Halbro North West Leagues Providing grass roots rugby since 2002

Minutes of AGM 2019 - 19 June 2019

Minutes of AGM held at Leigh RUFC on 19 June 2019.


Committee Present

Fred Swarbrick, John Powell, Reg Robinson, Andy Thompson, Paul Riordan, Peter Harrison, Peter Rhodes, Jon Daldry and Craig Hine


Ian Cosens, Tommy Hughes, Greg King, Paul Whiston and Stephen Branch


28 attendees – 25 Clubs Represented

Meeting Opened 19:30


Matters Arising


Minutes of the AGM 2018: Proposed as correct by Neil Hawkley Seconded Clive Ennis

Chairman's Report

Fred Swarbrick welcomed all to the 16th AGM
Once again we’ve enjoyed what I many parts was a successful season. On my part I would like to thank all the members of the committee for their support over the past season, all, I’ve got to say 100% dedicated to the leagues but also the wider game.
I might pick out four gents with a specific reference to John Powell the fixture secretary responsible for all our fixtures – Barry Allen also helps in this sphere – but also the day to day running of the leagues with re-arrangements, postponements etc etc. No mean task. He also runs the North Referees Association again a fulltime occupation. Thanks to John thinks are run relatively smoothly.
Ian Cousens is our Sponsorship guru. All the sponsors you might note on our website are so important as they keep us going financially, are all down to Ian’s work. It doesn’t stop there with Ian as he also oversees our Robinsons Finals arrangements and our presentation Dinner. No mean task
Paul Whiston our secretary whilst involved in a demanding job takes all the queries before passing them on usually to myself and John.
Finally Greg our treasurer who keeps us all in line with our financial needs. As you will note from the treasurers report later last year was the first time we have suffered a loss.
And of course, our league secretaries you all know who they are as you are in touch with them on a weekly basis throughout the season
Our two main events at the end of the season the Robinsons Brewery Cup Finals held this year at Oldham RUFC and Old Bedians RUFC and the Presentation Dinner at Preston Grasshoppers RUFC were both resounding successes. Thanks Ian and all who helped on the day
To see the sheer pleasure of the lads taking part in the Finals makes me wonder why any side might not want to make every effort to try and get to Finals Day. It really is a great occasion in our diary.
We can announce that Robinsons Brewery will continue to sponsor the competition. Please support them by putting some sort of agreement together to sell their beer. At present there are three clubs in the running for Finals day Vale of Lune RUFC, Bowden RUFC and Sale FC.
The presentation dinner will be at Bowdon RUFC next season.
One of the biggest criticisms we receive is that of losing sides during the season due to our strict concede penalties. We feel we need to maintain these numbers, there’s nothing worse than lads turning up for a game finding the opposition will not be arriving. We do have to have some discipline. In fact, we lost 18 sides last year throughout the season, but have 20 re-applying and two or three newcomers as well.
Stephen Branch operated our Social League set up last year which was put in place to allow any sides eliminated from the leagues could continue playing. The take up was poor and we will perhaps need to take a look at this again.
Once again we were running at 10/12% lost games which is still a remarkable situation considering the levels we are aiming at. 166 sides providing rugby for 3,000 players week on week. The Halbro NW Leagues – and thanks to Halbro for their valuable support – we are indeed the most successful organisation in the country involved in genuine grass roots rugby.
The other criticism we receive is the number of 1st XVs in our leagues. We cannot re-iterate enough that generally 1st XVs in our leagues tend to be a particular club going through a hard time and in some cases with a threat of going out of existence. We are proud to say we have helped a number of clubs to survive and prosper, some of who are here tonight.
We now look to our 16th season of the leagues under the sponsorship of Halbro Company, Cotton Traders, Robinsons Brewery, Sale Sharks, County Courier Services, Howell & Co and Independent – ERG. Thank you to all for your support.


As above


Treasurer’s Report: Income – little change from last year, with a slight reduction due to numbers fo teams in the leagues
Expenditure – Major difference is the one off charge of £6,500 for our new impressive website. Slight increase in officials expenses due to a late claim from the previous system
Please note this is the first annual loss since formation
Benevolent Fund – Thankfully no serious injuries requiring financial assistance this season. Excellent collection at the Presentation Dinner has helped to increase the fund, together with raffle winners returning their winnings.
No financial statement was available for the meeting, but one will be made available once produced if required.



