AGM 2021 PREAMBLE
As last year, we have prepared a few notes to ‘preview ‘what will appear in detail on the formal AGM agenda which will go out to all clubs in the New Year. The AGM will take place on 22nd February next and will be ‘virtual’. We anticipate that actual meetings will not be allowed until well into 2021, and to give clubs sufficient time to debate the agenda items internally, we hope to send out the formal agenda earlier than usual by around the middle of January since voting will have to be on line and it will be difficult if not impossible to debate any items in a realistic way.
The main proposed constitution and rule changes will be as listed below, along with a few items of information arising out of recent committee meetings. The prospective changes arose largely out of the “survey-monkey” questionnaire responses and, at this stage of course, assume that the adaptations necessary for the 2020 season will no longer be necessary. The committee felt that only where there was a strong majority for change (or not) would we include the item on the agenda. So, using the numbering on the survey, the following come out of the results of the survey and, where change from the original pre-covid constitution and match rules is proposed, that prospective change is shown in red type:-
1. Withdrawals /Additions to the structure. There has been only one team withdrawing from the structure but 10 new teams have applied to enter for 2021.
2. Premier/Championship game format. There was a majority in favour of reverting to the mixed format. So, there will be nine timed games and nine limited overs games as before the pandemic.
3. Teas. Much to the committee’s surprise there was a majority in favour of reverting back to pre-Pandemic provision of Teas and, in the Premier and Championship timed games Lunches. The committee will look at this again during and after the 2021 season.
4. Reduced overs. There was a strong majority in favour of reverting back to the original length of game. So we propose no change to the original 2020 match rules.
5. Start Times. Here there was a strong majority in favour of keeping the earlier start times that were utilised in 2020. So we propose 12.00 start times throughout the structure (save for the Premier and Championship timed games which will start at 11.00am). In 2020 the 12.00 start only went down to 6b but we will ask clubs in 7a-10b, and separately the Regional structure, to vote on a 12.00 start as well.
6. Extending regional structure. There was a majority in favour of considering an extension to the regional structure. We have a large league with many journey times longer than perhaps they ought to be .So we intend to draft a proposed change to the regional structure to incorporate teams within divisions 10a and 10b and to divide the geographical league into four quadrants. This will clearly only apply to 2022 as clubs, especially with teams in 10a and 10b will have to consider the implications. The full proposal will be in the AGM agenda.
7. Proposed new Sunday competition. As you will be aware, we are not taking this further at the moment and we have already asked clubs to apply to enter the Sunday T/20 as held in previous seasons.The Sunday Development league structure will also continue, hopefully with more clubs entering. Details to follow.
8. Payment of players. Clubs were strongly in favour of keeping the existing rule prohibiting payment below the Championship. The problem, as mentioned in the survey itself, is one of enforcement. We took that large majority as a signal for us to beef up the ability to enforce compliance. We will include with the AGM agenda a pro-forma which we will require the Chairs of all clubs to sign, confirming that their club will adhere to the rule. In addition, clubs wishing to register player/coaches (be they overseas or home-grown) will have to supply copies of their coaching contracts with the club (with salaries redacted if required) along with their DBS clearance and qualifications before registration will be accepted. We believe that some clubs have used the excuse ‘he’s paid to coach’ to try to circumvent the rule and whilst many clubs will pay coaches to coach, which is permissible, we want the ability to be able to verify that it really is a coaching payment.
9. Registration of team sheets. This was not part of the survey. You may recall that, at the 2020 AGM, a committee proposal to require all teams for each match throughout the season to be posted on the website before the start of each match was defeated. The reason behind the proposal was to help our registration sub-committee deal with the problems caused by clubs ‘dropping’ players to lower teams after the end of July when such demotions are only to be based on form rather than a wish to boost the strength of that lower team when the relegation and promotion issues become relevant. By having the information readily available on the website, clubs complaining about such matters would be able to see where players had been playing generally and we would ask the clubs themselves to justify the demotion without involving the league. Only when to clubs could not resolve the matter would the sub-committee become involved. An amended proposal requiring the posting of the team before 9.00pm on the day of the match was to be put to an EGM before the 2020 Captains’ meeting which of course did not take place. It will be on the 2021 agenda.
· As mentioned in previous postings on the website, the category 3e player category has been abolished. So the only categories are now 3, 2 and 1. In order to be within category 1, a player has to have been ordinarily resident in England and Wales for no less than 210 days in each of three consecutive years prior to 31st March in the year when registering with the league. If those periods are not established, then the player will be category 3.Only one category 3 and one category 2 player will be allowed in each team. The constitution will be amended to reflect this change in the ECB regulations.
· No overseas players entering the country under a Tier 5 Visa can play below the Championship.
· During the Pandemic, Saracens suspended their sponsorship of the league, with the stated intention to reinstate it at the appropriate time. We can announce that in January we will meet with Saracens to discuss that reinstatement of the sponsorship and, whilst this is likely to be at a reduced level, we are very pleased to be able to confirm that the long-standing arrangement with Saracens will continue. This will clearly affect our income stream, and probably the prize money that has hitherto been available.
· Balls invoices for 2020 will go out to clubs in January for payment by the 2021 captains’ meeting, virtual or otherwise, along with the 2021 ball order form. We are pleased to confirm that there will be no price changes for 2021.
· For 2020, we changed the method of paying umpires so that clubs paid the league after the league paid the umpires. This avoided having to pay umpires on the day and it is believed that this new system was preferred. The 2020 invoices will now be sent out to the clubs in the coming weeks.We intend to adopt the same procedure for 2021 with clubs being issued with two invoices, one at the mid-point of the season the other after the season finishes.
· As you will have seen, Mike Wood is standing down from the committee at the 2021 AGM after, only, 35 years as a committee member of the Herts League and its predecessor the Hertfordshire Competition. More on Mike’s unsurpassed contribution to Hertfordshire cricket will follow. True to form, Mike has found three people who are willing to take over various parts of his roles within the league. Richard Mason of West Herts CC, who already assists Mark Shepherd on his registration sub-committee and Pete Dudley of Berkhamsted CC have agreed to stand for election onto the committee to deal with results, fixtures and IT matters and Richard Bayliss, who writes the end of season report for the Handbook, has agreed to take over the production of the Handbook itself.
I hope you all have as good a Christmas break as we are allowed to have, and I believe that we can all look forward to a more normal 2021 season.