Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at St Margaret’s Church Hall on Wednesday 11th January 2017

Present: Mr M Pearson (Chairman), Mr R Caswell (Secretary) and 15 of the 24 clubs were represented. 17 votes were available.
Minutes of the last meeting: These were signed as a true record and there were no matters arising.

Correspondence: None

Chairman’s Remarks: Firstly I should like to thank all Team Captains and administrators. In a competitive league, there will always be some differences of opinion, but once again very few issues have been brought to the Committee during the year, which suggests that clubs are abiding by the letter and spirit of the rules. So please take my thanks back to your clubs.
Despite small reductions in numbers, your league continues to provide a significant activity for tennis in the local community. Each of the main summer leagues were reduced by one team - the Men’s league reduced to 56 teams; the Mixed league to 37 teams; the Junior league to 17 teams. The Afternoon League continued to operate with 6 teams and the Winter League with 45 teams. Across all the leagues and cups over 1,000 matches were played.
In the Junior league, the option for club’s to select the time for home matches appears to have had a positive impact. The number of completed matches significantly improved following a difficult year in 2015.
The Winter League has been beset with difficulties with venues. Harper Green which has been used since the inception of the league, was made unavailable. The Bubble at David Lloyd has been unreliable as it is out of action when there is snow or recently, high winds. Thankfully, Colin and Vanessa were able to arrange for extra slots at Bolton Arena and indoor at David Lloyd so the league was on schedule at the Christmas break. I am sure most of you will have heard the sad news of the death of Colin Sharples in late November. Colin was instrumental in forming the Winter League about 23 years ago and it has been very much His competition. His commitment to the league was phenomenal; organising fixtures and venues, making sure balls and match cards were available, collecting fees, watching and supporting players  and of course his legendary reports, interwoven with humorous observation and literary style.  He also had an influence in the General Committee and recruited many of its current members – including me. Vanessa and the other members of the Winter League Committee have picked up the mantle and the league will continue to operate as previously, but all recognise that no individual can fill the gap left by Colin and we shall be reviewing how the league might operate in future.
The league tournament was blessed with better than average weather and was once again a great success with some high quality tennis. Bolton School has provided a splendid setting for this event for very many years, but that is likely to be coming to end soon. The school has plans to redevelop the site, which will result in a loss of many courts. A decision from the Bolton Planning Committee is due this month and there is a possibility that it will affect the 2017 tournament.
Whilst the presentation evening was again popular, it has been recognised that the Ellesmere Road venue is on the small side and we are looking at different options for 2017.
I reported last year that the league had provided temporary financial assistance to Barrow Bridge in connection with the improvement of their facilities. This has now been repaid. Further loans have been approved for improvements at Lostock and Tyldesley.
You will note that the Committee has a number of challenges for the coming year. In addition, we also intend to review the structure of the Junior league, where, despite the improvements in 2016 there are still issues for many organisers when it comes to player availability. It would be good to have some new faces on the Committee to be involved with these decisions. As last year, I would particularly ask clubs without any representation to consider putting someone forward. It helps for the Committee to have broad representation when making decisions and proposals that affect all clubs.
This year we welcomed Lisa Cartwright and Kath Abbott to the Committee and I am grateful for their input. I should also like to record my thanks to all members of the Committee without whose freely given time, the league would not operate.

Treasurer’s Report: The Treasurer handed out copies of the accounts and went through the main points. There were no questions apart from a minor one re what happens to used tournament balls as there is a firm that will provide a courier sack and pay you for 200? They are in fact sold off as good seconds.

Guarantee Fees: The Treasurer suggested these should stay the same, £20 per senior team; £10 Cecil Cup; £8 per junior team; £3 Howarth Cup.

Payment of registration fees: This should be Friday 21st April.

Business from the Notice of Motion Meeting: This was carried out.

Election of officers: It was proposed, seconded and passed that the existing Officers and Committee be re-elected en-bloc.

The meeting closed at 8-15pm.

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