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May 2024 Meeting Minutes

Published May 2024

Minutes of the Committee Meeting of the DBA held online 14 May 2024

The meeting opened at 10am.

1. Officers & Members Present: Jacqui Munns (JM) chair; Jeremy Child, vice chair (JC); Neil Marsden (NM) treasurer; Doug Dunn (DD); John Wintle (JW), Sheila Ferguson, (SF), Mike Hamon (MH).

2. Apologies: Bill Luscombe (BL).

3. Minutes dated March 19, 2024

  • These were reviewed and accepted by the committee with no matters arising and are already on the DBA website.

4. Treasurer's Update (NM)

  • There is £6.3K in the current account and £20K in the savings account. NM reported that the new savings account is accruing interest at a faster rate than the previous account.
  • The DBA yearly accounts are still being prepared, but there is likely to be a small deficit of around £100 for the year. While the Devon County Congress made a surplus, entry fees for the Devon competitions were kept low to encourage entries, and resulted in all competitions running at a loss. It was suggested that once the full accounts are available, we review spending and plan a strategy for going forward.

5. AGM Planning

  • The DBA AGM will take place on Zoom on Sunday, July 14 at 1100. There will be an option for everyone present to hold a proxy for another member and this should be encouraged to ensure that the meeting is quorate.
  • Officers and committee members were asked if they were prepared to stand again. DD said that he would step down from the central committee and all subcommittees at the AGM. All those present expressed their gratitude to DD for his huge contribution to the running of the DBA in general and the success of the Devon County Congress (DCC) in particular. SF kindly offered to take over his role in running the Devon County Congress along with the other members of the DCC subcommittee.
  • Action JM to ask Ruth to put a notice on the website, members asked to advertise the AGM in their clubs. 

6. Section Reports

East Devon Section

  • Nine teams entered the Don Pearson Memorial Event on April 21, 2024 raising almost £350 for a cat charity close to Don’s heart. Congratulations to the winning team Viv Mably & Richard Lingham with Gillian & Joe Fawcett.
  • The East Devon Section has voted to close and be subsumed into the DBA. The John Woolcott weekend and the Eastern League competition will continue. This news has raised several questions related to the cash flow for these events and how this might impact on the work of the DBA treasurer.
    Action NM & JC to arrange a meeting with Tim Barnes, the treasurer of the East Section, to discuss these and related issues and report back.

North Devon Section

  • The 4th North Devon Bridge seminar took place on Tuesday, March 26, 2024 at the Barnstaple Library with 20 players in attendance. 
  • In early May, Barnstaple Bridge Club committee made the decision to suspend sessions due to repeated low attendances.  An Extraordinary General Meeting has been arranged for Thursday, June 6, 2024 to agree future plans for the club.
  • The other two clubs in the North, Braunton & Taw Vale, are doing well with an average of seven and five tables, respectively.
    The date for the next Filleigh charity event is Sunday November 17, 2024.
  • Following on from the closure of the East Section, and now that the North Section is likely to have just two clubs to represent, the role of the Section will be discussed at future meetings and at the North Section AGM on Wednesday, July 3, 2024 at Braunton Bridge Club.

West Devon Section

  • Whether the West Section should follow suit and close down was briefly discussed.
    Action MH to consider this and report back.

South Devon Section

  • None received.

7. Concessions for Competition Entry 

  • Whether the DBA should be offering concessions for competition and/or congress entry for some groups including under 26s was raised recently at the Devon County Congress, and was briefly discussed in the meeting.
    Action JC to prepare a paper on the subject for circulation.

8. Sub-committee Reports

(i) Competitions subcommittee report 
The subcommittee (JM, JC & BL) has not met since the last DBA meeting.

  • Western Morning News Teams of Four Knockout - In the group stage there is one match still outstanding, due to be played on May 16. This does not impact on the final between teams headed by Warner Solomon & Richard Lingham, which was played on Sunday, May 11, and won by Warner’s team. 
    Unfortunately, Warner’s team are unable to field a team of four for the Pachabo and following discussion in the meeting, they will be offered the option of inviting players from the runners up team to make up a new team, as the EBU regulations allow. 
    Action JM to write to Warner re the above and then enter the Devon team for the Pachabo. Once all matches in the qualifier are complete, JM will also send the results to Jonathan Lillicrop at the EBU for green points to be assigned.
  • Devon Club Teams-of-Eight - Unfortunately, the advertised start time of this event changed at short notice, causing some inconvenience to Devon’s team, Torquay Bridge Club. Happily, the team were still able to attend the regional final of the Garden Cities Trophy competition on May 11, 2024 in Bristol. The team came tie third overall and just missed out on qualification for the final.
  • The Julia Chadwick Devon Pairs - Eleven pairs took part in this competition on BBO on Saturday, March 21, 2024. Congratulations to the winners Stefan Lindfors & Jim Grant who will represent Devon in the Corwen Trophy competition on the weekend of June 15 & 16, along with runners up pairs Alex Maddocks & Jacek Pietrzycki and Doug Dunn & Bill Luscombe.
  • Western League 2023–24 - Devon played Wiltshire in the final round of this competition on April 6, 2024. The final standings of the Devon A, B, & C teams were 2nd, 3rd, and 2nd, respectively. Congratulations to all who took part.

