Minutes for Sept 21st 2011

Minutes of meeting held at Preston Grasshoppers 21 Sept 2011

Members attending: Peter Rhodes (President), Fred. Swarbrick (Chairman),

Reg. Robinson (Secretary), John Powell (Treasurer), Howard Hughes,

Jon Daldry, Craig Hine, Tony Ayin, Ian Cousins, Greg. King, Andy Thompson.


Apologies for absence. None


Meeting opened 19.30 hrs.


Fred Swarbrick opened the meeting by expressing his delight in seeing the entire committee together for the first time in at least two seasons. He instructed that a photograph be taken and published on the web site to mark the occasion.



It was reported that agreement had now been reached with Preston Grasshoppers regarding the unsatisfactory function of the P.A. at the dinner. Any other matters would be dealt with later in the agenda of the present meeting.



John Powell reported a healthy balance in the leagues’ finances.

All fees and code of Conduct form had been received on time from the clubs. Allowances from The RFU are due in November but some sponsorship monies were still expected from Raging Bull and Sale Sharks. Tony Ayin will chase these.


Tony Ayin confirmed that sponsorship from University of Salford ends at the end of the current season and will not be renewed. He reported that he is in contact with a number of other organisations with a view to their participation but also he is considering further minor sponsors of each level in the leagues. He suggests that players who own businesses or are directors of businesses might be interested in getting involved in this way. The committee agreed that he should pursue this avenue further. He is also setting up a meeting with Adam Jude of Sale Sharks to settle outstanding matters and seek further co-operation.

Greg King thinks that there are a number of players who still do not know who to contact within the league structure to settle any problems or for advice. He suggests a simple fact sheet that could be prominently displayed at each club be produced and distributed. Fred Swarbrick agreed to produce such a sheet. Others thought that the leagues should keep in time with new technology and have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Tony Ayin will investigate this.

Ian Cousins asked if the web site could be modernised in spite of being only two years old. Scrolling pictures or short video clips were two suggestions. Reg. Robinson will speak to Jim Gooch about this and ascertain the cost of such alterations.



Members of the rules committee reported breach of Rule 13 had now been resolved with Heaton Moor2 being deducted 4 points for last season (resulting in their relegation instead of Winnington Park2 ) and a further deduction of 4 points for the 2011/2012 season. The charge of breaching rule 22 was withdrawn.

Further on the matter of team and club discipline it was note that there was much discussing on the forum about the deduction of 20 points issued to Blackpool as a club and only 8 points for Broughton Park4 for, ostensibly, a similar offence. It was explained that this was the second offence by Blackpool and furthermore it was pre-meditated, whereas in the case of Broughton Park it was spur of the moment and somewhat due to lack of communication. The committee was unanimous in supporting the decision of the rules committee.

The question was then asked as to whether or not we should produce a tariff so that teams who transgress should know the consequences of their actions. Peter Rhodes was helpful in this as he was able to explain how the County RFU discipline committees work with a High, Medium and Low rating to many charges with sanctions rated accordingly. The committee agreed to discuss this further at a future meeting.

Fred Swarbrick asked if we should introduce a charge when a club wishes to appeal against a ruling. This is common practice elsewhere and would help to cover the expenses of convening the appeals committee. It was hoped it would also serve to discourage clubs from making frivolous appeals. It was agreed that a charge of £50 would be levied in such cases and Rule 23c would be changed accordingly.

Some members felt that rule 14 should also be examined as it was not clear what would constitute a game when there was a lack of players from one side. It was agreed that for a game to have taken place there should be a minimum of 5 players from any given team. Then, assuming that the opposing side has 15 players and exchange of players could take place allowing a game of 10 a side to be played. In the event of the side supplying only 5 players winning only 2 points would be awarded for the win.



The main purpose of tonight’s meeting was for Fred. Reg. and John to report on a meeting that had been requested by Steve McCafferty of RFU North. The reason for the meeting was not made clear in advance but it turned out that it was to explore the possibility of NOWIRUL getting involved in helping grass roots rugby in Cumbria survive. It appears that due to the travelling problems in getting to clubs on the North West coast Rugby Union is struggling in those areas. It was not made clear whether or not NOWIRUL was being asked to take over some of the organisation for rugby in these areas, or whether they were being asked to release Cumbrian teams back into Cumbrian league run by the Cumbria RFU.

It was suggested that it was highly unlikely that the Cumbrian teams would wish to leave NOWIRUL as they are now getting regular, competitive fixtures on a weekly basis, which is what they were not getting previously and also that they earnestly desired. There was no discernable conclusion from this meeting and further meetings are planned.



At the above meeting the matter of scheduling first team fixtures was also discussed with the request that RFU North would assist in arranging fixtures in such a way that NOWIRUL could schedule first and second teams to travel away together for the more distant fixtures (where feasible). Steve McCafferty agreed to do what he can in this matter.


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Reg Robinson noted that that there had been a disappointing number of games conceded in the lower divisions this season. He wondered if the time had come to reduce the lower division or divisions to 12 teams and start their season 2 or 3 weeks later. This will allow holidays to be cleared and students to return to fill lower teams of clubs. This will be discussed further at the next meeting for possible implementation for the 2012/2013 season.

Meeting closed 21.45.