A ‘who plays in which division’ debate dominated the annual general meeting of the League on Tuesday 31 January.
It was a night when rule changes to accommodate a new Code of Conduct to deal with bad behaviour were expected to be the big talking point at Wellington's Sir John Bayley Club.
But the changes, which include a disciplinary committee to be chaired by Newport’s Colin Rudrum, were passed within seconds after secretary Malcolm Fletcher had earlier said in his report: “There is nothing for bowlers to fear from the Code of Conduct.
“It’s very simple – behave properly at league matches and competitions and there will be no problems.”
So the main problem facing the League now is the exact make-up of its three top divisions on Friday nights after concerns about player shortages were expressed by both Hadley USC and Albrighton.
Hadley’s first team were relegated from the Shropshire Premier League and, under Mid Shropshire rules, have to be given a place in division one, leaving the club’s existing Friday side in the top flight in a quandary.
Will they still have enough players to field two teams on Fridays? And if they do, the League's registered 10 rules would make it virtually impossible to run two sides in one division. Hadley feel their B team being put in division three may lead to more bowler departures, but will member clubs agree to Hadley B being given a place in division two as they are requesting?
Albrighton have suffered a mass exodus of players from their A team in division one last season and have already withdrawn it. And, following a resulting club re-organisation, they now have fears for their B team in division three.
League rules state they would be "expected" to withdraw their lowest team, which would mean the current B team would effectively become Albrighton A in division one - which nearly all of their remaining bowlers, who are of a 'certain age', do not feel they are up to.
Officers and delegates agreed at the AGM to call an unplanned meeting on Tuesday, February 21 (at SJBC, 7.30pm), to try and clarify the situation.
But the key date is now the new deadline of the March executive meeting – this year on Tuesday, March 7 – for team withdrawals without punishment and also for new applications.
This new deadline was one of a clean sweep of rule changes approved on the night when clubs also agreed the start dates for the 2017 season.
Friday action will start on April 7, with the Good Friday fixtures brought forward to Wednesday, April 12, and the season finishing on September 29.
Teams in divisions 4-5-6 on Monday nights will open up on April 10 and finish on October 2 with only 2 matches in the first 4 weeks due to 2 bank holidays.
Dennis Lewis Thursday Division games will run from April 20 to September 14 while the Saturday programme will be dependent on the number of teams taking part and competition dates currently being worked on by organiser Phil King.
The AGM marked the end of 16 years of unstinting service by minute secretary John Kitchen, who received a special presentation following the meeting, having been succeeded in the role by Rob Burroughs.
Treasurer Celia Miles reported a profit of £453 on 2016 and she and other officers were re-elected, although the referees delegate role was left to be clarified at the new meeting later this month.
Moments after the presentation of a small token of thanks to John Kitchen, another ceremony was conducted by League chairman Sean Round to confirm life memberships on Barry Griffiths, Jeff Hutchinson and general secretary Malcolm Fletcher.
St Georges legend Griffiths was assistant secretary of the British association and is a life member of that body while former League secretary and president Hutchinson has served Mid Shropshire and county bowls for more than four decades, being Mid Shropshire's nomination for County President in 2005.
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