Devon Association of Cricket Officials – Annual General Meeting 2013

November 14th, 2013.  Parkway Sports & Social Club, Plymouth PL5 2EY.

Meeting opened 19:10

The Chairman, Gavin Lane, opened the meeting and extended a warm welcome to all who attended the sixth DACO AGM. The Chairman introduced our President, Mr Roger Moylan-Jones.

  1.  In Memoriam:

All present stood for a minute’s silence in memoriam of Bill Craven & Ron Prosser along with all those members who had passed-on during the previous year.

  1. Attendance:

A register of attendees was recorded on a sign-in register circulated at the meeting; a copy of which is available on request and held by the Hon. Secretary.

  1. Apologies:

A register of apologies is available on request and held by the Hon. Secretary.

  1.  Opening Address from the President:

The President, Roger Moylan-Jones, started his address by thanking all present for attending. 2013 had given us a great deal of decent weather unlike previous seasons. His involvement with the Devon County Cricket Club (DCCC) had seen the best summer since 2006, the last time that the Club had managed to complete as many of their six 3-day matches. He continued by stressing that whilst it was vital to introduce young players to the County side, there needed to be a balance of youth and experience if the standard of Minor Counties cricket was to be maintained at one level below that of the professional first class game. With many new home grown youngsters this season, and an enforced change of captain halfway through, the side had performed very creditably, finishing 4th in the table boding well for the future. The President continued to explain that the previous difficulties between DCCC and the Devon Cricket Board (DCB) were now largely resolved, with the County Club taking the lead in running a development programme post the 17+ age group (the Devon Lions), in close liaison with the Board’s Youth Association who were responsible for development up to that age, including the ECB funded Emerging Players Programme. With both parties now singing to the same hymn sheet, there are also plans to merge both the Devon Cricket Youth Foundation and the David Shepherd Cricket Foundation, and the DCCC and DCB websites.

Continuing, the President highlighted the impressive number of appointments that Devon Officials covered. He stressed the importance of communication between officials and players, and that commonsense application of the Laws was just as important as the letter of the Law. As an example of this he cited a personal conversation he had had with David Shepherd concerning the alleged ball-tampering affair involving Daryl Hare in the England v Pakistan Test.

 In conclusion the President stated that he considered it a great privilege and honour to be involved with the Devon Association of Cricket Officials, an organisation which continued to go from strength to strength.

  1.  The Minutes of the previous AGM (held on 15th November 2012)

All members had received a copy in advance of the 2013 AGM.

The minutes of the 2012 Annual General Meeting were proposed by Bill Pinhey and seconded by Nigel Piddock. The proposal was unanimously agreed.

  1.  Matters arising from those minutes.

There were no matters arising from the Minutes.

  1.  Chairman’s Report:

Mr President, Life & Honorary Members, Ladies and Gentlemen. 5 years ago the ECB ACO was formed out of the dying ACUS. On 28th November 2008, nearly 5 years ago, the DCUS became DACO. So started a new journey, guided initially by David Moseby, with many bumps and turns and a whole lot of convincing to do – which was successfully achieved

Today DACO remains strong, vibrant and financially sound – even a beacon of best practice to many other County  ACOs.  This success is due to the combined efforts of David Moseby and his team then and now, the united and wholehearted efforts of your officers – all of whom, I am glad to report, remain willing to continue to serve if that is your wish.

The absent Pete Bamber – recovering from illness – has managed our appointments admirably, ensuring we maximise the use of Who's The Umpire (WTU); he will be adding the Devon Cricket League (DCL) Facilities Report so that it can be done online next season.  Pete and his team of area appointers are fundamental to getting officials to the right place at the right time, despite late cry-offs. My thanks to them for a difficult job well done.

Andy Forward, the vice chairman, remains a calm, comforting and sensible voice of reason.  He has taken on the role of DACO Representative on the DCL General Management Committee – this means there will be no conflicts of interest between DACO and DCL as, as I think most of you are aware, I have been asked to be a full member of the DCL Executive Management Committee.

Our scorers are well catered for by Nicholas Evanson, who champions their cause to good effect whilst also being our Welfare Officer.

