Apologies for Absence: Andy Thompson, Peter Rhodes, Reg. Robinson
Meeting opened 19.30 hrs.
Fred Swarbrick opened the meeting explaining that apologies had been received from Reg. Robinson and that this was the first meeting that Reg. had missed since the committee was formed. This was due to illness within the Robinson family. The committee wished to send it’s best wishes to the Robinson family and particularly to Jane Robinson for a speedy return to good health.
There were no other matters arising.
John Powell reported a healthy balance in the accounts with still some monies due from Twickenham. Soon there will be the expense of the dinner to be accounted for plus cost of trophies and committee expenses. Tony Ayin volunteered that he had a good contact who might be able to attend to the trophies at an economic rate and provide mementos for the finals day. This will be looked into.
John Powell was confident that when all monies had been accounted for at the end of the season the accounts would be in good order.
It was confirmed that the dinner this year will be held at Bowdon RUFC in their Clay Lane, Timperley headquarters on May 11th 2012. Final capacity is yet to be determined but it is expected to be around 290. There will be a “beer only” temporary bar on the patio outside to ease pressure on the main bar. Cost to players will remain at £10 per head with the committee subsidising the remainder. Costs and menu had been agreed with the caterer and the club. A good working PA was guaranteed. A provisional guest list was discussed and could possibly total 40 people but Fred Swarbrick felt this was too many and will make a number of phone calls to ascertain who will and will not be attending and to try and keep the guest list to as near 30 as possible. John Powell will liaise with guests wishing to stay over and organise hotel accommodation. Ian Cosens will organise a game of “heads or tails” at a fee of £5 per head with all proceeds going directly to the benevolent fund.
Finals day will be held at Stockport RUFC as previously announced. Raging Bull will provide shirts and all other gear required as in previous years. Referees were organised as well as touch judges. All trophies had been collected and the programme was in hand. There will be a bucket collection for the benevolent fund once again.
Tony Ayin reported that Raging Bull have agreed to be our main sponsor for the next two seasons and possibly beyond. They are also willing to support the cup competitions if asked but will have no objection if another sponsor comes forward to take on this role. He is in talks with other possible interested parties but as yet no agreements have been reached.
Fred Swarbrick reported that himself, along with John Powell and Tony Ayin and Barry Allen had just completed a meeting with Mark Fletcher of Pitchero with a view to designing a new web site on the Pitchero model. It appears that Pitchero can provide all the facilities we require at no cost and the whole thing can be ready by July 1st if given the go-ahead quickly. Those on the committee who had taken a close interest in the web site design all agreed that this was a positive way forward and recommended we go ahead with Barry Allen as co-ordinator. It was suggested that the old and new web sites should run side by side for a while until the new arrangement had settled in. Agreed by all.
Following a ruling as agreed at the last committee meeting requiring all teams competing in NOWIRUL leagues to have approval from their relevant C.B. it was reported that a recent meeting of the Cumbria C.B. voted that all teams below RFU level 8 would be required to play their rugby within Cumbria. Approval to compete within NOWIRUL would not be granted. This arrangement would be for a 2 year trial period commencing September 2012.
The NOWIRUL committee accept with great regret that they have no choice but to respect this decision. The committee wishes to thank all Cumbrian sides who have competed in our leagues for the positive influence they have had on our rugby and the contributions they have made. Some teams have asked if they could still enter our cup competitions but the committee felt that at this stage this would not be possible.
Craig Hine is involved with the Cumbria set up and will act as liaison between the two committees.
The committee started looking at the possible structure for next season. We accept the 11 Cumbrian teams will, no longer be with us and, to date, only 6 new applications had been received, although more were expected. It was noted that the weather had seriously disrupted the season for the third year in a row and maybe there should be some modification to the seasons programme. Jon Daldry suggested a return to 12 team leagues in some leagues to free up more spare Saturdays even though the league survey had shown the majority in favour of 14 team leagues. He also suggested playing league games every week until around March time leaving the cup games for an “end of season” competition. Tony Ayin suggested an increase from 4 to 6 cup competitions (one for each level) which would require one less cup week at all levels. Discussions around the table concerned changing our structured season in such a way that it did not try to match the RFU season. It was acknowledged that this would make the fixtures more difficult to arrange in a convenient manner but Barry Allen thought that this could be overcome. No decisions could be made at this time but members will think about the various options between meetings in the hope that the best compromise can be arrived at next time we meet.
In the past Association referees have been supported with clothing, whistles, red/yellow cards etc. and it was agreed that this would continue for the next season with £2500 set aside for the purpose.
To date no names had been put forward from the various C.B.’s for representation on NOWIRUL committee. Fred Swarbrick will contact the counties concerned and ask for nominations.
So far no permission has been received from Lancashire C.B. for its teams to compete in NOWIRUL. Peter Rhodes will be asked to used his contacts to rectify this.
Tony Ayin is still in discussions with Sale Sharks to try and achieve closer links with us but to date he has nothing to report. It was noted that there are still monies owing from Sale Sharks for advertising on our web site.
Meeting closed 21.45