Minutes of Meetings

General Purposes Committee Meeting

Held at Kidlington BC on

 Monday December 13 2023, at 7.00 pm




Apologies– Sam Watts, David Leighfield, Ryan Full.

In attendance Chris Weller, Mike Morris, John Hurren, John Henwood, Alex Fleming, Tony Wright, Martyn Cooper, Ron Smith, and Alan Scholan.

Minutes of the GPC meeting held on Monday September 11th, 2023,having been circulated and signed as a true record. (Distributed with Agenda) 

 Minutes Proposed John Hurren Seconded John Henwood

Matters arising 

There were no matters arising.

Correspondence HCBA

The Hon. Sec said he had received the following correspondence from John Lonergan, the HCBA Secretary, in response to correspondence sent by him in May this year, regarding the finances of the organisation, After reading out the contents of the letter,  discussion followed.

It was felt that £4,000 was still quite a large amount to hold in reserves, with no refunds offered, and subscriptions remaining at £150.00 per County for next season.It was agreed to keep this matter under review.

“Your letter of the 25th of May 2023, on behalf of the Oxford Bowls Association, requested that the Home Counties Bowls Association consider the appropriate level of funds to be held, and the subscriptions for 2024. You further requested that this be discussed by the member Counties of the HCBA at our next meeting.

I can confirm that, these issues were discussed at length at our October Management meeting, and I am now informing you of the decisions made, and the background to those decisions.

It was recognised that following the total loss of funds in 2018/2019, that the Counties have been very supportive in reestablishing HCBA reserves. The growth of funds to circa £3,000 arose in part from the impact on our activities of Covid over the 2020/21 period. As the Leagues and Championships have now got back on track, the expenses have risen accordingly. The 2023 accounts will show that our outgoings now match our income from subscriptions.     

There is a one-off income item this year of £248, arising from the Court action to recover HCBA losses. Based on the foregoing, the meeting agreed the following approach:

  1. Limited increases in future expenditure as we return to pre-covid activity levels
  2. Holding financial reserves at the current level for contingency purposes
  3. To address the concerns of member Counties, a cap of £4,000 be placed on the HCBA reserves. In the unlikely event that this occurs, member Counties will have a “subscriptions holiday” until reserves fall below this level.
  4. Subscriptions to be held at the 2022 and 2023 level of £150 for the 2024 year.

The meeting expressed its thanks to its member Counties for supporting the HCBA during a difficult three-year period, and establishing a stable financial platform for its activities.

Hopefully this report back will allay any fears that the OBA may have as to the level of funds held, and their management by the Home Counties team. Once more thank you for Oxfordshire’s ongoing support of the HCBA, and the interest shown in its funding.”


John Lonergan    Hon Secretary of the Home Counties Bowls Association      


Treasurer’s report

County Treasurer John Hurren reported that there had been few transactions in the current financial period. The only income had been the late payment for two meals at the annual dinner. and outgoings for a gift to the auditor (wine £11.98); postage and stationary- £9; Hire of the Kidlington club room for meetings - £30 and the Past Presidents medal - £338.94.   The bank balance is currently £11,425., with one cheque of £60 having not been presented yet.

From the end of May 2024, I intend to send copies of our accounts monthly to Julia Lambert for her ghost accounts for all bowling sections as a trial run. In March 2025 I will close the current OBA account with Barclays and transfer any funds to the new Bowls Oxfordshire account for the unified Bowling Association.   Alan Scholan indicates that competition entry costs coming to the OBA will be for very similar numbers, although the increase for domestic cups from £2.50 to £3 will benefit us. 

No questions were asked regarding this statement.

OBA Vice President.

The Hon. Sec said that following the October OBA Council meeting Tony Wright had approached him and asked if he could stand for OBA Vice-President for 2024. The Hon Sec had explained that Tony had missed the deadline for nomination, and that he needed to be nominated by his Club (OC&C) and also needed to discuss the matter with President elect Mike Morris. This had taken a while and had taken it past the date of the OBA AGM. However, verbal assurance had now been given by OC&C, with written confirmation to follow that they supported Tony’s nomination, and President Mike Morris was also in favour. With no other nominations for the post, and help required, this would be a one off, one year appointment. The Hon Sec said he would send Tony the latest Job Description, the particular emphasis in the role was assisting with the under 25’s and junior section bowling in general.