Your Area Representatives play a vital role at DACO Management Meetings by ensuring an accurate, timely two-way flow of information between management and areas.On the whole this system works well as it is vital to help ensure the DACO Management Committee come to the right conclusions and recommendations – so your representatives are vital people and my thanks goes to them on your behalf.

Our Secretary Paul Dart has worked tirelessly to ensure we have an accurate membership list, whilst also easing people through the new Disclosure & Barring System (DBS) regime.  The ECB ACO has invested in 2 human beings at Edgbaston to run the ACO membership and to assist with education courses, support and the issue of certificates on completion of courses.  They are highly motivated, well skilled and have brought realism to what has been a disappointingly weak area.  I mention this because each member means DACO receives £4 rebate from ECB ACO each year.  Paul has done us proud and I am delighted that he is keen to continue and to get his teeth into all aspects of ACO Membership Services!  He is also very keen that you are aware of the new Laws of Cricket that he has available for sale at a very reasonable price!

 It would be fair to say that I, in particular, and the Management Committee have been accused of not dealing firmly enough with the DCB Ltd, especially on matters of finance, and that the Committee has gone downhill since the “good old days” of the DCUS. 

Actually, I am rather proud of what DACO has achieved in 5 short years. 

Building on the solid foundations laid down by David Moseby DACO has evolved to meet the fast moving demands of an ECB ACO that is determined to show the rest of the world that it is the best official’s membership organisation.  

We have taken onboard a whole series of new education courses, added observing and assessing and mentoring to our dictionaries and to our skills, we have developed pathways for umpires which mean, for the first time ever, that there really is a route from “Playground to Test Arena” for officials. 

Added to which, DACO has survived for some years without recourse to DCB Ltd funding, being reliant on our savings and the ECB ACO annual membership rebate.  We need much of our savings to provide money for when we need to replace education equipment and the like.   So, since 2008 there has been no DACO membership fee – as a DCUS member you paid about £6 per annum on top of your ACUS membership.  Yet by good husbandry we have managed to more or less balance the books without asking for support from the DCB Ltd.  DCB Ltd has supported our financial need when asked – as they are required to do – and a clear, well-reasoned financial plan has ensured we have been awarded an annual DCB Ltd grant as well as our ECB ACO rebate for 2012 and 2013.

At a time when overall cricket funding has decreased, we must do the same so our DCB Ltd grant for 2014 will be equivalent to ½ our ECB ACO rebate – so we need lots more members!

I am proud of the way your management team have managed your affairs whilst keeping financially firmly afloat.

And it is because of our success that I believe we should CONTRIBUTE to Devon Cricket, in particular to youth cricket.  The Management Committee has agreed that official’s fees for non-DCL matches should be £25 for 2014 onwards. 

This rise will give the DCBYA a serious problem and I believe we should not jeopardise youth cricket by costing them more money at a time of great upheaval for them as they seek to re-organise however, I am equally clear that our officials have borne the brunt of years of low fees so hence the Management Proposal for all of you to consider which is that DACO should subsidise the cost to DCBYA of officials to the tune of a maximum of £500 per year for 2014 and 2015.  As you will hear shortly, we have adequate funds to support this.

With your permission Mr President, may we vote on the motion now?

 The motion is as follows: "For some years now expenses for umpires in youth matches have remained static and low but the Devon Cricket Board Youth Association is unable to afford an increase.  Providing umpires for youth matches is considered a crucial role for DACO to fulfil.  DACO has benefitted by financial support from the Devon Cricket Board over several years, saving this money for replacing defective education equipment. However, in order to ensure that DACO umpires support District and County Youth matches, it is proposed that DACO underwrite the cost to the tune of £500 per year for 2 years:  This would mean that DACO umpires standing in all District and County Youth matches would receive £25 expenses per match."

 The motion was carried unanimously.

 The main reason we are in a financially sound situation is not due to a tight fisted treasurer but more to the clear, unbiased advice he offers and the diligence with which he continues to apply to running our finances.  Rather than embarrass him, perhaps this would be a timely moment for him to give us his financial report. 

Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen, Ken Jeffery:

  1.  Treasurer’s Report:

Good news Members – we made an annual surplus, as at the 31st October of £1,583 though this will be reduced slightly from some subsequent minor expenditure items. A splendid result.

