Minutes of the BSF Tennis Committee meeting held at 7pm on Friday 9th August 2019 at St Margaret’s Church Hall.

Present: Messrs. Broughton, Caswell, Maslivec, Prince, Smith, Taylor (in the chair), Ms L Cartwright, Mrs S Francis.

Apologies for absence: Pearson, Ms K Hosker & Ms L Perry.

Minutes of the last meeting: These had been circulated and were agreed.

Matters Arising: None

Correspondence: There were still some clubs not using Dunlop tennis balls and we had had some correspondence from one particular club telling us about the rather large stock of other balls they had in store.
The General Secretary said that we were in a way partly to blame because it had not been mentioned at the AGM or registration night. Also, although it was a rule in the handbook that we use Dunlop this would have largely passed clubs by as it was just a factual amendment due to the change in sponsor and did not go through the NOM or AGM.
We would have to ensure that we get it right next season if we continue with the same sponsorship and see that more publicity is given to the subject and it is announced at the AGM.

We had had an email complaining about the condition of the courts at David Lloyd Chorley. Although this had been forwarded to the Secretary of David Lloyd for comment by him or the court maintenance contractors, the Committee were surprised if not concerned that we had not had a reply. A Committee member had reported playing there and found them rather unsafe to be able to play at full stretch on them. Following that we had also asked in a newsletter if any other teams had any concerns, but we had not received any feedback. Our Vice-Chairman said that he had the intention of visiting the courts for an inspection. It was said that we should write again and hopefully receive a reply for the September meeting as we need reassurance that the maintenance is being fully utilised so that their future in the league can be assured.

We had had an email from Elliot Massey who plays in the junior and adult leagues. He suggested that the cup handicaps should be removed with weaker teams playing first and then being joined by the stronger teams later. (Read here)The Committee thanked Elliot for his interest but were not convinced that it would improve things. They felt that rather than increasing cup entry, it may well fall as weaker teams may not bother to enter and save the £10 entry fee. It was felt that the present system was the most appropriate. However, since all proposals for rule changes come from clubs, Elliot’s first step would be to convince his own club Committee of the merits of his proposal, so that they could submit a rule change proposal for the next Notice of Motion Meeting (NOM).

General Secretary: There was no need to discuss now but some rules had been questioned by League Working Committees as to their correct interpretation and application. These will be put on the agenda for September and October when the rules are usually considered.
It had been agreed by an online majority that Stephen Durking be allowed to change clubs and return to Bradshaw.

Match Secretary Reports:

Men’s: Holcombe Brook have had a point deducted from all lower teams for having two men short in the ‘A’ team.

Leigh B have only played five matches out of thirteen resulting in eight no-show matches incurring £160 in fines.
Since this type of thing can skew results it was discussed as to whether we ought to have a rule where a team is scrubbed from the league at, for example, say their third non-appearance with all results cancelled. This is to go on the rule proposal list.
Apologies had been made to two clubs who had been accused of having players in the Division 1 penultimate match who had not played four times. The Match Secretary had consulted Google Docs but on viewing the online match cards it was Google Docs which had been found to be incorrect.

Mixed: There have not been many problems although four or five teams have been unable to fulfil the fixture and had no way of doing so for the end of the season and so were defaulted. One single club team in Division 1 did not have enough men who had played four times. It had been agreed that they play much weaker players just to fulfil the fixture. They had already played one and lost. It was suggested that perhaps some allowance should be made for the odd occasion where Division 1 has an open date. Since they only have 12 matches instead of 14, perhaps three appearances would be sufficient. This will be another one for rule consideration.