The appointment was put to a vote, and carried unanimously,

The Hon Sec said he would inform Club Secretaries of the appointment.

Annual Presentation Dinner review

John Hurren said he had neither heard or received any negative comments or discouraging comments about any aspect of the Presentation dinner, and as a result with GPC approval he suggested that he book next year’s event at the same venue for the evening ofSaturday 19th October 2024.

All approved this idea.

It was suggested that a third course option might be added, even if the price increased proportionately.John Hurren said he would look into this when further contact was made.

It was pointed out that BOL had chosen the Hopcroft’sHolt once again, but hadbeen very disappointed with their event. Potentially going forward a mixed event with Ladies, in 2025, might be a possibility.

HCBA delegates

The Hon Sec said that he had added this topic to the agenda just to confirm who the HCBA delegate/s would be in the coming year.Mike Morris confirmed his appointment as delegate;with another offering assistance being ideal. There were usually 3 meetings a year held at Chessington. Mike said he would contact HCBA Past President Ian Whelptonfor further details.

OBA GPC meeting/Council/AGM dates (already circulated).

The Hon. Sec said he had circulated the dates for this year’s GPC, OBA Council and AGM meetings. He reminded everyone that at the September GPC meeting it had been suggested that meetings were occasionally hosted by other Clubs if they were interested. Ryan had suggested that Carterton might be, and this had been confirmed. Therefore,he proposed the meeting on March 13th be held at Carterton BC. The format would be that anything contentious on the agenda would be dealt with first by the GPC, and then the Secretary and Chairman of the host club would be invited to join the meeting and take part in further discussion, although if a vote were required on any topic, they would not be eligible to vote. A space on the agenda would be available for Carterton to raise 3 topics which they would like to debate, and this would then take place. It was hoped that if all parties found it beneficial then it would be offered to other clubs.

The Hon.Sec said he would contact Carterton Secretary Nigel Rawlins to make him aware of the arrangements.

County Competition dates 2024, and organisation.

John Henwood said that dates and venues for the latter stages of all the competitions had now been finalised, with one or two final tweaks to be made. He read out the list of agreed venues and dates on which these venues and games would be played.

He announced an increase in entries of 28, across all county competitions, saying it was nice to see more Clubs entering this year, although5 clubs had not entered any competitions, some of them having regularly done so before.

He felt there was a responsibilityto support those clubs which may be struggling.

David Leighfield had sent some questions which the Hon. Sec said he had forwarded to John Henwood for replies.

The draws for all the competitions would be made sometime between Christmas and the New Year and announced in January 2024.

Dress code for marking of County and Domestic semi- finals and finals.

The Hon. Sec.said that this had been discussed previously and provisionally a new “uniform” had been agreed:


County shirt/grey trousers and white shoes. Or, if a club member who did not have a county shirt agreed to mark, then Club shirt with grey trousers and white shoes.


This was a nice simple combination to remember and could be implemented next season.

A vote was taken and carried unanimously.

Starring of greens

This matterhad been ongoing since March last year and discussed previously, Ian Whelpton had eventually produced a report, which essentially suggested that starring of greens was not essential in his opinion, for various reasons stated. Ian was originally receiving help from former GPC member Michel Grossnickel, who as a qualified umpire was going to deal with the technical side of things, iesize of green, ditch heights etc. but this did not happen.

Martyn Cooper added that in his experience of greenkeeping, this technical area needed to be looked at, particularly if the greens are being used for the finals. He went on to say that no green in the County has 6 perfectrinks, but if they were going to be used as venues for the final stages of national competitions then you need 6 rinks available, and they must be on the best marks available.

