given until November 30 to register votes to the League Secretary on-line. Two representatives at the AGM would be allowed two votes on the issue. Executive committee members, as long as they were at the AGM, could also vote. Results to be published by 5th December.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS:  MB said he had not been made aware of any existing committee members who wished to step down so the existing members of the Council were re-elected en bloc in a motion put forward by Malc Ward (Rushmere) and seconded by Bob Griffith (Rushmere).

PUBLICITY/WEB-SITE:  BS said the League had continued to enjoy excellent publicity in the Chronicle & Echo and the Kettering Evening Telegraph on a Wednesday evening thanks to MB, while BT’s performance as web master in running and updating the League web-site made him the closest thing to ‘indispensable’ he had experienced. There was debate over the future prospects of team captains logging results ‘on-line’. Graeme Baker of Rugby (also Warwickshire) and Maureen McAree (Towcestrians) spoke on the practice carried out in neighbouring leagues. BT and BS had met with an LTA representative who had gone through their recommended software package. It was pointed out clubs did not have to be LTA affiliated to take part. Further research was to be carried out, but BS stressed it would not be carried through if teams captains would be frightened away by the process.

AOB:  Bob Pooley (Kettering) asked about the League’s loyalty to using Wilson tennis balls. BS said clubs were not entirely duty bound and Wilson had never enforced the agreement of withdrawing their backing when the number sold fell short, but clubs were encouraged to follow this path. The meeting closed at 9.25pm.