Junior: Administratively things have gone smoothly. Most results have been submitted online promptly. Posted cards all received promptly. The biggest disappointment has been the number of unfilled fixtures because clubs have not been able to raise teams. I will put together exact numbers for the next meeting, but I would guess at about 10 unfilled out of about 80. In addition a few were lost to bad weather.
There are some concerns (but also some positive feedback) about the new format, with smaller team sizes. Kath Taylor has kindly offered to organise a meeting for all the junior clubs to discuss options going forward. This meeting is scheduled for the 19th August.
The league finished in early July, with Markland Hill winning a very tight Division 1. Hawkshaw A won the Howarth Cup, beating Lostock A in the final. Thanks to Holcombe Brook for hosting the final.
The Howarth Cup brings me to Elliot  Massey’s email. It was good to hear Elliot’s views on the cup competitions. I have felt that the juniors often don’t get the principle of the handicapped event and Elliot has expressed as much in his email. I have noticed before that the better teams are very unhappy if they lose matches because of the handicap. The junior event forms part of our review of the junior league. On the Cecil Cup side, I think most clubs enjoy that event, but I look forward to hearing what others think.

Afternoon: The last scheduled matches are to take place this week. There were less unfinished matches this year than usual.

Winter: The Winter League Secretary had sent out emails to all the teams ready for the next season.

Tournament: Last year there were 35 entries done online, 35 were from the handbook forms and 100 were done on the large entry form. This information had been provided to help answer the question of whether the small form in the handbook was really needed.
It was reported that there were 203 players taking part in events compared to 199 last year. There will be a Tournament review in early September.

Tournament Report from Alan Prince:
For the third time the BSF tournament was held at Lostock, Markland Hill and Meadow Hiil tennis clubs and went well. We were blessed with very good weather. We only had a little rain on one evening which didn’t threaten the program and so all the finals were held on the Saturday afternoon as per schedule.
Overall the entries were marginally higher than those last year. The main increases were in the men’s singles (up 13 entries), men’s doubles (up 5), handicap men’s doubles (up 4) and 50+ men’s handicap doubles (up 4). Those events where entries decreased were the U18 boys doubles (down 4) and the U18 girls doubles (down3). In the handicap events the number of close matches (6-4; 6-4 or closer) was 43 out of 111 i.e. 39% - a little lower than in recent years..
We were fortunate to have good weather on finals day with Markland Hill hosting the levels finals and Lostock hosting the handicap events.
In conclusion, our main thanks must go to Andy Taylor, the Tournament Referee once again, whose huge efforts ensured all finals were completed by the due date. Also our gratitude must also go to Liz Perry, the Tournament Secretary for all her hard work, both in the preparatory stages and throughout the tournament. Finally, our thanks must go to the three host clubs and their committees for allowing us to use their facilities and finally to our own Tournament Committee for regular meetings throughout the year to help make the tournament the success it is.

Presentation Evening: The DJ has been booked.
The was some concern expressed at the price of the tickets in cases were a family say consisting of two adults and two juniors were involved. Should there be a family ticket? If so on what basis? Should juniors be a different price? The General Secretary said that we had tried this some years ago but he preferred the one price for all as it was fully accountable. The problem has arisen as we have kept the prices low over recent years both by venue choice (Ellesmere Club) and making a loss from league funds (Holiday Inn). Now the price had been increased to what was felt to be a realistic level for a night out with food provided, it was a big jump. We would have to see the effects after the event. However, the comment was made that perhaps we should subsidise it out of league funds more.

AOB: It was noted that there had been less press coverage this year compared to previous years.

The Trophy Secretary said that Holcombe Brook and Chorley were to be commended for their efficiency in returning trophies. At the other extreme David Lloyd Abitare appeared to be the least efficient and they had actually lost the Afternoon League Trophy which they will need to replace.
The Trophy Secretary complained about the number of phone calls and texts he has to make in order to remind clubs to get them returned on time.
He suggested another one for the rules list, in that the date for return should be earlier, perhaps by the end of the Tournament week if the Tournament was around the same time next year and that it should be in the rules that they require cleaning before being returned.

Throughout the meeting it had been mentioned that the new online system was a great success and had made things a lot easier. Also the visibility of match card results helped to make things more accountable. The only drawback was results entry by each Match Secretary. Could this not be automated so that the results from the match cards went straight into the results list?

Date and time of Registration Evening: Friday September 13th at 7pm.