IR advised that he had a number of points to address at this AGM and would leave his usual reminders to the end.
1. The minutes of last year’s AGM recorded his frustrations across a variety of issues, all of which made it increasingly difficult and/or time-consuming to run the league efficiently or effectively.
- Whilst there had still been some thorny issues to deal with during the season, there had been signs of improvement as the season went on.
- By way of example, IR commented that he had taken time to give feedback on scoresheets as they were submitted. This included being very nit-picky on some comparatively minor issues (deliberately so, to encourage ‘95%’ to get to ‘100%’), but it was noticeable that the quality of completion did improve as the season progressed and as clubs took on board the feedback.
- One or 2 scoresheets were a bit blurred as they came through and IR asked secretaries to remember to check the photo they had taken before sending through to GG/IR. If they can’t read it, it is highly unlikely that GG/IR would be able to, either. But overall, there had been improvements.
- IR also reminded clubs that he had produced a checklist following last season’s AGM listing the points clubs and referees needed to remember when signing off scoresheets. He would re-issue them with fixtures schedules for next season for teams to use.
- IR commented that teams all needed to get better at managing player registrations.
- By this he meant both the procedure for temporary/emergency registrations, as well as taking along team rosters and individual player registration cards to matches.
- Teams must remember that any player NOT on a team roster cannot take part in a match, if the club has not requested a temporary/emergency registration for that player. And sending an email to the registrations secretary while the teams were warming up would not be considered adequate!
- IR commented that where a club had requested a temporary/emergency registration prior to the match, but where they had not yet received a response from the registrations secretary, then they should take a copy of the email request to the match as evidence of the request. The intention is not to deny the player the chance to play, just because a response is awaited from the League.
- KCVA Rule 4(c) requires that a photo of a player playing under a temporary registration must be submitted within a week of the match taking place (if not already provided to the registrations secretary with the initial request). However, the rule was written back in the days before virtually everyone had a mobile phone with a decent camera in it. In reality, the photo should be taken before the match and sent to the registrations secretary the same day.
3. Registrations for 2017-18
- IR advised that the pre-season registrations process would be managed in a different way next season.
- Clubs were still invited to send through their Registration lists to Graham (separate sheet for each team) ahead of the season starting.
- Rosters for each team will be produced at least a week before the first fixture round.
- Historically, some teams have been slow to send in team sheets at the start of the season, effectively creating a ‘window’ where they could play unregistered players (whether by design or by accident).
- Any team not having submitted their registration forms before the season starts will be provided with a list of players registered at the end of last season. Any players not on that list will be ineligible to play in matches until they have been through the registrations process via GG.
- IR will be checking validity of players’ registrations from round 1 of the fixture schedules.
- A suggestion was made that registrations could be put online (similar to NVL) but IR responded that he had not tried out this element of the website database software (which was a bit clunky just for fixtures/results). The roster + player card system is very simple to follow and there is no reason why it should not work effectively.
- Clubs must also remember that the Foundation League does not require players to be registered. But if they wish to play for one of a club’s primary teams, they must be registered for that team before they are eligible. This includes juniors.
4. Fixtures 2016-17
- IR reported that it had been a challenge trying to draw up the fixtures schedule last season as at least one of the NVL teams had a fixture/potential fixture (including KO Cup) every weekend of the season.
- There are many factors which he had to try to take into account when drawing up the schedule and the process takes up to 5 days overall:
- Accommodate teams’ wishes to have home fixtures synchronised / opposite.
- Try to build in home matches for the Tonbridge teams to coincide with the dates they have booked for their hall at weekends.
- Avoid possible NVL clashes, while at the same time trying to identify ad hoc opportunities to squeeze in home matches for one or other of the Dartford teams on the same afternoon as perhaps their ladies have an NVL single home match.
- Double-check all the above to ensure a best-fit.
- Produce the schedules and send them to all clubs/teams.
- Process the schedules into the Website software (not a straightforward task).
- The reality is that he only gets one go at it as he has no desire to start all over again (!
- IR considered that the 2-pool / 2-phase format had worked quite well last season. IR was aware that each Prem team did not necessarily get to play all the others (unless they were drawn against those ‘missing’ teams in the Cup competitions). But there was little else which would have worked:
- The previous season had seen over 10% of the Prem fixtures not completed, with only 8 teams. For 2016-17, 9 teams had entered the Prem division.
- Clashes with the NVL programme were always going to be more challenging, with 4 teams taking part in the NVL (compared with only 2 the previous season).
- Clubs needed to make sure they kept on top of their schedules – it was not the first time IR had needed to remind people on this point:
- By the end of week 6 (late November) only 8 of the scheduled 15 Prem matches had been played.
- With a hard deadline of mid-January for completion of phase 1 that made it a bit of a challenge to catch up. One team played all 3 of their Phase 1 home matches in the last week of Phase 1.
