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Mid-Season Report from the Chairman

01 Jan 2014

2013-14 Mid season letter from the chair


We are already at the half way point in the season which means that once again I am writing to you as chair with a few notes to try and make the second half go even better than the first. Much as your captains do at each half time!

Match postponements
The weather has been kind to us so far and we have had very few games postponed due to bad conditions. I have no doubt that there will be weather interruptions after Christmas. When that happens, please make sure that you contact your opposition, your divisional coordinator and the results telephone line as soon as possible. I am aware that there have been matches called off already where neither the coordinator nor the league secretary were informed. I remind you that if you call off a fixture for reasons other than weather conditions, you can expect to receive a points penalty. The standard league rule is that postponed matches should be played within 15 days of the original date but in any case the new date should be organised in consultation with your coordinator. If you call off a match because you are short of players, it should always be your lowest teams' match. This is all detailed in the league rules. Please help us to keep things running smoothly.
Last season severe conditions meant we opened up two extra weekends at the end of the season to get matches played. Please do not expect us to do that again as a matter of course. We will only add an extra weekend if extreme circumstances make it necessary.

Hockey rules
I am very grateful to Mike McDonagh for the work he does in maintaining and supervising the Facebook page. There has been a good deal of very productive discussion there. From time to time this has included enquiries for clarification of hockey rules. Whilst we are happy to give our views and interpretations, such enquiries would be better made to either your county Umpires Association or England Hockey. I should like to thank David Ellcock, chair of the EHB Rules group, for picking up on, and giving a definitive answer to, a recent discussion on the use of yellow cards.

I need to reinforce with all of you that BSNWHL does not have any responsibility for, or power over, umpires. With the exception of what is written in our rules, we do not have the authority to say a particular umpire can or can not officiate our games. Responsibility for umpires lies with the relevant Hockey Umpiring Associations. We do collect written reports on umpires who have been graded unsatisfactory and we can pass those on the the relevant HUA. By the same token, we do not have any authority to discipline individual players. That responsibility lies with the umpires at the game and, if necessary beyond that, with the relevant County Disciplinary Officer.
BSNWHL management committee only issues fines, either points penalties or financial fines, where we believe the rules of the league have been broken.

We are very grateful to all those who are prepared to give up their time to umpire league games. We know that teams are often struggling to find qualified umpires and in attempt to alleviate that we invested all of our sponsorship funding from Barrington Sports last year in running two heavily subsidised Level 1 courses. Those courses have led to a significant increase in the number of club umpires. I hope that those who are playing always recognise the fact that they are doing so because two others are giving their time to officiate. Sadly we seem to have an increase in the number of complaints from umpires who are clearly not being shown the appropriate respect. Played properly, hockey is not a dangerous game. Umpires do not make it dangerous, players do. It is not the umpire making the dangerous stick tackle, or using his elbows, or deliberately running in to another player. Captains have a responsibility to make sure their teams play within the rules. Please do all that you can to work with your umpires to make sure everyone enjoys their game.

I have already referred to the sponsorship we receive from Barrington Sports, but should like to thank them again for this and for our continuing and developing partnership.

Finally for now, I should like to publicly give my thanks to all those who serve on the management committee, especially the Divisional Coordinators who give so much of their time to try and keep the league running smoothly.

Enjoy your league hockey, and do what you can to ensure everyone else does too.

Duncan Rhodes