Minutes of Meetings


General Purposes Committee Meeting

Held at Kidlington BC on

 Wednesday February 14th 2024, at 7.00 pm




ApologiesSam Watts, David Leighfield.

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

Minutes of the GPC meeting held on Wednesday December 13th, 2023, having been   circulated and signed as a true record. (Distributed with Agenda) 


 Minutes Proposed John HenwoodSeconded   Tony Wright


Matters arising

John Hurren said that following positive comments at the last meeting he had booked the Annual Presentation Dinner once again at the Kirtlington Golf Club for the evening of 19th October 2024.



None received.


Treasurer’s report

There have been few financial transactions since the start of the financial year on 1 Nov, 2023.

To summarise:

Income                 £                Expenditure                    £

Annual dinner            50               Admin (audit)   - 30

                                                         Clubroom hire for meetings -  30

                                                         Past President medal            - 339

                                                         Ian Whelpton , travel costs -  12.45

                                                          HCBA Affiliation fee                 150

Total s                          50                                                                   561.45

Bank Balance on 13 Feb = £11,262.91

I’m expecting a payment from Comp entry fees of £2,503

Ryan Full has submitted a request for kit for the younger players squad of:

26 pairs of shorts;  18 County shirts & 12 Hoodies to the County specification.

I received a quotation from Aceit which came to £1,756, but they offer a 10% discount for Junior bowlers, so this makes it £1,580.

I seek authorisation to place this order, which is needed for the start of the new season. I will try to get some sponsorship for the youngbowlers section, but this won’t be until after the order has been placed. Please discuss and then vote on this.

John Hurren, Hon Treasurer

As stated in the report the Treasurer requested authorisation from the GPC to order the new kit for the youngsters. This was proposed by John Henwood and seconded by Chris Weller. A vote was taken and carried unanimously. The Secretary said it would be sensible to link item 8 on the agenda,loan of kit to U25 members,to this payment. He said the form needed amendment before using ie the squad member retained the kit they were issued with, until they were no longer eligible to play, or they required a different size. If kit was lost or returned in poor condition, then a percentage of the cost of the kit may be charged to that person to purchase new kit.

County fixtures 2024 update, County player selection

The Match Secretary said he was making progress with Sussex, regarding the Middleton Cup fixture to be played against them, and had decided to bypass the Sussex Match Secretary, with who he could have no sensible dialogue, and had contacted the Sussex Middleton Cup Manager directly, to see if agreement could be reached on the choice of a neutral venue, which according to BE rules must be used if the mileage between Counties is too great. He was now awaiting confirmation that Sussex had found a neutral venue, that was mutually convenient to both sides.The new HampshireMatch Secretary had apologised for the venue at Fordingbridge being further for Oxfordshire to travel than he would have liked, but having taken over the role recently, his list of options had been limited. Somerset had contacted the Match secretarylast week to say that the friendly fixture against them would only feature a 1 course meal, cost of the game would be £7.00 for the day. The game against Isle of Wight, to be played in Southampton, might prove difficult as the only parking available wasa public car park, across the road from the club.The Match Secretary said he  would deal with this issue nearer the game.

Competition/Draws update/ Finals green recommendations.John Henwood said he would deal with an omission from the Mens Pairs draw for a team from Witney Mills, and also a competitor from Thame in the 2- wood. He also said that Umpires had been contacted for the final stages of the National Competitions.

The recommendations from Martyn Cooper on conditions, settings, and quality of the Greens that would be chosen for the final stages of the National competitions were very well received by the committee who thought them both practical, and attainable.

“Ideally every green should be flat with no runs or bumps, but we don't live in an ideal world. We could go down the route of applying the Bowls England standards which would take ages and would probably alienate most of the clubs and their greenkeepers.


My personal thoughts are that we apply common sense to allow clubs to reach the standards required to host a County final.


How the green looks is not necessarily that important, especially given climate change, with long periods of hot dry weather, and indeed protracted rain showers as we had in 2023.


