The AGM is the time when we record our thanks to everyone who has helped make the Association work over the past season – most of this work is essential but invisible to most of our members. I would like to acknowledge another essential group today. The League is the backbone of what we do and there are some players who are the backbone of the league and who played in every one of their team’s matches last season: Luke Gresty, Graham Jackson, Chris Message, Steve Shaw and Andrew Smith each played 54 individual matches – a remarkable achievement.
Kington Blades finally crossed the last hurdle and headed Division 1, with Littleton Clubs as runners-up. Dave Harvey won all 30 of the games he played for Clubs and was also our Veteran Mens champion. Our President John Mytton steered Wallace House Troopers to the top of Division 2 from Bengeworth Sharks, with Troopers Keith Ferguson top of the averages and also the winner of the Lower Division Individual event. The Team Handicap cup was fought out between two Littleton teams, with Bears beating Cobras.
We are still trying to work out a better system for our championships and we will discuss ideas in this meeting. This year we moved junior events to the same day as cadets and lower divisions. Craig Witheford retained the junior and cadet boys singles, and Holly Bilsborrow the equivalent girls events. The new name on the Handicap Singles trophy is Aileen Phillips. Matt Hartwell and Craig Norledge retained the Mens Doubles in a very close match against Luke Moffat and Jack Davis. Matt regained the Mens Singles which he first won in 2002. I regained the Womens Singles which I first won before Matt was born! A new event was an interdivisional doubles which was won by Luke Moffat and James Morrow. We will have to decide what events we should retain going forwards.
Craig Witheford, Gemma McKay and Holly Bilsborrow have all represented Worcestershire at Junior level with Abigail Ingles also drafted in as a last minute substitute, and Gemma was also selected for the senior county team.
There is still concern about the standard of service in our matches. We hope that this can be improved by education as we do not want the sort of disputes that can arise if a non-qualified ‘umpire’ (who is also playing in the match) feels obliged to fault services. Of course I still hope more people will qualify as umpires – this year, as well as the Commonwealth Games, I have umpired in Portugal, Italy and Germany.
On a very positive note for next season, Luke has obtained sponsorship from several sources which you will see reflected in next year’s handbook and score sheets as well as in our balance sheet. We can also record Luke’s success in Cheltenham Closed Championships where he beat the former champion Matt Hartwell in the semi-final and Jaspreet Singh in the final.