The United Kingdom Polocrosse Association’s AGM took place on Saturday the 15th of November and the biggest development of the day was the passing of a resolution to allow the UKPA executive committee to change the constitution of the association and make the Chief Executive Officer’s role a paid role going forwards. This resolution follows a trial year in 2015, whereby the UKPA had a part time, paid secretariat role which took on a number of tasks to support its volunteer officers, including its CEO. This paid secretariat role was filled by Barry Amor in 2015, who had also been elected as a volunteer CEO in 2013. Barry had indicated before the AGM that he did not intend to carry on in either role and, with no one else volunteering to take on the CEO role, the UKPA executive took the decision to propose a resolution that would allow them to formally combine these two roles into a paid CEO position.  The resolution was passed by the members present, who numbered around 40 people, approximately 10% of the full membership.

The UKPA will now look to identify a suitable candidate to take on the CEO role on a part time basis. Barry Amor confirmed again at the AGM that he did not intend to seek this new position, which means the UKPA while have to identify someone with a similar skill set and ideally a good knowledge of the sport to ensure the sport move forwards in the way desired by members. This primarily means a growth of the membership, which the UKPA reported stayed pretty much static this year, down very slightly at 356 members.

The full UKPA AGM report can be read here, but aside from reporting a small drop in membership the UKPA also reported a loss of £10,759 in their financial year to the end of September 2015. This compared to a profit of £7,699 in 2014. This was primarily due to two new large areas of expenditure. They spent a total of £10,820 on international competitions, which consisted of £3,320 on the inbound Under 16’s and Under 21’s test matches against Zambia and then they spent £7,500 on training costs and entry fees for their World Cup team. The other large area of expenditure was the paid secretariat role, which cost them £7,075 in the year. Despite these losses the UKPA is still in a fairly healthy financial position, with net assets of £45,187, of which £25,904 is in actual cash, though they will probably be aiming to return to profit in 2016.

Expenditure on international events is perhaps inevitable in a World Cup year (unless the UKPA’s international teams can find more sponsorship or funding from other sources) but this expenditure does represent a large proportion of the UKPA’s membership subscription income (which only totaled £25,354 in the year) and so the UKPA will now undoubtably look to have a far cheaper year with regard to international events next year. The UKPA also welcomed in a new Executive International Officer at the AGM, with Wayne Henning taking over from Steve Whitehouse, who stepped down. Wayne’s role is to now move forwards the UK on the international scene and ensure that they continue to develop as a polocrosse playing nation at all age levels. The other change in the Executive committee was the appointment of Amanda Wasdell as Executive Membership representative, taking over from Iain Heaton, who also stepped down.

The UKPA Executive clearly consider the paid secretariat to be money well spent, the AGM report has a number of positive comments from its officers about what has been achieved through this role and indeed it does seem to have allowed the organisation to progress far more quickly in a number of areas than they would have otherwise have done so. The sport now appears better structured and more professional, with a far more regularly updated website and updated supporting documents on a number of key areas, such as coaching, umpiring and field marshaling. The UKPA has also been able to run more of its own events, hosting three tournaments in 2015 and also considerably supporting the hosting of two more tournaments by smaller clubs.  They have also obtained far more media coverage for their events than in previous years.  A fuller picture of what the UKPA Executive believes has been achieved can be gained both by reading the various AGM reports (including one from the paid secretariat themselves) and also by looking at their sport development plan.

The UKPA has also been able to move forwards polocrosse coaching and formal coaching qualifications in the last few years. This is partly thanks to the work of Barry Amor in his CEO and paid secretariat roles but mainly due to the hard work of Ursula and Laura Scott, who coordinate coaching for the UKPA. It now has a number of UKCC coaches fully qualified and out and coaching the sport. This has also cost them money though, as they spent £4,504 on their UKCC programme in 2015. This money has been spent on delivering UKCC training and assessment days and is similar to the £5,922 spent in 2014. The UKPA clearly views the development of coaches as vital to the progression of the sport and this would seem sensible, given the growing pressure in all sports to have coaches with formally recognised qualifications.

The AGM was followed by the UKPA ball and awards dinner. Unfortunately, the AGM report confirmed that the 2014 Ball lost £1,232 and the UKPA apparently expects the 2015 event to make similar loss, due to a lower than desired number of members attending (just under 90 members attended each year with 120 attendees being the estimated break even point for the event). This loss was pretty much cancelled out by small profits on the UKPA National Championships and other tournaments the UKPA hosts but the UKPA will undoubtedly look at this area in 2016 to try and stop any future losses.

Putting financial losses aside, the ball and the awards dinner were a very enjoyable event for the members who did go along, with the combination of  a Great Gatsby theme and a photo booth creating some memorable pictures for the attendees. There was also a mobile casino and the inevitable dancing till the early hours.

The UKPA always presents its annual awards each year at the ball and this year the awards were as follows. Congratulations to all the winners!

Charles Mason Trophy – A non player who has contributed a great deal to the sport-  Colin Thomason (Rockwood)
Chairman’s Cup -Awarded at the Chairman’s discretion for a member who has contributed a great deal in the year to the sport – Chris Milburn (Arden)
Laura Millington Memorial Trophy – A Pony Club member who has been a good role model for the sport and has helped develop the sport in both the UKPA and the Pony Club –  Katie Loutsiou (Celyn)
Minter Strover Trophy – A junior player who has been a great ambassador for the sport – Jack Brown (Kent Target)
Chapple Shield – The most improved player – John Simpson (Limemere Sparks
Jock McKay Trophy – Best horse for the season – Domilon (owned by Will Halcrow) (Kent Target)
Janet Jones Memorial Trophy League – Most league points – Kent Target Polocrosse Club
Polocrosse Extreme Cup Winners – Most league points per playing member – Highlanders
Players’ Umpire Award – An umpire nominated by the membership – Jake Hall (Kent Target)
Players’ Player Award – A player nominated by the membership – Wayne Henning (Kent Target)
Best British New Commentator – The best new British commentator (editor’s note: selected by Polocrosse Extreme, who sponsor this award with a £200 cash prize) – Jack Brown (Kent Target)
Open A Mens Number 1 – Max Pedley (Celyn)
Open A Mens Number 2 – Joel Sics (Highlanders)
Open A Mens Number 3 – Jason Webb (Kent Target)
Open A Womens Number 1 – Charlotte Pykett (Highlanders)
Open A Womens Number 2 – Kerry Bean (Kent Target)
Open A Womens Number 3 – Debbie Harris (Welsh Dragons)