Halbro North West Leagues Providing grass roots rugby since 2002

Minutes - AGM 2017



Committee attending;  
Fred Swarbrick, John Powell, Greg King, Ian Cosens, Craig Hine, Tommy Hughes, Paul Whiston, Andy Thompson, Reg. Robinson, Jon Daldry.

From the Clubs;  
Ian Spivey, Alan Whalley, (Aldwinians),
Clive Ennis, Mel Seers, (Broughton),
Ian Mac, (North Manchester),
Karl lawrinson, John Parsons, Derek Leake, (Leigh),
Cecil Onselen (Chester),
Barry Allen, (Broughton Park),
Richard Trickey, Phil White, (Sale),
John Farrell, Dave Kelly, (Heaton Moor),
Dave Clarke (Wigan),
Neil Hawkley, (Marple),
Neil Mason, (Village Spartans).

Dave Herriman,  Dr. Sara Shackleton,  Peter Rhodes.

Meeting opened 1925.

Chairman, Fred Swarbrick opened the meeting by welcoming all present to the 14th AGM of the North west leagues. He was glad to report another successful season with excellent Cup Finals at Aspull and Wirral and Presentation Dinner held at Preston Grasshoppers. He was disappointed to note that a record number of teams had left the leagues this season and all too many late cry-offs. It is up to the clubs to try to motivate their players to mitigate this problem, even so it still compares most favourably with leagues or merit tables in other parts of the country. He also recorded his thanks to referees and other officials and to fellow committee members for their contributions.

Matters Arising.    

None,  Proposed by Clive Ennis. Seconded by Reg. Robinson. Carried.

Secretary's Report

Paul Whiston said he had a quiet year as all systems installed by his predecessor worked well. He had spent some time cleansing the web site of unwanted or out of date data in the hope of it working more efficiently.

Treasurers Report

Greg King presented the latest accounts to the meeting which showed a healthy balance in both the Main Account and the Benevolent fund. There was a surplus of around £5000 from the previous year after outstanding expenses had been taken into account and the Benevolent Fund had been boosted by £320 from the dinner plus smaller amounts from other sources. Finances appear to be under control and therefore team subscriptions top the league remain unchanged.


John Powell reported that the weather had been kinder to us this past season and so fewer games were lost to the weather. All of these had been re-scheduled and in general all leagues completed satisfactorily. The exception was 5 South which was reduced to 9 teams only before the season was half way. it was decided to re-jig this to a new league for the second half of the season but this created too many fixtures. The committee decided that games that could not be played over Easter and at other times would be adjucated by the "pools panel" system with the panel made up of Fred Swarbrick, John Powell and the sec. of the league concerned. In spite of reasonable weather he was disappointed to note that 256 games had been conceded (11%) with 114 teams conceding at least 1 game which was an unwelcome record. He believed that some of the concedes might have been tactical which was a trend not to be encouraged.

On other matters John reported that a meeting had been held with all Premiership teams a top Div.1 teams concerning mis-matches at the top level of our leagues. It was decided that the Premiership would be reduced to 8 teams, playing each other 4 times instead of twice as now. Leagues below would be adjusted accordingly. This arrangement is for a 3 year trial period only after which the situation will be re-assessed. There will now be a Conference league bteween Premiership and League 1. At the time of the meeting 13 new teams had applied or re-applied to the leagues making a total of 178 for 2017/18. Due to the new arrangements at the top the four League 5s will be smaller and will be scheduled to play each other 3 times.

Election of Officers

Neil Hawkley proposed that the committee should be re-elected en-masse, seconded by Barry Allen.  Carried unopposed.

Motion 1 

Proposal by Cecil van Oselen; seconded by Steve Wood (Waterloo)                     (not present).