Our Chairman already is earmarking some of the surplus and his ideas will be brought to the table at our next management meeting. One for example is increasing the number of match-day umpire assessments & the cost thereof.

The Chairman has negotiated purposefully on our behalf to obtain funding from the DCB/ECB particularly for educational & developmental projects. We are fortunate to have Gavin’s enthusiasm & commitment.

Members ought to be aware that the financial support we receive from the DCB in the form of a Grant (this year £804) will be reduced in the current year.

We still have 25 ties in stock, valued at £7.04 each but now subject to a pre-Christmas special sale price of £6.00. The £14 loss for the year basically because we gifted a few ties in special circumstances.

I am pleased to confirm that considerable goodwill is exercised by your committee in restricting management – type claims.

I would encourage all members to inform Martin Webb of their bank account details – we still have a handful of match fees that are paid by cheque.

Our thanks to the examining accountants, Robert Loxton & Co for signing off the Accounts -their time costed at £425.00 has been trimmed to £125.00 plus VAT.

If members wish to raise questions I shall do my utmost to respond but suffice to say that in cash we still retain £2,835 in our historical Training Fund to meet future hardware costs and at the 31st October our working balance was £6,380.

Andy Forward proposed that the financial accounts be accepted; Pete Outtram seconded this proposal and the proposal was unanimously agreed.

A copy of the submitted report is available on request from the Hon Secretary.

  1. Education & Performance Report

Gavin Lane continued his report to inform the meeting about Education & Performance matters. 2013 has been a good year for cricket – cricket won most weeks against the weather. 

DACO helped by turning out 19 UL1, 12 SL1, 5 UL1A to stand during the season. 

Added to which DACO ran their first UL2/UL2C course with 17 participants, some from Cornwall, Wales and Wiltshire as well as Devon. And, a further UL1A cohort has just completed the first phase of their journey.

So, under the guiding hand of our Education Officer, Martin Webb, DACO has delivered a full range of courses and stands ready to do more this winter. 

Shortly, many of the UL1A and UL2 participants will complete their courses and I say well done to each of them for trying to become better umpires and thus helping to improve the enjoyment of cricket in Devon.

Your DACO officers attended the ECB ACO S&W Region Conference at Sarum College, Salisbury on 3rd November.  Regional Officers and Officers from 11 counties, South Wales and the Combined Services met to discuss matters of mutual interest and to share best practice.  It was a stimulating affair and I very much hope everyone who attended from Devon found it worthwhile.

Looking around our County during the summer has made me only too aware of the immense amount of time and effort so many of you, and many of those who are not with us tonight, put in throughout the cricket season – I appreciate the fantastic job all of you have done officiating – as we know, without officials cricket matches are quite tricky yet, even now, it amazes me the number of lower league games that take place with no officials or perhaps one umpire. 

As I reported last year, there are very many umpires and scorers out there who are not members of DACO; many of these are seriously out of date on the Laws of Cricket.  Would it not be great if each of us could encourage one such person to join DACO – not my idea, but that of Peter Jolliffe (South Area)!

Our role to educate is vital, it is a primary output, and so it is a pleasure when a young official is able to grab the headlines.  We have had success before with Jasper Heaver and Nathan Bradley, but this year, Rhys Callicott, Plymouth CC, went to Lord’s for a day of officiating and was then selected by the ECB to stand in the Bedford Schools cricket festival – a unique experience for an upwardly mobile 16 year old!   It shows that we are blessed with good people and good tutors to help them along the way.

Umpire Performance matters and more and more DACO umpires are appreciating that they can actually improve.  I am pleased to report that our panel umpires have done pretty well and I congratulate them for that and also thank them for providing this service to the DCL.

 It is to Devon’s credit that we continue to supply excellent umpires to the highest levels of recreational cricket, with Jim Anning, Roger Tolchard, Phil Matten, Andy Forward and Steve Lavis waving the flag for us – they really are a great advert for what can be achieved by a minor county.