The requirements to allow bowlers a good chance to play accurately are as follows:


1. Six rinks must be available (in one direction)

2. The rinks must be as flat as possible (holes or bumps will impede the path of the bowls)

3. All four hands on each rink must be of a good standard (deviation due to 'runs' must be negligible to allow 'shots' to be played.)

4. The pace or speed of the green needs to be as quick as possible. (nice thick grass doesn't always allow for this to happen)

5. The green must be cut down to 4 to 4.5mm on the day of the competition (3.5mm can be achieved if the green is flat)

6. The rinks must be on the best possible marks to allow for accuracy.

7. The height of the grass on the edges shouldn't impede a bowls path to the ditch (i.e. grass can be longer on the edges of the green but shouldn't stop the bowl or jack from entering the ditch)


How the green is maintained throughout the year makes a huge difference as good preparation in the spring, especially if there has been an impact with disease, is essential. Prolonged periods of heat or rain will make it hard to maintain these standards.”


A vote was taken on their adoption which was carried unanimously, and it was agreed those greens who had been short listed for use should each receive a copy before selection took place so that they knew the standard and quality of green that was expected.

Martyn said if there were queries from any of those Clubs on the items listed, he would be happy to try and answer them.

Under 25 Loan of kit form, implementation 2024. – See above under Treasurers report.

Unification update. Items for discussion at Bowls Oxfordshire AGM.

The Secretary said that the next meeting of the Bowls Oxfordshire Executive committee would take place on Wednesday 21st Feb. Items on the agenda were mainly what should be discussed at the AGM, a policy on photography of children in the bowls environment, and implementation of a shadow structure this year. Julia Lambert who it was hoped would take on the role of County Treasurer, had decided tostand down from that role so a replacement would be required, if one could be found. John Hurren added that although all the policies and new Constitution had been on the BO website since early December, not a single comment had been forthcoming on the content.Therefore at the end of February the 3 month consultation period which had been designated would come to an end, John said he was taking this as a positive response, in that nobody had found any issue with any of the documents so far produced.

Bowls Oxfordshire matters-

Bowls England matters. Discussion of the 19 recommendations re National Championships to be discussed and voted on at the Bowls England AGM in February. (Summary and document circulated with Agenda.

It was suggested that perhaps Bowls England strategy was to put forward all of the recommendations with little or no time for each County to receive feedback on the matter from Clubs, as this was a strategy that had appeared to have been used on other occasions, when important decisions had to be made, leaving less time for responses to come back.

The Secretary said he had received feedback from one GPC member who was unable to be at tonight’s meeting but wanted to make his views known on each recommendation.

He said he wished to go through each recommendation one by one giving every member of the committee the opportunity to comment. And would also voice the missing committee members view, and two views received by Bowls Oxfordshire Administrator Alan Scholan. Alan would also give context and reasoning behind some of the recommendations as he had attended the webinar/;drop in session at which BE had first discussed these proposals.

After discussion on each recommendation, a vote would be taken on whether to agree or disagree to the proposal, which would be noted and minuted, before moving on to the next one.

This would only be the view of course of the GPC committee, and other views may be taken into account before giving the final response at the Bowls England AGM.

National Competitions Changes



Summary of 19 Proposals for 2024 BE AGM


Proposal No

Subject to agreement




Elevate status of Blue Riband events




Elevate status of Balcomb &Walker events



Alter formats of White Rose and Amy Rose   Accept



Junior events all Under 24




Introduce Under 17 singles events




Introduce new inter-county regional events



Retain Middleton and Johns




Introduce new inter-county Over 60 event




Alter format of Top Clubs to 6-a-side




Make Club Two Fours an open event




Restrict Champ of Champs to Club Champs only




Remove 2-wood singles from Natl Finals




Senior events to be Over 60




Retain Over 55 for Senior Fours event




Introduce new Novice Pairs event




Restrict entry to Family Pairs




Consolidate the administration all events




Counties to continue to manage events




Introduce set dates for Top Club






Notes about discussions taken and position reached


National competitions changes for 2024

1. To elevate Blue Riband. All in agreement, vote taken andaccepted.

2.To elevate top-level county competition. After discussion, vote taken, and proposal rejectedbut agreement with David Leighfield comments on the type of format used, ie staying with 2 rinks.