The Hon. Sec asked Martyn if he would suggest perhaps 6 or more basic recommendations for theseGreens that might be used. He said he would be happy to do that, and also suggested that facilities needed to be taken into account ie car parking, changing rooms etc, before the reviewof the standard of each green 4- 6 weeks before finals.

County games/ Middleton cup/ HCL/Friendlies.

Alexsaid he wasstill waiting to hear back from Sussex regarding a neutral venue, Sussex wanting to play the Middleton cup game at Worthing.Middlesex are currently without a fixture secretary, so arranging the away HCL fixture was taking time to do!

There were three friendlies still to sort –Hampshire, Gloucestershire, and Buckinghamshire, which for different reasons were taking a while to arrange.

No contact had been made by thePast President re Middleton Cup in 2024.

Further Unification update

The Bowls Oxfordshire Executive hadreviewed all their remaining policies at their meeting the previous week.All polices except DP24 (Competition Rules) have been signed off.The constitution is finished and been signed off; remaining policy document and final constitution will go on the website soon.

Sometime in Februarythe next meeting of the BO Exec will take place to discuss and focus on the AGM in March, Items to be discussed will include steps to follow for next year ready for 2025. Thanks, and credit to all involved to have got the project this far.

John Hurren said early in the new year he would be working on how the new website will look, - and would like some feedback ideally before March. John Hurren and Caspar will run two websites in tandem, the existing one visible to public, and then another being developed until 31st March 2025 when on 1st April 2025 the new site will be open and ready to go live.

There will be similar tabs in the sections and within tabs more detail – all policies and constitution will be in one place.

John Henwood said that from conversation he had engaged in a number of people were still not aware that the OBA and BOL would cease to exist. Based on the amount of information that had been distributed it was difficult to know why this was.

Alan will contact BE re their website from which they have removed the BE constitution for updating and amending it is presumed. Martyn said he was awaiting advice on the matter for Clubs in Oxfordshire, and in particular his, Banbury Chestnuts, as he wished to see what the amended BE contained, so he could do a similar job with hisClubs constitution.

Alan Scholan – suggested putting out a template Constitutionfor Clubs.

Bowls Oxfordshire matters.

John Henwood mentionedSafeguarding and basic SG course to be heldon 20th April 2024 at 10.00am venue TBC.4.5-hour course £45.00 per delegate, the Hon Sec to sendout to all secretaries. If all 20 places can be accommodated it will be open to Bowls Oxfordshire. Ideally want to capture as many clubs as we can, Safeguarding Officers whose qualifications are out of date by more than 3 years need to take these courses.

The Hon. Sec said that he had asked Ron Smith to join the GPC, with the idea of him eventually becoming the OBA Safeguarding Officer,and following that, if all agreed,for him to become the Bowls Oxfordshire Safeguarding officer.

It was also mentioned that BE are aware they need to do more, and perhaps with a different approach, to reassure Clubs about Safeguarding issues, and how they deal with these, especially if it is a smaller club, with a small membership.

BE have confirmed it will still be mandatory from 2025 for each club to have their own SGO.

It was agreed that the County will support Ron if he wishes to take on further courses, after his new Club, Witney Mills, pay for the basic safeguarding course in April.

The Hon. Sec said that he would be updating and amending the Club Details form, which traditionally has been issued to clubs by the Bowls Oxfordshire Administrator, but which he would now do as he retained most club details at present.

Bowls England mattersdominated by competition matters.

Alan said that names had gone forward for the BE celebration matches in 2024.

The list of National competition recommendations made, 17 in total, were explained by Alan.

These were to be reviewed at the BE AGM in February, and each one voted on.


Martyn Cooper asked of the 29 greens in the County, did clubs have experts from BE to provide guidanceon how to prepare and look after their greens?It was stated in reply, that BE offer ‘classes for green keeping’ andinformation packs. Martyn was advised to contact Alastair Hollis at B, to find out the current position on green maintenance and how Clubs could access this information.






There being no further business to discuss the meeting closed at 20.55  pm.