DTZ League Circular January 2007

The Season so far: -

Good things. Handbook ready 11th September, well done everyone involved. Chris Forde (fixtures), Laurie Alcock (Midland RHA), Michael Hooper (League website), Hon Secs County and Umpire Associations, Graham Hollway and his staff at Prontaprint, Edgbaston.

Three new Div Secs, Leigh Alcock, Martin Hall and Paul Simons enabled us to expand the Central League to 11 divisions.

All matches in the first half of the season have been completed, some excellent competition – see the top of Midland Premier where 6 points cover 7 teams.

Nearly 200 transfers have been successfully completed, thanks to club secs and treasurers for dealing promptly with the paperwork. Calling in on clubs such as Lichfield, Olton & WW and Sikh Union (Nottm) and hearing their plans for new or resurfaced pitches.

So – So. Red and yellow cards are running at the same level as last year. Warning letters have been sent out to nine clubs that need to show considerable improvement by the next review after 15 matches or risk losing points.

Not so good. The League Committee had to amend Rule 4 “Promotion, Relegation and Transfer” when we became aware that our champions would be promoted to EHL but we could have between 0 and 4 Midland clubs relegated back to us. A circular to our 12 Midland Premier clubs giving them 3 weeks to reply indicating whether we should solve this by more relegation, less promotion or expanding the division to 14 teams, produced only 5 replies and a further 3 drifted in during the following weeks. The League Committee’s amendments are on the website under “News and Views” as are changes to Rules 17.5 and 17.6 “Availability of Umpires”. This has been brought about by 2nd and 3rd X1s being unable to bring a club umpire to distant away matches.

The League Committee is currently investigating claims that two players played while under transfer restrictions and do not appear on the match sheets. Oh yes, there was also the transfer hold up because the player owed three years subscriptions.

Right Now. You should receive this on 5th January. Have you confirmed, as the home side, your arrangements with your opposition for 13th January? For your teams playing away, have your opponents confirmed match details? The League Committee has received too many complaints that clubs have not received details and have had to start ringing up. (See below).

Transfers. 31st January 2007 is the deadline. I have a number that require completion: -

Pappi Samra. KINGSWINFORD to Barford Tigers

Hei Yeung Herman Cheung OLD WULFRUNIANS to Coventry and North Warwicks

Richard Jones RUGBY to Hampton in Arden

Mohsin Bashir EDGBASTON to Kings Heath Pickwick

Jonathon Podmore MALVERN to Worcester

I require the B form (including the date the player last played in the league) from the club in capitals.

And also: - Joe Johnson Bournville to BIRMINGHAM UNIVERSITY

I have received the B Form for this player but await the A Form and the £5 cheque (payable to MRHA) from the club in capitals.

An application form has been sent to clubs should they wish to put another team into the league next season. The deadline for this is 1st April 2007. Applications will be considered at the League Committee meeting on 18th April.

Your Club AGM. It is a Midland RHA requirement that you hold your AGM before the MRHA AGM which is held on the third Wednesday in May. This should enable you to complete your handbook return on time.

You should receive your handbook details to update and your invoice for league fees and handbooks by 27th April. The deadline for return is 5 weeks later on FRIDAY 1ST JUNE the day I send your club’s details to the printer.

One important change is that you will have to nominate one officer who deals with the confirmation of match arrangements. Systems such as “contact appropriate captain” have just not worked; so make sure that your AGM elects this officer.

League dates 2007/2008 Saturdays 29th Sept to 15th Dec 2007 and 12th Jan to 15th March 2008. A 12/10 split caused by early Easter.

In line with EHL rules we are changing 7.3 next season reducing the number of non EU passport holders etc from 2 to 1.

The Future. It is probable that we are going to have more 1st X1s and fewer Central League teams in our league.

Proposals are under consideration to cut the 44 EHL teams back to: -

A) 30 teams in 3 parallel divisions of 10 followed by European qualification tournament for top 2 in each division.

B) 30 teams in 3 divisions, Premier, 1 North and 1 South.

C) 40 teams in 4 divisions, Premier, 1 North, 1 South East and 1 South West.

With the Midland Region providing the second largest number of EHL teams it would seem likely that a number of these teams will be relegated at the end of the 2006/7 and 2007/8 seasons. The rationale is that the top players spend less time travelling and more time developing their skills.

Another proposal is to move men’s EHL which is mainly played on Sundays to Saturdays. I struggle to see the merit in this. An EHL fixture requires a 2 hour slot and the greatest demand for pitch booking is of course on Saturdays. Compare the recent Olton and WW v Leicester Ladies Premier Division local derby on a Saturday with a Sunday men’s EHL match at Belper, Beeston or Cannock. For the ladies match, which was terrific with current and ex internationals playing, the size of crowd was about a dozen – mums, dads and partners etc, which increased to about 40 for the last 10 minutes with the arrival of the two men’s teams plus umpires for the following match who wanted to know 1) What’s the score? 2) How long to go (before we go on)? A men’s EHL match on Sunday can attract a crowd of 200 plus. Not just members of the home club, but also members of local clubs who buy programmes and food and drink which provides much needed revenue for the club and they provide a great atmosphere for the match.

The removal of first under 15s and then under 16s from adult hockey will cause clubs difficulty in maintaining their league teams. One colleague on the League Committee told me that “We will lose one, possibly two of our Central League teams. We will lose not only the youngsters but also some of the fathers who will either give up playing or spend their time taking their sons to colts matches”. Who will run the colts leagues? (Midlands Schools and Youth? County Associations?). When will the matches be played? (Friday evenings? Sunday mornings?). These are all issues to be addressed. My next job is to order 68 winners and runners up pennants in our green and gold Midland colours plus the 2 for the Sociability and Fair play awards that you are all playing for over the next eleven weeks.

Best Wishes

Peter Cranswick (Hon Sec)