The UKPA did indeed see a fairly lively club council meeting as the clubs turned out in force to express their views around the agenda points that the UKPA had put forward. The meeting was marathon effort, lasting four hours and it was clear that by the end people were tiring. However, overall the meeting was positive with the clubs seeming happy about the amount of effort the Executive, and particularly the new UKPA CEO Barry Amor, was putting into the sport in order to make the UKPA act in a more disciplined manner.
Areas such as the club code of conduct were well received for the most part as the clubs recognised the need for the UKPA to formalise procedures within clubs. There were questions about how rigidly it would be enforced and whether certain points of it would work in practice but the UKPA said it was very much a living document which could be amended in a year’s time if clubs said parts of it were unworkable and new areas added when necessary.
However, the UKPA did suffer more of a fight back against the idea of single sex sections in the A grade. There was a long debate about the pros and cons of the idea but overall the clubs were against the idea by a vote of seven to two, on the basis that it would narrow down the number of clubs capable of playing A grade this season and would potentially cause people to move clubs or even give up the sport altogether. There was also opposition from senior ladies’ players who said they were quite happy playing against men. One suggestion from the floor was that the idea would be better used in the lower grades were the physicality of men can put off ladies from playing. The Executive said they would go away from the meeting and consider all the ideas put forward.
Probably the liveliest moment came right at the end as the UKPA Northern representative, Steve Whitehouse, and its former CEO, Iain Heaton, clashed over the idea of a name change for the association to “British Polocrosse”. Steve proposed the change but Iain was clearly against the idea. As it was brought up as the last item of the meeting the debate did not last long and nothing was decided, though ultimately if the Executive do want to move the idea forwards it will have to go to the AGM and so there will probably be more discussion there.
Skirmishes such as that one aside, there was a lot of enthusiasm in the audience for any ideas around areas for developing and growing the sport and there was a lot of discussions around growth areas such as Pony Clubs, schools and university riding clubs and riding schools. Overall there seemed to be an overwhelming desire to grow and improve the sport and overall the executive seemed to be moving that desire forwards, though to achieve it they will need actions and not just words from their clubs and their members.