- IR encouraged club/team fixtures secretaries to plan fixtures 2-3 months in advance. It works.
5. Referees Course
IR wished to record his thanks to those who took part in the Grade 4 Ref’s course at Maidstone in June, and to offer his congratulations to those who were successful.
- IR asked club secretaries to let him have the names of their club members who passed.
- He hoped that these people would be looking to gain experience in refereeing KCVA matches in the coming season, as part of their progress towards Grade 3R status.
- Paula A’Bear advised that this was a relatively straightforward process – once a candidate felt they were ready for an assessment, one of VE’s assessors would come along to observe them refereeing a match. If the assessor judged that they were able to demonstrate effective control of a match, that would lead to an upgrade to 3R.
- IR and PA’B had already indicated a willingness to go along to as many matches as they could realistically make, to offer support to newly-qualified refs as they gained experience.
- That could be by way of taking a 2nd ref role at matches the newbies are refereeing, or simply being present to provide feedback and support at the end of a match.
- IR commented that Charlie Orton had implemented such a system in London many years ago and it had proved popular and effective with developing referees. In particular, Charlie made sure that team captains were not allowed to give their opinions and advice to the referees, post-match!
- The suggestion was made that a Facebook Group could be created, for KCVA club secretaries to post requests for assistance for matches, so developing referees would see opportunities to gain experience. IR agreed to set one up.
- The meeting stopped short of recommending a tariff for matches, but certainly it would be expected that referees received at least their travel expenses for refereeing another club’s home match (plus perhaps a drink for their time).
- Clubs should also, where possible, look to set up reciprocal arrangements between themselves.
- The meeting also questioned what benefit there would be for referees renewing their registration with Volleyball England after the initial free 1-year period, as it was an expense some might not recover.
- It is important to note that registered referees receive regular updates on rule changes direct from VE.
- They also have access to the Volleyball England Referees Facebook group (a closed group) which dispenses all manner of wisdom on issues which come up across the NVL and county leagues.
- The meeting felt that clubs should agree to cover the cost of their referees’ VE registration (currently £38), at least where they were not receiving fees from refereeing NVL matches, for example.
6. Missing results
IR reported that he had needed to spend too much time last season chasing missing results.
- KCVA rules require that a team must advise the KCVA secretary if for any reason a match does not get played in the scheduled fixture week.
- If neither team advises (within the required timescales) why a match did not proceed, the fixture runs the risk of being declared null and void.
- IR repeated past requests to ensure completed scoresheets are emailed through to IR & GG as quickly as possible. It ought to be easy to take a decent quality photo of the scoresheet and email it to them (certainly with today’s smartphones having good quality cameras). Don’t just chuck it in your kitbag and forget about it.
IR referred to the note he had posted on Facebook following the SEVA tournament in May.
- Whilst the Kent teams gave a decent account of themselves, it’s clear that the overall standard of play at the tournament continues to improve year-on-year.
- KCVA has some work to do to catch up with our SEVA counterparts.
- But IR thanked to all our teams for taking part and hoped that we might see KCVA move on a step or 2, next year.
8. IR offered the usual reminders ahead of the coming season:
- Start collecting photos now (for new players), and send them to Graham Goodwin a.s.a.p. so that he can make a start on them for next season.
- We need details of the teams who will participate in next season’s competitions so that IR can build the fixture programme.
- Renewal of VE affiliation is due from 1st August 2017. Secretaries to provide IR with a copy of their renewal confirmation from VE.
- Club officials should also be aware that non-affiliation means a club has no Public Liability Insurance. This is not a position any club official should remotely take a risk on.
- IR commented that other SEVA counties impose harsh penalties for non-affiliation:IR requested that Dartford and Maidstone provide copies of their NVL fixtures schedules as soon as these are confirmed, so he can work the KCVA schedule around them as much as possible.
- Surrey: clubs forfeit their £100 goodwill deposit if affiliation is not completed by 1st November. If still not completed by 1st December, Surrey rules provide for that club to be removed from the league and forfeit all matches/entry fees paid/financial deposits.
- IR requested that Dartford and Maidstone provide copies of their NVL fixtures schedules as soon as these are confirmed, so he can work the KCVA schedule around them as much as possible.
9. IR wished to record his thanks to all who took part and/or gave their time on Finals Day, especially Paula A’Bear & Chris Searle who helped made up the refereeing corps alongside himself. Also to Michelle Piscina who scored the first 2 matches despite being very heavily pregnant.
- We probably had our closest ladies’ final for several years, with Tonbridge running out winners against Dartford, despite going 2 sets down.
- Congratulations also to Maidstone Blue who were victorious over Strood in the Stan Hastie Cup Final with an impressive display, and to Dartford-1 who defeated Rainham-1 in the Plate Final.