Minutes of the BSF Tennis Committee meeting held at 7pm on 13th August 2021 at Lostock Tennis Club.

Present: Messrs. Caswell, Pearson, Prince, Shepherd, Smith, Ms L Cartwright, Ms K Hosker & Ms L Perry.

Apologies for absence: Broughton, Jackson, Maslivec, Nuttall, Taylor, Mrs V Browne, Mrs S Francis & Ms H Morley.

Minutes of the last meeting: These had been circulated and were agreed.

Matters Arising: There is an ongoing idea to invite someone from the Arena to a meeting.

Correspondence: A player had put a personal suggestion in regarding an alternative scoring system as he did not feel it fair that they had played one match and lost getting no points when on adjoining courts a match had been abandoned with both getting one point each. He had been advised to apply his system to the scores of the teams in his division at the end of the season and see if there was any difference. Also, he should discuss this with his own club Committee with a view to putting forward a motion to the Notice of Motion Meeting if they agreed.

Treasurer: Tournament payments are being processed and Sponsors and advertisers are being invoiced. A discussion took place on Ladies League Trophies.
Although many of the problems listed at the last meeting had been resolved, there still remained two clubs with outstanding issues that need investigating.
The desire was expressed that it would be better if cheque payments were done away with and all payments done by BACs. Every club should have someone who money can be given to who can then do a BACS payment. This would make tracking and accounting much easier. Getting cheques to the Bolton bank in the town centre was often difficult and the General Secretary had been asked to help out with this on occasions.
We would put an item on the newsletter.

League Reports:
Men’s League: No significant issues have arisen with the men's league since our last Committee meeting. However, a couple of interesting matters have recently arisen:
1. As expected, I am receiving a steady stream of enquiries about the eligibility of players for the last two fixture weeks. The most interesting was from one club regarding rule 7 (f) on page 21 of the handbook, where it says 'In all other divisions only players who have represented their club at least twice prior to the last two fixture weeks are eligible to play'. The query was whether 'club' applied to both the men's and the mixed teams (combined appearances). After consulting the General Secretary, Mixed Match Secretary and Ms S Francis we agreed the rule applies to either Men's League appearances or Mixed League appearances. The leagues are separate entities.
2. I had a query from the captain of one team, following their match. The match was poised at 4 sets each, with the final and deciding set in play. The score was 5-5 games each when one of the other team players walked off the court saying that it was too dark to continue playing (the team on court were on a roll coming back from 2 - 5 down). The opposing captain was not consulted, I believe, although he did countersign the card. The match card records a score of 4 - 4, with the remark "Draw too dark". The query was whether a player leaving the court of play when a set is in play is effectively conceding the set. After some discussion with the team captain (who did tell me that it was dark) and the General Secretary who had pointed out that they had a case for claiming the match under Competition Rule 6, as once a set has started it should be completed, it was decided to let the match status stand as on the match card without any further action. Both teams were mid-table with no real prospect of either promotion or relegation.

Mixed League: There are again no new issues with the mixed league. There is one issue outstanding regarding a match which said that a match was conceded due to bad weather rather than abandoned which the Ladies Match Secretary is currently dealing with. We also had an issue about eligibility as in the men’s but that was sorted between the General Secretary, Men’s Match Secretary & Ms S Francis and myself. I think they got confused with the wording in the handbook.

The Cecil Cup Semi-final had caused a major problem in that one team had won with a player who had only represented the team once whereas the normal requirements are that from the quarter finals onwards, they should have played twice. The name had also appeared as one of three names on an abandoned match card where the match had not started. When those Cecil Cup sets were discounted the team lost. Representations from players had been circulated.

A very long discussion ensued hinging on Registration of Players & Eligibility (2) and Cecil Cup Rule 8 (a) but in particular, specifically the last sentence of that rule. It was said that in any appeal to the BSF Sports Federation the Committee would have to show that it had followed its own rules to the letter. The discussion continued with points put forwards on both sides including the fact that had the Match Secretary been consulted; the player would have most likely been given permission to play.
In the end it finally came down to a vote of 5-2 that the rules be implemented literally and the match be awarded to the other team. However, Committee members expressed their sympathies for the situation in which the defaulting team had found themselves. It was said to be extremely unfortunate that the match had to be awarded on such a technical point

Ladies League: None.

Junior League: The season had been completed. One team had dropped out of Division One and had also done the same in the voluntary league the year before. The question was raised as to whether they be allowed to take part next season as it does spoil things for other teams.
A number of matches were not played due to Covid isolation. In Division Three there was a tie for second place. They could not be separated. It was decided to give a joint second prize.

Winter League:
All the teams from the 2019/20 season have been contacted with a view to playing in the 2021/22 season. There are four teams that have dropped out and five new teams have expressed an interest in taking part. There are a few teams left to respond (deadline this weekend). Once the final numbers of returning teams are known those involved in the organisation of the league to discuss the league set up.

Tournament: What a delight it was for the Tournament to resume at the three usual venues, Lostock, Markland Hill and Meadow Hill. The Tournament went very well, considering the pandemic, with the weather helping considerably as it was fine, hot and sunny throughout the nine days.
Overall, the entries were broadly similar to 2019. The senior events with the largest increases were the handicap mixed doubles – 28 this year compared to 20 in 2019 and the handicap men’s doubles – 24 this year compared to 20 in 2019. The 50+ handicap men’s doubles had the largest decrease with 6 pairs down from 13 in 2019. Sadly, two events were not run this year – the U18 girls singles and the women’s handicap singles. The only junior event to alter significantly in terms of entry was the under 18 mixed doubles with 7 pairs this year compared to only 3 pairs in 2019.
In the handicap events the number of close matches (6-4, 6-4 or closer) was 44 out of 91 matches i.e. 48%; this creditable performance is fairly similar to what has been achieved over recent years. Amazingly in the handicap mixed doubles 18 out of 25 matches were in this close category.
In conclusion, thanks must go to the Vice-Chairman/Tournament Referee whose huge efforts in scheduling all matches ensured all finals were played by Saturday teatime. Thanks are also due to our Tournament Secretary for all her preparation work ensuring the Tournament ran smoothly. Finally, our thanks go to the three host clubs and all their committees for allowing us to use their facilities and also our own Tournament Committee for the success it was.

A list was circulated showing entries compared to previous years.

A discussion took place on ways forward to increase participation.

Presentation Evening: Assistance is needed from Committee members in setting up on the Friday afternoon. The Vice-Chairman has arranged a presenter.
We need to know how many vegetarian dishes are needed. This would be done by the Newsletter.

Facebook/Twitter: This is still fairly active.

AOB: None

Date and time of Next Meeting: Presentation Night is the 10th so it will have to be 17th September, 7pm probably at Lostock TC.