3.WhiteRose and Amy Rose bowl, after discussion, accepted that it is a format worth trying, one abstention, one against, majority for it.

4. Standardise the age in all junior events to U24 on 1st April – agree with standardisation, but all feel age should remain at U25 rather than U24. Reject.

5. U17 singles event for both genders, after discussion, voted on and accepted.

6. Create multi-county regional events. All against this proposal for a number of reasons, unanimously rejected.

7. Retain Middleton Cup and Johns Trophy – retain same format, round robin, Ladies would also want to retain the same format. Retain round robin. Voted on and accepted.

8. Introduce mixed over 60 inter-county event as played as straight knockout – 6 carried in principle. Voted on and accepted.

9. Revamp the Top Club event. The most contentious proposal to be debated, and a mixed reaction. Those representing larger Clubs that had played the existing format, felt it was the best format to play, others representing smaller Clubs said that they had wanted to play Top Club before, but didn’t think they had sufficient quality of players to try it, this format would give the opportunity. Alan provided context, by saying that BE were concerned that only 10 percent of the Clubs nationally played the competition, and this was falling each year.This was the main reason for suggesting the new format. The voting reflected this difference in opinion. – 4 agree – 2 abstain - 2 disagree. Accepted.

10. Amend club two fours (double fours) to an open event. Viewson this were ambivalent but voted on and accepted.

11. Restrict entry in the Champion of Champions to ‘Club Champions ONLY’. Debated and voted on 7 agree, 1 disagree. Majority decision but accepted.

12. Remove two bowls singles championship from the national finals programme. Short debate but all against this.After vote, unanimously rejected.

13. Increase the age limit for all senior events (exclude senior fours) to players over 60 on 1st April annually. 6 members in agreement, voted on and by a majority, accepted.

14. Retain Senior fours age limit in line with British Isles qualification requirements. Again, mixed views on this, but after voting rejected

15. Novice pairs for new and less experienced players. All could see the idea behind this, but the main stumbling block would be definition of a novice bowler. Voted on and unanimously rejected.

16. Change eligibility to the Family Pairs to anyone who has NOT played international or county level. As David Leighfield commented, it limits the competitions that one person can enter, because of entry stipulations. Voted on and unanimously rejected.

17.Investigate how to consolidate the administration for the benefit of players etc – (nationals). No issues with this, voted on and accepted.

18. Counties continue to manage championships events. All in general agreement. Voted on and accepted.

19.Introduce set dates in later rounds of the Top Club (as a trial for 2025). Majority could not see a need for this proposal. Voted on and rejected.

AGM voting process –

Alan then asked if the GPC would consider and give a verdict on 3 other BE proposals.


Proposal 20 - "that in the White Rose, allow Counties to put forward two teams a year". Rejected by GPC.


Proposal 21 - "that Counties with two entrants A and B shall be shown in the championship draw to be in separate halves. Therefore, removing the OPEN draw that is now in place". Rejected by GPC.


Proposal 22 - "that the area final stage of the Tony Allcock, Mens and Ladies Top Club and the Mens Club 2 Fours to be played on a neutral green." 

Accepted by GPC.




The Secretary reminded those present that the next GPC meeting would be at Carterton, on Wednesday 13th March, starting at 7.00 pm.


The OBA Council meeting would take place on Wednesday 6th March, at Kidlington BC starting at 7.00 pm.


Following the death of Past President Pete Cross death,it was agreed to make a donation of £100to his chosen charity, as requested by Peters wife Wendy. John Henwood proposed this, and all were in agreement.


Tony Wright asked if a Vice Presidents badge might be purchased, as he had approached 3 people re thisbadge. All agreed that there had been one at some point but did not know nowof its whereabouts. The Secretary proposed that it be discussed at the BO Executive meeting the following week, to try and resolve this issue.



There being no further business to discuss, the meeting closed at 20.40 pm.