Report of the 2021 AGM
The AGM took place "virtually" again this year. 52 members attended. The President, Quiller Barrett, when opening the meeting, disclosed that Eugene Chang ("the background maestro") and Mark Suter were at the controls.
Jonathan Isaacs gave the Council's annual report. He said that, during the past 12 months, the Council had examined many issues. The Competitive Play Working Group, led by David Openshaw had made three sets of recommendations, all of which had been accepted and would be implemented by the Board. The Council had approved the CA's Inclusivity, Equality & Diversity Policy and new Disciplinary and Appeals and Complaints Procedures. A review of the Membership policy had also been undertaken and the Performance and Coaching review was continuing. Probably the most important review was that relating to the legal status of the Croquet Association. In April 2020, the Hon. Secretary and the Hon. Treasurer had been invited to come up with detailed recommendations. They took legal advice and presented their paper in May 2021. Council agreed that the CA should incorporate and, in addition, should seek charitable status. It was further agreed that the membership should be consulted before any decisions were made about the voting membership of the new organisation and this consultation was now taking place.
The Chairman paid a special tribute to Ian Vincent who had been the Hon. Secretary for the last 13 years. His commitment to the CA, not only in his role as Secretary but in many other areas, had been superb. He wished him a very happy and enjoyable retirement.
Beatrice McGlen presented the report from the Executive Board. The last 12 months had been a time for developing the role of the Board and its six directors. The remit for each director had been broadly agreed when they were appointed in October 2020 but working relationships with the various committees in each of their portfolios had to be established. The relationship between the Executive Board and the other parts of the CA was described in a diagram (available on the website) showing the overlapping portfolios. This was a 'living' model that had undergone various modifications.
Ian Burridge reported, in absentia (since he was playing for Wales in the GC World Team Championships (Tier 2) in southern Spain), that the 2020 accounts spoke for themselves. He also provided a brief overview of 2021. The on-going effects of Covid were still visible. There were significant positive and negative differences in various income and expenditure areas. He expressed confidence that the overall outcome for 2021 would be better than 2020 and would show significant progress towards the desired balanced budget.
The retiring Hon. Secretary announced that the constitutional amendment relating to the new Complaints Procedure had been passed unanimously.
In the absence of other candidates, John Reddish was elected as Hon. Secretary and Ian Burridge was re-elected as Hon. Treasurer.
John Reddish explained that the new Complaints Procedure would be administered by Stephen Mulliner and that a new "Secretariat" would come into operation. Patricia Duke-Cox would undertake the required secretarial duties for the Council and Andrew Willis would do the same for the Executive Board. He would himself undertake the other tasks assigned to the Hon. Secretary by the Constitution, the Standing Orders and the Practice Book. He would also contribute to the revision of those documents and welcome assistance from Mark Suter and Andy Dibben in confronting the challenges imposed by modern information technology.
The Coach of the Year Award for 2020 was presented to Stephen Custance-Baker of Taunton Deane CC.
The Club awards (which are given every 2 years to clubs that have made the most progress) were presented to Nottingham (the Millennium Award); Crake Valley (the Apps-Heley Award) and jointly to Winterborne Valley and Sheffield (the Townsend Award). In addition to the trophies they will each receive £250 from the CA.
CA Diplomas, for outstanding services to clubs and federations over a long period, were awarded to: David Bell (Leicester); David Brydon (Nottingham); Margaret Eccles (Bury); Rob Edlin-White (Nottingham); Nick Evans (Northampton); Linda Gavigan (Sussex County); Nick Harris (Norwich); Paul Rigge (North West Federation); Roger Sutton (Sussex County); Peter Wallace (Tyneside) and Andrew Wimshurst (Nailsea). Abbreviated citations for the Diploma winners were read. Those attending the meeting were "spotlighted" and photographs of those absent were displayed.
The Council Medal (the most prestigious award made by the CA) was presented to Jonathan Isaacs.
When closing the meeting, Quiller Barrett paid his own tribute to Ian Vincent, recalling that, in addition to the exceptional work already mentioned, he had "fathered the Nottigham Board". He was "an innovative and supberbly effective administrator" and CA members had benefitted from his "good jugment on all kinds of sensitive croquet matters" and his "diplomatic skills of the highest order".
The President also observed that Zoom croquet meetings have many benefits. He thought it quite possible all the CA's formal General Meetings would be held via Zoom in future. However, he wondered whether, when the time was right, we should arrange national, or regional, face-to-face get-togethers. He had in mind annual conferences open to all members that would include workshops where ideas could be discussed.