Hadley USC’s proposal to introduce an extra point for teams winning away from home in divisions 1 to 6 was passed by a 16-6 vote – so they will get 4 points in 2024. But Charlton’s amendment for divisions 4 to 6 failed 10-13.
The League’s bid to introduce 11-a-side fixtures in division 1 this year was also defeated 7-9.
But their 3 management rule proposals were all approved, introducing a new 48 hours deadline before the March executive meeting for clubs to notify the fixture secretary of new teams or withdrawals.
And the complete overhaul of the Competition Rules was passed – meaning a new Harris Shield team knockout in 2024 for non-Premier sides that lose in the prelim or first round – plus the updating of the League rules en bloc.
There was a loss of only £183 on 2023 despite standardising all match fees to 50p, cutting or doing away with other club fees and increasing prize money paid out by more than £1,000.
With so many new teams having already applied to join the League for the coming season – including another on the night of the AGM – fixture secretary John Palmer’s report to the meeting will be carried on the site shortly.
Worfield were the only club not represented, all officers were re-elected en bloc and they now look forward to nominating Brenda Slingo to represent the MSBL as County President in 2024.
GENERAL SECRETARY’S REPORT TO THE 2024 MSBL AGM
Ladies and gentlemen,
I know this meeting is a time for reflection on last year, but I can’t remember looking forward to a new season as much as I am now.
A really good presentation night on Saturday gave your officers a big lift – and now the aim is to keep trying to improve on delivering a competitive and well organised league for Mid Shropshire bowlers and their member clubs.
Lots of interest from potential new teams is also a welcome boost – and hopefully they will be faced with a completely revamped rule book after tonight, aimed at making it simpler to take part .
Looking back from a personal point of view, the start of the season was overshadowed by the sad loss of League legend Jeff Hutchinson. I still think about him most days and just wished I had told how much he had helped me with my crown green career in its many different aspects.
A top administrator, Jeff approved of the streamlined management, with fewer meetings, that we introduced last year. I did feel it necessary to call an extra meeting in September but, in the interim, I hope the Newsletters we produced kept everyone up to date.
Another move was to standardise all match fees at 50p and to try and help clubs recover properly from Covid by cutting or temporarily doing away with some fees. We still managed to increase the prize money paid out at the presentation by £1,000 and welcomed another sponsor in June Lewis.
On the playing front, I have to congratulate Newport and former Ercall Magna man John Breeze on a fantastic 2023 campaign; Castlefields for marking their first season with us by winning the Dennis Lewis Thursday Division; and pay tribute to a resurgent Donnington Wood for landing three pieces of silverware.
It was a great year too for Trench as they celebrated their centenary and won the Best Kept Green in Shropshire award – and the League was proud too when it inducted three more new Life Members in Geoff Clarke, Celia Miles and Mike Potter.
What I took a lot of pleasure from was Mid Shropshire winning back the Shropshire veterans inter-league championship in Shrewsbury, with first time captain Ian Evans doing a splendid job. I just wish I had been there to see it, but by that time family circumstances dictated otherwise . . .
There were disappointments on the bowling front too. The late cancellation of the junior inter-league that we were due to host was infuriating; a couple of behaviour and safety issues needed to be addressed; and the flat green at Hartshill Park in Oakengates being lost to the sport was a bit of a blow. The men losing to the ladies in the annual Dave Ellis challenge match at Trench was tough for me to take too – but the rumours that the beaten captain is going to resign are nonsense. He may get sacked though!!
More seriously, I still have concerns about a couple issues on the county front and must admit to being very disappointed with the way League chairman Sean Round was dealt with after resigning as chair of the SCGBA finance committee.
But let’s not dwell on that – let’s look forward as that’s the only way to keep trying to improve things.
The year has already started well with Mabel Finnigan’s recognition in the King’s Honours list with a BEM for services to bowls and I think there are exciting times ahead.
There’s the new complex at Allscott Heath to welcome aboard, plenty of new teams poised to compete, Brenda Slingo’s rise to County President next month as our nomination and, fingers crossed, a new team competition and the re-launch of the Saturday Division.
My vow is that your officers won’t get complacent on the job. In fact, with the utmost regard for those who have gone before, I have to say that this is the best top table I have worked with in my 13 years in this role.
Now let’s all of us work together to make 2024 another memorable season that we can reflect on in12 months time with the kind of huge sense of pride that I have tonight.
Thank you. Malcolm Fletcher