League News 2018‎ > ‎

Round-up From The AGM

posted Jan 31, 2019, 12:25 PM by Malcolm Fletcher   [ updated Feb 3, 2019, 8:35 AM by stephen wall ]
General Secretary's Report - see below

Treasurer reported deficit of £247 on year due mainly to losses on competitions due to falling entries - and auditor advised League to consider increasing match fees at March executive, something officers are anxious to do.

Fixture secretary happy that Hadley USC are to enter a B team on Fridays; Sir Jon Bayley want to return to the Dennis Lewis Thursday Division; Newport hope to have another team on Mondays while Maddocks plan to re-launch their Monday team.

But there are renewed calls - and increasing support - to make Monday's three divisions all 10-a-side . . .

Rule change proposals to help clubs with two teams in one division, and fine teams that enter the Harris Cup and Ashton Trophies but then withdraw, were approved - but Albrighton's bid to clamp down on doubling up was rejected.

Honoraria changes approved and with 2.4 per cent increase across the board in line with the CPI in September

All officers re-elected en bloc with Martin Gaut succeeding Ian Gaut as a county delegate.

Ladies and gentlemen,

You’ll be glad to hear that tonight, with a new-look agenda full of reports from my fellow officers, you won’t have to listen to me for as long as in the past!

But I can’t let 2018 go without reflecting on some of the many achievements we as a League can be proud of - starting with the record-breaking presentation dinner a couple of weeks ago.

It’s grown into a monster and with more than 200 people attending it is inevitable there will be the odd niggle. But I can assure you that Marg and I will keep working on your behalf to make it as good a function as we can – and we already have some new ideas to improve it in 2019!

Sport England’s acceptance of the way the £7,000 coaching grant money was spent in December was a big relief. This money gave our coaches, led by tireless County Development Officer Pauline Wilson, the tools to put on sessions for more than 700 people in Shropshire last year. Now our clubs have no excuse not to try and attract new members by organising taster and coaching sessions. It just takes commitment – and a desire to see your club refuse to accept the trend of falling numbers, leading as it always does to withdrawal of teams from our League.

Late team withdrawals were a frustration last season and the future of the Saturday Division is now a real concern that we will address at the February management committee meeting in a week’s time. Other than that, 2018 was a stress-free playing season as we managed to cope with the hot weather and football World Cup without a single meeting of the Disciplinary Committee!

Highley’s fine double en route to the Premier League has already been saluted by our President and I too wish them well. But from a Mid Shropshire point of view, we had three cracking cup finals – two on one night in another history-making move – and terrific turnouts of bowlers at all 3 Shropshire inter-league championships.

The veterans, under new captain Peter Roden, won the Derek Wright Shield for the fifth time in seven years; one of our two teams in the senior inter-league did brilliantly to reach the semi-finals; and, thanks mainly to the efforts of Brenda Slingo, we had three teams in the junior event and only just missed out on another piece of under-18 silverware.

As to 2019, meetings of the Future Ideas Sub Group have continued to be fruitful and, later on the agenda, you will see some of the proposals they have come forward with, including a move to try and help clubs facing the daunting prospect of having two teams in one division.

Rewarding stalwarts of our game with Life Memberships has also proved a popular move and two more will join the ranks after this annual meeting.

So what else does the future hold for the League? We have taken so many strides forward in recent years it’s hard to imagine where we go from here.

But we stand still at our peril, so rest assured your officers and the Sub Group will continue to try and come up with new ideas and suggestions to keep Mid Shropshire bowls moving forward and increase the number of bowlers playing in our League.

Plans for results system tweaks, match fees, competition entry fees (with entries hopefully on line), and prize money are already in the pipeline and, even though we ran at a loss last year, the League will continue to offer loans to member clubs.

Our link to main sponsors Molson Coors remains as strong as ever – and this year we have a new rep in Chris Summers to work with – and we have already opened talks with our counterparts from the Tanners Shropshire League on the other side of the river to discuss matters of mutual interest and benefit.

Our website has now had well over 700,000 visits and social media continues to be an integral part of what we do, especially during the actual playing season.

But the one thing I would really like to see worked on and put in place is a succession plan as officers give notice that they will be standing down.

Thankfully your chairman Sean Round, having endured a difficult year personally, had a change of heart and will be carrying on tonight – but only for one more year. So at the 2020 AGM we will need to elect a new chairman, plus an auditor to succeed David Winwood.

And in 2021 I will have done 10 years as general secretary and, as I’m sure you will be heartily sick of me by then, it will be time for me to stand down too. There will be no change of heart from me as I firmly believe you can stay in a job too long and outstay your welcome.

I have already sounded out one potential successor, without any joy, but member clubs and their bowlers must not think that current officers will simply carry on if nobody puts themselves forward for election to take up the baton.

What’s the current saying . . . Leave Means Leave! So let’s ALL work on it, not leave it until the League faces a manpower crisis at a future AGM, and get a succession plan in place.

This has been such a rewarding job that I can’t believe there is nobody out there that would not like a crack at it – and the pay’s not bad either!

Having said all that, the Mid Shropshire League will always be close to my heart and I sincerely hope I get invited to the party to celebrate the League’s 90th birthday in 2022.

Thank you.