My thanks to all of you, to your Area Officers and other volunteers who contribute to making our association what it is.  Our County is big and our Area Groups are crucial to our corporate progress and success.  I would like to mention a couple of people who have been loyal servants of their areas but have recently stood down, they are Clive Russell (East Area) and Jack Neville (North Area).  I should also mention George Gribble, long standing Chairman of the South Area who has gracefully moved upwards to be the South Area President – his years of service will continue but, like Clive and Jack, he has contributed much and for that my thanks.

Arrangements for tonight have been made by Bill Pinhey, with a little guidance from Paul Dart – my thanks to them for a job well done.

Finally, Mr President, my thanks to you for your support during the year and your continued oversight of this association.

That completes my report – thank you.

  1.  Election of Officers: 

The President supported the motion that the un-opposed nominations for returning current Officers of the Association was done en bloc  (proposed Dave Moseby, seconded Geoff Coish):

  1. Chairman – Gavin Lane
  2. Vice Chairman – Andy Forward
  3. Hon Secretary & Membership Services Officer – Paul Dart
  4. Hon Treasurer – Ken Jeffery
  5. Hon Appointments Officer – Pete Bamber
  6. Hon Scorers Officer – Nick Evanson
  7. Hon Education Officer - Martin Webb
  8. Hon Performance Officer – Gavin Lane

             The proposal was unanimously agreed.           

 The proposal from the Management Committee that the DACO Representative on DCL Committee would be Andy Forward was also unanimously agreed.           

  1. Appointment of Auditor:

The Treasurer proposed (and was seconded by Tom Waldock) for the retention of Robert Loxton & Co. as examining accountants (whose fee, including vat, is very generous for the time taken for thoroughly examining and preparing the accounts). The proposal was unanimously agreed.           

  1.  Life and Honorary Members:

There were no proposals from the West Area for any Life or Honorary members for 2013. However, the Chairman explained the decision from the Management Committee to arrange perpetual Associate Membership of ECB ACO for current DACO Life & Honorary members. The Secretary answered a question from the floor on how many people this would be by explaining that the present number of 9 persons would, at current rates, effectively cost DACO £99 annually (due to the individual member rebate).

This was proposed by Paul Dart and seconded by Chris Shelton. The proposal was unanimously agreed.

  1.  The “Tony Miller” award

This award is traditionally awarded to a member of AGM host area.  Gavin Lane gave the following address:

ACO member 3134 has been a long standing and involved umpire in the West Area and across Devon generally, umpiring as a panel umpire for rather more years than most would care to mention (about 20 years).

Although he himself was not a great cricket player, he brings to the game an innate appreciation of its rhythms, moods and nuances. Combined with his unique personal style of player interaction that is calm never flustered, clear never complicated, friendly yet firm and never partisan.

Through many years of diligent application of the highest and consistent umpiring standards he has deservedly earned the respect of the players, whatever their age.

The odd poor decision - assuming of course that there has been one - is accepted not only in accordance with the Laws of Cricket and the Spirit of Cricket but also due to the high degree of respect in which he is held. He has long supported local cricket wholeheartedly and is only too happy to assist new umpires making their way both on field and off. Using his natural teaching skills, he has encouraged many to start, continue and even resume umpiring" He remains a key part of the local scene, the Devon Cricket League Panel and the DACO Grading Sub-Committee.

He is this year's thoroughly worthy winner of the "Tony Miller'" award.

Sadly, he is not able to be with us to receive it, indeed he probably holds the record for the most "apologies" rendered - typical of the Welshman!

He is of course, Eirian Daniels - better known as Danny Daniels.

  1.  Any Other Business

Bill Pinhey reminded all present that Raffle Tickets were being sold and there were a variety of prizes; all monies to be donated for DACO funds.

Mike Taylor asked the Secretary if he knew how many current ECB ACO members there were in Devon and if the DBS situation was improving. The Secretary replied that there were 208 current ACO members in Devon with several in the process of renewal and the DBS situation was much more transparent than ever before. The Chairman added that the current total ECB ACO membership stood at 8473.

  1.  AGM 2014

Date set as Tuesday November 18, 2014 due to be held at The Dolphin Hotel, Bovey Tracey. Arrangements to be made by officials of the South Area.

The President thanked all persons present for attending and particularly to the ‘West' for hosting the AGM. He stated it was an honour & a privilege that he was able to continue to be associated with Devon Cricket. The meeting closed at 20:17.