After the problems created by the weather the previous season, last season was great. Very few dates were disrupted by the weather. This however caused the position where teams didn’t have many games in the final two months of the season where dates were held aside to rearrange games.
Out of the 168 teams that started the season 18 teams left for various reason (8 leaving before the end of October). We will start next season with 167 teams having had 17 new or reapplying teams coming in.
We had the inevitable number of conceded games where the final percentage was a 12% level of concedes. 231 out a total of 1876 scheduled games. It is noticeable that more games are conceded on rearranged dates than on regular Saturdays.
Besides these concedes we were informed of games starting with unopposed scrums on 8 occasions. 13 times we found that senior teams conceded but lower teams played.
In the Cup competitions we had 11 teams opt out of the competitions as per the Rule, while 13% of the scheduled games were conceded (23 games)
In Division 5 we had a Trial of not rearranging weather postponed games and playing the Cup competition at the end. We also allowed teams to rearrange games (with agreement by both sides) to other Free dates. This worked well but comments received in the feedback was mainly that of not having enough games especially in March and April when the Cup games were scheduled.
The setup for next season will be available very soon after the AGM once Proposals have been voted on. After a short agreement period Fixtures will follow
Matt Bryan – RFU – Matt introduced the new set of rules that can be introduced in games to ensure more games get played. Nationally 33% of non RFU league games are never played, although NOWIRUL is around 12% but if applying these new rules can help reduce that as well, all the better
The 2019/2020 season will see Game On principles introduced to all adult male and female rugby outside RFU Leagues and Cups.
Based on feedback from players and with the aim of ensuring more games are played and reducing the number of cancellations, the Game On principles allow teams to be more flexible with the laws to allow the match to go ahead.
With Game On a match can now take place as long as each team has a minimum of 10 players although our leagues allow 9. In addition, the result will stand as long as the match is a minimum of 40 minutes rather than 80.
Rolling substitutions can be made and teams are encouraged to apply the Half Game rule to ensure that each player in every match day squad plays at least half of the available playing time.
The principles also allow for both scrums and lineouts to be uncontested. Both teams must agree which of the Game On principles will apply to the match and notify the referee at least 30 minutes prior to kick off.
If both teams cannot agree which principles to apply the match will proceed without the application of the Game On principles and normal league rules apply.
The key to this is two teams agree on how they are going to play 30 minutes before kick off, they then inform the referee who will then referee the match to these agreed rules
All Clubs should be receiving a “Game On” poster but can be downloaded from https://www.englandrugby.com/participation/playing/game-on

League structure

See above


Proposal re Div 5 Trial Proposed by JP and FS 
Next season we continue with the following in Div 4 and 5.
1. Weather Postponed games will not be rearranged.
The Pools Panel will be used for all matches postponed due to weather.
2. Requests to postpone (Reasons other than weather) must be agreed by both teams and an agreed date be arranged.
3. Cups matches will be spread within season
Proposed by JP and FSCarried unanimously

Proposal 1 proposed JP Seconded FS
The Rules Committee will look closely at the way in which the Rules are set out and will simplify where possible and remove anomalies. This will be done without changing the Rules. Changes from the AGM will be applied.
Carried unanimously

Proposal 2  proposed JP Seconded FSRemove Cup Rule 7
This we feel complicates things requiring teams to look at two sets of Rules.
To simplify, all Rules applying to the Cup Competition will now be added to the Cup Rules. Leaving League Rules only applying to the League.
Rules to be added to CUP Rules from League Rules are;-
Rule 13 Senior Team Concedes
Rule 22 Re Appeals
Rule 12  Results
Rule 14 Number of Players
Rule 15 Unable to play
The Cup Rules will be re-ordered by the Rules Committee. However no Rules will be changed unless accepted by voting on proposals at the AGM
Carried unanimously

Proposal 3  proposed JP Seconded FS
Rule 24: Double Headers
Consideration will be given to any proposal sent to the Rules Committee regarding League games in the North West Leagues being used as Double Headers with another League game or Cup games.
Permission to do so must be sought from the Rules Committee and agreed by both sides
There was some discussion as to the parameters for allowing such double headers – distance, back to back fixtures.
It was agreed that any application that was agreed by both sides would be considered by the Rules Committee.
Carried unanimously

Proposal 4  proposed JP Seconded FS
Concedes b) Any team failing to fulfil a fixture in the semi-final will have 10 points deducted from their League total. If failure to fulfil a fixture in a final the team will have 15 points deducted from their League total at the start of the following season.
The Chairman could not understand why any team would want to ever concede a cup or semi-final, but this proposal followed this year’s concede in the semi-final by Chester.
The sponsors have the right to expect the best 2 teams to be in a final. The failure to play a semi final 10 point deduction in current season. Failure to play a final 15 point deduction the following season.
This rule to apply to all divisions/cups
Carried unanimously

