The UKPA’s Annual General Meeting, held just before the UKPA’s annual awards ball, at Staverton Park Hotel in Northamptonshire saw the members approve a new Executive structure and the removal of the UKPA regions from the UKPA constitution. It also saw a new proposal as to how to run the Junior grades presented and if it is brought in to force it could see all Juniors under a certain playing grade having to play in Juniors grades.
The removal of the regions was the major talking point of the four AGM resolutions, which were all passed, with some members feeling that the removal of the regions and the regional Executive representatives would limit their opportunities to communicate with the Executive. However, the existing UKPA executive and others present in the room argued that there were still sufficient channels for communication and that the regions were not functioning well in their current form.
The major argument for the resolution was that most regions consist of only one or two clubs and this means there is not a need for the strict constitutional requirements that were previously placed on them by the UKPA constitution. The UKPA Executive made it clear it did not want to get rid of the concept of regions altogether but that they felt the idea of all the five regions having to fill 13 regional committee posts and all getting to elect one person to the UKPA Executive was not possible and also undemocratic, when it is considered that a region which consists of just one club gets the same say on the UKPA Executive as a region with 10 clubs.
After some discussion the majority of those present voted for the resolution and it was duly passed. Following the resolution passing elections were held for the new posts that were created by the resolution and Steve Whitehouse was elected as International Officer, Gill James as Sport Development Officer and Iain Heaton as Members representative. All were unopposed for the positions.
The open forum at the AGM saw discussions around the UK Polocrosse Nationals and what date it should be held on, the idea of Mixed polocrosse and whether it could be extended down the grades below A grade and also a discussion around the Junior grades and whether there need to be a change in order to make them run better.
The overwhelming feeling from those present seemed to be that the UK National Championships should be moved back to the last bank holiday weekend in August and it should be held over three days again. This year it moved to a later date in September and was held over two days, as the UKPA was keen to stretch the season. However, it seems the membership would rather see it earlier again to make it more convenient with regard to factors such as the school year and also to make it possible to hold it over a three day period to make it more special.
The discussion around mixed polocrosse (where a team consists of one section of ladies and one section of men) saw most people agree that it had been successful in the A grade and that the principle was sound and a benefit to the sport. However, many people foresaw problems with trying to extend it down the grades too quickly and it was suggested that a couple of tournaments in 2014 should be held as test tournaments to see if it was possible and what problems it caused. The UKPA executive said it was up to clubs how they ran their own tournaments but they would support the idea of a club test running the idea of a fully mixed tournament.
Perhaps the most interesting open forum discussion was around a proposition presented by Gill James regarding the Junior grades. She suggested that the height of ponies allowed in the Primary Juniors grade should be reduced to 13.2hh for safety reasons and then the Junior grade should be split in two, with one novice junior grade for juniors graded a 0 or a 1 and then a open Junior grade for all juniors up to a set playing grade (the suggestion being a grade of around 5). Until juniors are graded above this set grade they would always have to play in the Juniors grades.
The reasons suggested for this change was that it was beneficial for both the juniors themselves and also for other grades, particularly the E and D grades, if the juniors were playing against other juniors and not against adults. It was proposed that this change would raise the standard of play in Juniors, make selecting the UKPA junior squads more straight forwards and also it would mean that adults playing in E and D grades would not feel embarrassed by being outplayed by juniors or feel like they can’t play as hard as they would like as they are against juniors.
Overall the idea seemed to have support from the floor at the AGM but there would be problems with its implementation, namely that clubs which only have a couple of junior members would have to either lend these members to another club to get them a game in juniors or they would have to recruit more juniors to form a team. It could also lead to a situation where juniors might not be able to play at tournaments if there are a insufficient number of juniors to make up a team for them to play in. The UKPA Executive said it would go away and look at the idea and whether it felt a change could be made for next season.
After the serious business of the AGM the players attended the UKPA’s annual awards ball and a good time was had by all. As is traditional various awards were handed out (editor’s note: including our own Polocrosse Extreme Cup for the club with the most league points per playing member) and the winning clubs and players celebrated until the early hours (editor’s note: actually it didn’t really matter if you had won or not…).
Kent Target had a particularly good night as they saw success in both league competitions and also saw Jason Webb, Hazel Wilson and Joel Sics pick up individual awards. Celyn also did well with awards for Beth Scott, Max Pedley and Sarah Simkin and also the wonderful Santi winning Best Horse for the season.
To see the final results of the leagues and read our full report on the leagues click here.
The Charles Mason Trophy, for a non-Exec members who has done a great deal for polocrosse – Martin Leith
The Minter Strover Trophy, for an under 16 who has been a great ambassador for their sport – Max Pedley
The Chapple Shield, for the most improved player – Sean Hardy
The Laura Millington Trophy – Chris Milburn
The Jock Kay Memorial Trophy, for the horse of the season – Santi (Simon Amor)
The Player’s Player Award – Debbie Harris
The Player’s Umpire Award – Beth Scott
The Janet Jones Memorial Shield, for the main league – Kent Target
The Polocrosse Extreme Cup, for the league adjusted for size – Kent Target
Best Numbers for the Season:
Ladies’ Number 1 – Rachael Gayler
Ladies’ Number 2 – Hazel Wilson
Ladies’ Number 3 – Sarah Simkin
Men’s Number 1 – Jason Webb
Men’s Number 2 – Joel Sics
Men’s Number 3 – Dan Duhig