With the Premiership now being just 8 teams bonus points should be awarded as per RFU leagues.  During discussions upon this point, some members favoured extending this bonus point system through all the leagues. Reg Robinson spoke strongly on this stating that this would be a logistical nightmare and unworkable as the standard of reporting is nowhere near good enough to make this work. This gets worse the further down the leagues you go. It was eventually suggested that a bonus point system should be introduced for the Premiership only for 1 season as an experiment.  At the vote; 19 for,  4 against. Motion carried.

Motion 2

Proposed by Liverpool St. Helens; Seconded by Widnes.

Rule 1.  All games to be played under RFU Laes (current)

"Man off" rule is now a law of the game. Therefore:

            Rule 4 (c) should read; If a game goes to uncontested scrums the the offending team must remove a player.

            Rule 10(a) should read; Before a game if there is a shortage of front row players the offending team shall start with 14 men.

            Rule 10(b) should read; If a game goes to uncontested scrums after the start of a game the offending team shall only have 14 men.

Much discussion around the room centered on whether or not the leagues have the ability to modify RFU laws or whether our present position allowed maximum participation in rugby union and if teams were forced to include front row substitutes some teams would just disappear. Participation by as many players was the key. At the vote all 3 points were voted on together. For 5; Against 12. motion defeated.

Motion 3

Proposed by Leigh. Seconded by Wigan.

Rule 19(a): Concedes before exclusion to be increased from 4 to 6.
Double concedes in April to be scrapped

Rule 19(b): If a clubs higher team is excluded the lower team should be allowed to remain.

Members of the committee put a strong argument that concedes should remain at 4 as to increase would result in more temptation to "tactically concede" and more teams would be left with no game after a late concede. double concedes were already not being used so this was accepted. As for Rule 19(b) this had only been an issue twice in 14 years so was felt not to be a problem. At the vote; For 6;  Against 12. Motion defeated.

Motion 4

Proposed by Wigan. Seconded by Widnes

Rule 2. Entry to the cup competitions should be voluntary and not compulsory.

Dave Clarke spoke in favour of this change as he felt that the leagues were more important to some teams and they did not want to risk injury to players if their team was hoping for promotion and there was a strong posibility that they may not progress any further in a cup competition. There was little support for this proposal in other parts of the room and teams that had done well in our cups were happy to leave things as they were. Full participation makes for a better competition. At the vote; For 8;  Against 11.  Motion defeated.

Motion 5

Proposed by John Powell. Seconded by Fred Swarbrick

Rule 15.  Requests for a postponement due to exceptional circumstances not incuding weather.

Change of wording from "inform fixture secretary at least one month in advance"   to   "inform fixture secretary as soon as problem becomes apparent and each case will be dealt with on an individual basis."

This was voted without discussion;  For 12;  Against 3.  Motion carried.

Motion 6

Highlighted items to be added.

Rule 13.  The senior fixture in a clubs list MUST ALWATS, UNLESS THE SENIOR MATCH IS NOT PLAYED FOR SOME VALID REASON,be honoured at the expense of the lower teams fixture . Failure to do this will result in ALL teams from the offending club losing ALL POINTS (winning or losing) from their respective matches, in addition , another TWO POINTS will be deducted from from the offending clubs teams. Only exception to deduction of points is when a team does not have a scheduled fixture.

The non offending opposition teams will be awarded 4 points.

If this happens on a weekend involving a cup competition, all teams from that club winning a cup match shall be eliminated from the cup competitions and their opponents to replace them in the next round. This includes teams that had a bye that day. At the vote For 12;   Against 3.  Ammendment carried.


Dave Clarke mentioned that he was aware that the league receive sponsorship from the RFU and also the leagues have a healthy balance in their funds, should not entry to the leagues be free as it is in the RFU leagues. Greg King replied that it was true that our finances are in good order but it does cost quite a lot to run the leagues each season, including sponsoring the Presentation Dinner. He added however that he was aware that something more could possibly be done for the clubs and senior members of the committee were looking into this. an announcement will be made in due course.

Meeting closed 21.25

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