Proposal 5  proposed JP Seconded FS
Rule 12: Results Both sides will be responsible for sending in the results. Score must be checked with the referee. These must be supplied to the Secretary of that league by Saturday 6.00pm at the very latest. This should be done by text.
Drop the penalty
Carried unanimously

Proposal 6  proposed JP Seconded FS
Rule 11  Postponed Games*****
Where Saturdays are no longer available to rearrange postponed games, the leagues Rule Committee will discuss various options to allow the fixtures to be settled. This might involve Double Headers and Pools Panel.
Carried unanimously 

Proposal 7  proposed JP Seconded FS
Change to this only for the CUP Competitions
CUP Rule 19:  Number of Players
In all Cup Competitions each side shall supply a minimum of 12 players for a game to go ahead. There will be no more than ONE man advantage to any team at the start of the game. Failure to supply a minimum of 12 players will result in elimination from the Cup Competition.
Teams must have a full complement of Front Row to start a game.
Carried unanimously

Proposal 8  proposed JP Seconded FS
Cup RULE 2 Entry To Cup
All clubs who enter North West Leagues are expected to enter the Cups.
Cup RULE 16 Concedes
a) Any team conceding a Cup match will NOT have that game added to the number conceded in the league.
For 8    Against 17 – Not carried. Rule will revert back to last years rule 

Proposal 9  proposed JP Seconded FS
Rule 5 and others relating to Premier / Championship League and Conferences
Commencing with season 2020/21 the Premier League and Championship will be reinstated as 14 team Leagues as is the case with all other Leagues.
Promotion and relegation in these Leagues and Division 1 in season 2019/2020 will reflect this.
The 14 will be made up of Conference A (6), Conference B (top 4), Conference C (Top 2) and Top 2 in Division 1.
The 6 other teams in the Conferences will be relegated to Division 1.
The proposal to change the Premiership to 14 team leagues led to a lengthy discussion. It was all about repetition v competition v large scores. Fylde raised the issue of player safety and what winning or getting beaten by a large score did for player development and retention
For 4   Against 10   Abstentions 11 – This was from the junior clubs not involved in the Conference set up
Not carried

The Man-off Rule will apply in the Premier League
One bonus point for 4 tries will apply in the Premier League
No change to current Premiership rules 

Proposal 10 Proposed by Barry Allen Seconded by JP
Rule 7, 8, 9:  Points allocation
I would like to propose that the pointsallocation is :-

5 for a win or walkover,
3 for a draw,
1 for playing,
0 for a concede.
1 point for losing within 7 points.

A losing bonus point would give 2 points which is less than the points for a draw (3).
The differences between the points allocations would be the same as RFU points 
Difference between Win and Draw:- NOWIRUL 5 - 3 = 2, RFU 4 - 2 = 2
Difference between Draw and Loss:- NOWIRUL 3 - 1 = 2, RFU 2 - 0 = 2.

John Powell explained the need to change was about the if a team in the Premiership lost by seven and scored 4 tries they got 3 points, but if they drew with 4 tries they also get 3 points
Carried unanimously

Proposal 11 Proposed by Reg Robinson Seconded by Ian Cosens
All Teams playing in the Conference Leagues will carry forward any concedes from the Premiership or Championship
For 6    Against 13 not carried

Proposal 12 Proposed by Reg Robinson seconded by JP
In the Premier League where they have Bonus points, the points for a draw should be reduced from 3 to 2. However see proposal 10 Superseded by proposal 10 

Proposal 13 Proposed by Caldy Seconded by Sedgley Park
Max 20 players in a match day squad in the Premier League
For  15   Against  7   Carried 

Proposal 14 Proposed by Helen Chinn Tarleton 3rds  Not Seconded
Where a team is expelled in March and April, all results are to remain on record and matches that haven't been played will be decided by the pools panel. As there was no seconder and Tarleton were not at the meeting, proposal was put to the meeting

Election of Officers

The Committee and the Officers except for Jon Daldry agreed to stand again. Carried unanimously. The proposal to accept Paul Riordan and Peter Harrison as full committee members was carried unanimously.

Meeting closed
Following a proposal of thanks from the floor to Leigh RUFC for their hospitality, the meeting closed at 21:50