No presentation dinner for Two Counties

THERE will be no presentation dinner this autumn and no cup competitions next season, clubs were told at the annual meeting of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship on Tuesday night.

By Elvin King

THERE will be no presentation dinner this autumn and no cup competitions next season, clubs were told at the annual meeting of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship on Tuesday night.

This follows problems at last year's dinner at Ipswich Town FC, and a lack of entries for playing cup cricket in 2007.

And the chances of any significant rule changes taking place over the next few years were significantly reduced when a motion to allow changes on a simple voting majority was lost.

It will therefore still require at least two-thirds of member clubs voting to be in favour to get any amendments passed.

The vote was 30 for and 16 against with no abstentions, and two subsequent proposals relating to having fielding circles in Divisions One and Two were also defeated.

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Referring to there being no dinner this year, chairman Norman Atkins said in his report: “Unfortunately a good disciplinary record on the field was not matched off the field.

“Hopefully cups and trophies that went missing at our 2006 dinner will be returned. The organisers felt that giving up their spare time was not valued by certain clubs, and some were close to resigning from the management sub-committee.

“There is rarely a queue of volunteers to carry out duties that make our competition run so smoothly.

“It is up to clubs and individuals within clubs to support officers and not behave in a manner that can cause people to resign.”

And with reference to the proposal to reduce the majority needed to get motions passed, the chairman said: “Tinkering with rules will not in my view greatly improve our competition, which has built up a proud reputation in its 35-year history.

“Supporting and retaining the right people to run it is much more important.

“Complying with excising rules, not strengthening up teams on non-standard fixed days and playing the game in the right spirit is far more important than anything else.

“It is up to delegates to take this message back to their clubs and ensure there are no future lapses in behaviour, standards and breaking of rules.

“This will ensure a strong future for the Two Counties Championship.”

The league was increased to 50 clubs with the acceptance of Colchester Garrison, Kesgrave and West Mersea to Division Nine.

This will have eight teams, with Divisions One to Eight each having 10 teams. The Sunday-based Division C will have 13.

In proposing the rule change to bring in a simple majority vote, Woolpit said that a lot of good ideas had not been given an airing in the past.

With Maldon absent from the meeting, it needed a second vote to get the number of votes up to 46. Maldon, runners-up in the First Division, face a £50 fine for their absence and possible removal from the league.

The balance sheet showed a healthy £1,000 excess.

Fines went up from 81 to 123, mainly because of extra rain-offs and calls confirming cancellations not being phoned through.

The umpires panel is 59-strong, with six qualified to take charge of East Anglian Premier League matches. Their expenses are to stay at £25 a game.

Pennants were handed out to representatives of clubs who won the respective divisions and cups.

In his report to the meeting, East Anglian Premier League secretary Andy Abbott took a swipe at the Two Counties and comments made on the website.

In his report to the meeting he said: “I cannot let this occasion pass without comment on some ill-informed criticism of our league.

“I find it hard to believe looking through the Two Counties rules that Sri Lankans, South Africans, Kiwis and Australians come over for 12 months at their own expense for the love of playing cricket in the Two Counties Championship.

“Stones and glasshouses spring to mind!”

Officers re-elected were: president Ron Noyce, chairman Norman Atkins, secretary Mrs Gill Denny, treasurer John Bradley, fixture secretary Mel Phair, assistant secretary Alan Rogers.

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