(ii) Devon County Congress (DCC) subcommittee

  • The Devon County Congress (DCC) took place on the weekend of April 12-14, 2024, with 44 pairs and 20 teams in attendance. Congratulations to the winning pair Alan Wearmouth & Tony Hill and to the winning team Tim Rees & Ceri Pierce with Paul Denning & Ian Hamilton.
  • A debrief meeting took place on April 19, 2024. Overall, the TD, Colin Wilcox felt that there were no real issues and that the organization of the event was better than the previous year. It was agreed that for next year, the scoring booklets will have an extra column for the opening lead and a section for scoring boards in the triple, and there will be a complete extra set of extra boards available. Feedback suggested that food and drink at the hotel was very good. Next year, tea and coffee pots are to be labelled and arranged on tables with access on both sides. Hot drinks will be served at the same time as the lunch platters. It was agreed that the Host added great value for the cost.
  • Next year’s DCC will take place at the TLH Toorak Hotel in Torquay on April 11-13, 2025 with Colin Simcox the TD and Jeremy Child as Master of Ceremonies (MC). 
    Action The committee will meet soon to welcome SF as the new chair and to allow DD to handover.

(iii) Education & Teaching Subcommittee Report
The subcommittee (JM, JC & BL) has not met since the last DBA meeting.

  • Three North Devon committee members plus one other player attended the Teach the Teacher course in April and are planning to run a beginner’s course starting in October 2024 in Barnstaple.

(iv) Engagement Subcommittee Report
The subcommittee (JM, JC & DD) has not met since the last DBA meeting. However, members of the subcommittee continue to make informal contact with clubs, enquiring about teaching, directing, and what support the clubs might want from the DBA.

(v) EBU Festival of Bridge Subcommittee Report
The new Festival subcommittee (JM, DD, JW & NM) met on Zoom on May 2. There was a brief discussion about possible events that could be run at club and county level during and before the EBU Festival week to raise awareness of Bridge and attract new players.

  • JM had already organised for the DBA to have a stall with one table for MiniBridge at RHS Rosemoor’s Great Hobby weekend on May 4 & 5, and all those present in the meeting agreed to take part in this event. Over the weekend, many people played MiniBridge with us and at least 18 names and contact details of people interested in learning Bridge were collected.
  • A second event will take place in the Barnstaple Library on the morning of Saturday, July 13.
  • JM and others have also been attending the regular EBU Festival Zoom meetings, and it seems that most events planned by clubs in other counties are aimed at their existing members (and Cancer Research) rather than to attract more players. JM has contacted the Cancer Research Relationship Manager to try and access local support from the charity in the planning and running of events during Festival week with limited success so far, and will keep trying.

9. Dispute between EBU & EBED 

  • As Devon shareholders, JM & MH have been receiving emails from various parties regarding a disagreement between the EBU and EBED. The EBED board asked that the EBU reappoint Lee Guy as the chair of EBED at the end of his term but this was refused and led to the resignation of all EBED Trustees, who have now been replaced by members of the EBU board. This situation was discussed briefly in the meeting. 
    Action MH has agreed to approach Gillian Fawcett and Gordon Rainsford for their view on what is happening and the way forward.

10. Devon Equipment Inventory 

  • Terence Treeby (TT) has asked that the committee find a storage solution for the equipment that he currently holds and this was again briefly discussed. It seems that at least some of the equipment at TT’s home belongs to Torquay Bridge Club.
  • MH mentioned that he is storing some equipment including several trophies.
  • Action. MH will provide an inventory of the equipment he holds including the trophies, to give an estimate of the space that would be required for storage.

11. AOB 

  • None

12. Future Meetings

  • Next DBA central committee meeting will be on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at 2pm on Zoom.

Meeting ended at 11.20am.