Published by brian.horrocks1954@btinternet.com, 01 April 2020

Dear Friends

It is with fervent hope that this update finds you all safe and well. These are trying times and as we have all agreed; sport has to take a distant second position in comparison to our fight with the virus. Having said that, one of the key techniques used extensively in many walks of life is to secure a position, and then plan for the most positive way of recovering afterwards. All we can do at the moment is diligently follow medical advice as part of securing the best outcome from the virus. Looking at the longer term we can also have half an eye on being in the best position to recover our Badminton League.

This is what the exec have tried to do given that when it is all over, we want to get back to our sport which is such an important part of virus free lives. You can all help by doing whatever you can to protect yourselves (the players), the clubs and teams and ultimately the league. If we can get through this with all of those things in tact we can recover from a position of strength.

There are several issues that we will face eventually but of course some are more imminent than others. Here is a summary of the issues we have wrestled with:

1. The accounts will be prepared as normal with the cut off date of 31st March. It is likely that we will publish them via the secretaries in some form, unless it becomes clear that an EGM is a possibility sooner rather than later. For that to happen the Government will have to give the all clear for meetings to be held. The accounts are historic, whereas proposals for fees for the new season is future. We will need to agree those at an EGM/AGM

2. The AGM scheduled for May is of course cancelled If we are able to stage a meeting in the early/mid summer then we will call an EGM which will replace the AGM. Having received only one nomination for the vacant post of Tournament Secretary the exec have made an assumption that clubs are OK with that. Kara Robinson of Canute has accepted the Chairmans invitation to fulfil this role. In the vein of planning to the best of our ability, Kara can look ahead to what possibilites there may be for tournament play next year. No other rule changes have been submitted. We can circulate the reports where conclusions have been made, i.e. tournaments, treasury, secretarial and chairman.

3. The quiz for April is cancelled. We'll hold another one as soon as possible

4. The presentation evening scheduled for May is cancelled. It is unlikely we would know the winners list in full any time soon.

5. The John Ford was completed this year. Experience suggests that we should seriously consider changing the criteria such that teams are made up of 4 men and 2 ladies. We have a number of teams who could possibly have entered this year had that been the case. Some of the larger clubs may have considered two teams where they entered one. We do welcome views on this. It would not be a rule change as it is a tournament. The exec would support this change, but tell us if you have reservations, or possibly alternatives. On a slightly different John Ford topic, the handicapping went well for the majority of the tournament. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that the current volunteers are finding it harder to comment on some of the newer players. In order to handicap well it is a requirement that we have sufficient on the ground knowledge of the current players and their capabilities. In order to do that, actively playing with and against these people is the only way to do it. We welcome your views on how best to achieve this.

6. One nomination was received for the Stan Smith trophy. The exec will hold on to the winners name and trophy until we get a chance to present it to the winner.

7. There was, likewise, one nomination for the Tony Hickson trophy. As before, the exec will present this to the recipient at the earliest opportunity and publicise it.

8. Junior League was completed in good time before the isolation began. The web site has details. We would ordinarily be setting up next season now by convening a meeting of the club leaders. We can't do that so Dave will find a way to communicate with them on how to set it up in a virtual world first.

9. The big issue isof course, how to complete the season 2019-20. There are several possibilities, faced not just by us, but all football, some rugby, other winter league based sports. We have some favoured approaches which we will hold on to for now. That is because things can change so quickly. The most pessimistic reports suggest there may be no normal league badminton at all next year. More optimistically it may be possible to start in September if all went really well. There is currently no way of telling. Our approaches vary dependent of whether a full/part season is feasible. Your thoughts would be welcomed, but bear in mind the opinions will all be targeted at what may be best for your club individually and the exec have to call it for the whole league. More to be said on this topic in the coming weeks.

10. The exec feel that the mixed league could benefit from the change of format to 4 men and 2 ladies. When we first chose to change Ladies from 6 players to 4 players we ran the two formats in parallel. This worked OK and eventually we changed the whole of ladies to the new format. We would like to see the same thing done, keeping the 3 and 3 format for those that want it, and introducing 4 and 2 for those that prefer that. Clubs can of course elect to enter teams in both.

11. The fixture meeting is very unlikely to take place in July. If you want to keep the date in your diary, OK, but it is likely that we will have to re-schedule that to dovetail with the decisions on how the season is completed.

12. Obviously we have no way to deal with trophies and engraving at the moment. Concorde is unfortunately not a special case for opening so for now the trophies remain unengraved where we know the winners already. If a team has already secured the top spot (that has happened in five of the nine divisions), that will be recorded in the history documents and they will receive those trophies in good time. If you do have a perpetual trophy at home please just hang on to it, but tell Hon Sec where it is so we can move quickly when the time comes

I will ask the secretaries to coordinate the formal club responses - however - I am happy to receive comments from individuals, but would not action those comments unless club support was given.

Continue to stay well and fight this virus - do not let it win

Brian - Hon Sec