"I am a Norfolk man and Glory in being so." Horatio Nelson


Turmoil at ESMBA AGM

The ESMBA AGM was held on 7th July 2018 at Tamworth Indoor Bowls Club. The Chairman, Barry Hedges, declared the meeting open and welcomed everybody. The Chairman requested a minute silence to remember Barbara Mills, ESMBA Treasurer. He informed the meeting that there were 40 County Association votes and 10 Committee votes making a total of 50.

The minutes of the previous AGM were accepted after an amendment was agreed. It was not shown in the minutes that it was agreed that Greater Manchester had voting rights. The issue of access to information was raised in matters arising with a consensus that minutes should be available a lot quicker than they are currently and it would appear that the drop box system is not working for all Associations. There was also some concern over the current ESMBA website and the ability to find information.

Officer’s reports were presented. Norfolk were unhappy with the  Chairman’s report airing their dirty linen in public and felt this should have been dealt with in Committee – the role of Administration Officer and the fulfilment of the duties. The Chairman took this onboard.

It was agreed by the meeting that, given the circumstances, an EGM would be called to adopt the Accounts as the normal supporting report was not available. It was agreed that this would be held on 2nd September at 9.30am before the start of the President’s Day games.

The Competition Secretary referred to the weather problems that delayed the ICC finals and said this was unfortunate. To combat this in future it was suggested that the Final be played at the same time from 2019/20. This would free up more dates and make the scheduling a lot easier. To be discussed further in the forum.

The Umpires Director was congratulated on his first years work and the meeting looked forward to further improvements.

Progress is being made on the coaching front with 26 registered coaches. Work is ongoing to improve access to coaches and the coaching qualifications.

The Development Officer had been working hard to promote short mat bowls and had produced a glossy leaflet for distribution. However there were some concerns around the accuracy of some of the content. The meeting felt more time should have gone into its production. The leaflet had only been agreed by the Committee in draft form. The Development Officer said his next job was to create a member’s handbook however the meeting felt that his time would be more productive looking at ways to increase membership.

Again the meeting felt that the issues and concerns around the performance of the Administration Officer should have been dealt with in house. It didn’t represent the ESMBA Committee in a good way. It would appear there were problems on both sides and neither were prepared to find common ground.

Membership report again shows a decline in numbers. A query was raised with regard how could you have a registered club with no members. It was explained that as you can only register with the County and ESMBA players actually play for different clubs in different leagues, Norfolk being an example. Further discussion in the forum.

Apart from the Treasurer’s report all reports were adopted – 48 for and 2 abstentions.

The ESMBA Management Committee presented some Constitutional changes to support a proposed restructuring of the committee and its roles. Norfolk had communicated to the ESMBA twice explaining that in their opinion the changes were not in line with the constitution as the proposal itself did not cover all the affected paragraphs. No response had been received prior to the AGM. Again this was raised on the day and after a much heated debate the meeting decided that the proposals were legal and could be voted on. The proposals were accepted – 42 for, 7 against including Norfolk, and 1 abstention.

Norfolk also raised the issue of the word “club” suddenly appearing in the Fees and subscriptions section and said if it remained it could open the doors for the ESMBA to charge a subscription for clubs. It was agreed to include this on the EGM Agenda.

The Management fees were agreed as presented to the AGM – 40 for and 10 abstentions (committee members). The Administration Officer management fee was to be agreed on the day by those attending. A fee of £250 was accepted – 45 for and 5 abstentions.

It was agreed to support the ESMBA Management Committee recommendation that the subscriptions remain the same – all in favour.

Election of Officers was another contentious point. It was unclear whether the committee nominations had been received by the Administration Officer in writing by the due date. The Administration Officer stated he had only received 3 valid nominations and therefore all other positions should be elected from the floor. However the Chairman assured the meeting that all other nominations were valid as they had followed the usual practice. It would appear there is clarity needed in the constitution into what is acceptable under the term “in writing”. After much discussion it was agreed that all nominations would be voted on 46 for, 2 against and 2 abstentions. This again showed the ESMBA Management Committee in a bad way as it again appeared to ignore the Constitution and go against.

After a vote the following officers were elected;

President – George Clarke

Chairman – Barry Hedges

General Secretary – Rachel Cordy

Treasurer – Simon Willies on an interim basis

Competition Organiser – Brandon Whittaker

Coaching Director – Brian Baker

Umpires Director – Joseph Newsome

Development Officer – Malcolm Sheen

ICC Secretary – James Scoins

Registrations Secretary – Roger Green

Committee Member – Nicky Tresadern

Committee Member – Steve Bailey

The appointment of Auditors was deferred until a permanent Treasurer was in post.

The date for next year’s AGM was agreed 6th July 2019 with the venue to be decided.

Forum Discussion


It was agreed that as long as a club is recognised by their County Association it would be eligible to access the ESMBA Insurance scheme however for the personal insurance element then an individual must be a fully paid up registered player with the ESMBA. The policy register needs to be amended to reflect this interpretation.

The requirements of the new data protection regulations – GDPR were discussed. There seems to be some confusion about what clubs and counties need to do to meet the GDPR. The ESMBA should issue a statement to let clubs and counties know what needs to be done.

It has been suggested that the date of the ICC finals be moved back to the end of April from 2019/20 to enable more time to schedule commitments and allow for unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather that delayed this year’s final. It also helps to establish short mat as a 12 month sport and not something to be seen as a stop gap before the summer’s bowling starts. At the end of the day players will have to make choices.

The ESMBA Management Committee agreed to circulate the new rule relating to ICC player registrations as there had been some confusion during this year.

The Information Pack needs to be updated on the website. Access to be temporarily suspended to allow for the implications of the GDPR to be assessed.

There were some concerns over the reduction of Under 18s to 16 places for the National finals. However it was explained that the number of entries across the country was down to 33 and the ESMBA struggled to fill 16 places. We need to understand why some counties are more successful in attracting and keeping Under 18s compared to others.

Report back from ESMBA AGM provided by Norfolk Vice Chairman Simon Willies

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