Minutes for Meeting held on 21st February 2016




Minutes of meeting held at Bolton on Sunday 21st February 2016


Those attending:-  Peter Rhodes (President & Cheshire Rep.)  Fred Swarbrick,  Reg Robinson,  John Powell, Andy Thompson, Greg. King, Paul Whiston, Sara Shackleton, Tommy Hughes (Lancs Rep.),  Jon Daldry & Craig Hine.

Apologies received:    Ian Cosens


                        Meeting opened 17.15


Fred Swarbrick opened the meeting by welcoming our new secretary, Paul Whiston , to his first full committee meeting  and  informing the committee of good work already done regarding correspondence in certain matters.


MATTERS ARISING                 None



Greg King presented the committee with up to date accounts showing a healthy balance with no outstanding debts. A small amount of sponsorship monies is still to be received but end of season expenses ( finals, dinner etc.) are only expected to reduce our funds marginally.

Fred mentioned that Referee expenses can sometimes be a little on the high side for some clubs and should we follow the RFU practice of refunding clubs who are asked to pay in excess of £35. It was agreed to look into mileages covered by referees and refund the cost over a certain distance at 45p per mile, Should any club choose to claim.



Sadly Batemen BMW are no longer able to sponsor our Premier league as the company ha been sold and the new owners are unwilling to continue the arrangement. Fortunately Cotton Traders have agreed to take their place and we are very happy to welcome them aboard.

 CUP FINALS                          

Seven clubs have submitted a bid to host our Cup Finals this year, five of whom have hosted before. Whereas these applications were very welcome the league policy is to spread big events around as much as possible. All clubs have been visited and found to have excellent facilities in place. It was agreed that this years hosts would be Rochdale RUFC and Rossendale RUFC. Which finals will be played at each venue will be decided when finalists are known.

Paul will write to all applicants, thanking them for their interest and informing them of the decision


This seasons Presentation Dinner will be held at Bowdon RFC on Friday May 13th 2016 at 1930 hrs. Final arrangements will be made with the club in due course but as the club has hosted this event in the past, no problems are envisaged. 


John Powell reported that, due to a very wet winter there has been a record number of postponed games (320) this season and so far John has made over 500 changes to fixtures to get as many games played as possible. At least 37 games are outstanding and will be very difficult to fit into the season.  All league secs are asked to contact the teams involved and ask if they would be willing to play over Easter (Friday, Saturday or Monday) or on a Wednesday evening late in April when there are longer light evenings.

Another solution mentioned is to appoint a “Pools Panel” to determine likely results, or possibly, as Peter Rhodes suggested, use a formula as used by the RFU in the season of the Foot and Mouth epidemic when travel was restricted. This will be looked into. If the Pools Panel approach is accepted there is the question of who should sit on it.  Should it fall to committee members or should other persons with a good knowledge of grass roots rugby be approached.

No decision made as yet. It was acknowledged that the problem might be eased slightly is cup semi finals were played mid week, depending on the teams involved.


Dr.Sara Shackleton produced the results of her research into the RFU recommendations regarding head injuries and possible concussion as a result. It is well known the the RFU are now taking this matter very seriously but it was disappointing that the information was a little difficult to find on the web site. As the majority of our game do not have a physio or other medically trained person present all officers of our clubs should find the information at .

Sara also advised that all clubs should have a defibrillator available and persons trained to it.


Fred and others had been contacted by the North West R.D.O.s who raised certain questions about our leagues.


1.  That first teams in our leagues should be allowed in the Premiership or Division One . We were surprised that they did not want them in the RFU leagues but our normal policy is to advise 1st. team that they are probably ready for the lower RFU leagues when they reach the top of Division 3. The exception  is Christleton who have asked to remain in our leagues and will be allowed into Division 1 if they win Division2 South as seems likely.


2.  To create a Division 6, possibly split North and South, and possibly run as a merit table, or similar. This to accommodate teams who have been excluded from the leagues because of too many concedes or other reasons. We do have a pool system on the web site which is under used but failing that who would run this new league?We feel that to run this league would be a lot of work on a weekly basis and it is thought that the R.D.O.s  would not take on this task. Furthermore it would clearly conflict with our well established rules and is therefore unlikely to find a home with us.


3.  Leagues 4 and 5 to become 12 team leagues and possibly League 3.  We feel that 14 team leagues work well for us and as the lower leagues tend to have the most teams excluded on the concede rule things should remain unchanged.


4.  Double headers for league and cup games. This has been considered and always rejected as somewhat unfair. It may be considered again if circumstances warrant it.


5.  Cup semi finals to be mid week, under lights if necessary, and if a suitable venue is available. This is a possibility.


6.  Remove double concede rule for April. This is agreed to for this season only.


7.  More replacements allowed in Premiership and Leagues 1 & 2. Most of our teams have first teams in RFU leagues where only 3 replacements are allowed therefore we are in line with them. Furthermore more people sitting on benches means fewer players for lower teams which defeats the object of our principles which is to get as much rugby played as possible.



Fred raised the subject of an Eccles player who has received a serious injury and is likely to lose the sight of one eye. I was agreed that this was a suitable case for the Benevolent Fund and a grant of £500 will be made to the player.

Meeting closed   19.15hrs.