Minutes of the Moray Province Committee Meeting
held at The Lion Hotel, Auldearn
on Tuesday, 6th November 2007 at 8pm
Present: Gavin Nicoll (Chairman), Douglas Macarthur (Secretary), Faye Coutts, Marilyn Mackenzie, James Milton, Willie Cameron, Howard Anstruther, Graham Grant, Hugh Robertson, Colin Macgregor, Douglas Howie, Alistair Maltman, Brian Cantley, Kenny Greenwood
The chairman opened the meeting at 8pm. Before getting down to business he introduced the new Secretary, Douglas Macarthur to the Province Committee. He intimated that Douglas has a curling pedigree as long as your arm. His father Sam, Uncle Dave and Cousin George Macarthur are not only legends in the Province but in north curling as a whole, a family steeped in curling tradition.
The Chairman asked Douglas to record the death of George Christie from Fochabers Curling Club. George had been a great ambassador for the sport, both through his club and in other ways. George served as both Junior and Senior representative for Area 10 to the RCCC and stuck up’ for the north on many occasions during that period. George will also be remembered as the donor of The Christie of Fochabers Knockout Trophy which is played for annually by the five provinces in Area 10. George will be greatly missed.
Mike Watt, Ray McGann, Alistair Robertson, George Macarthur, Alistair Asher, Bill Stephen, Neil Mustard.
2. Adoption of Previous Minutes
Douglas Macarthur intimated that Mike Watt was in attendance at the previous meeting although this was not recorded in the Minutes. The adoption of the minutes were proposed by Colin Macgregor and seconded by Kenny Greenwood.
3. Matters Arising
James Milton enquired as to whether or not the Curlathon at Braehead did in fact take place. Hugh Robertson confirmed that it did.
4. President’s Report
The chairman read out the attached report.
“The 2007/08 season has started off well thanks to my executive in particular the Match Secretaries and the Secretary. When we are all out enjoying the summer evenings, they were getting the coming season down on paper. I think it is very important that clubs co-operate around AGM time and submit entries to competitions and a new list of club office bearers so the lads can get the next season sorted out. Once these tasks are done they can get a rest from curling administrative duties throughout the summer and enjoy the wonderful Scottish weather like the rest of us.
We have again got an extended division 7 in Elgin which bodes well for us and we are very pleased to be to accommodate the Elgin Wheelchair Curling Club in that division.
Knockout competitions as well as leagues are well underway and up to date with exception of the ladies knockout which of course does not start until mid January.
At the AGM we had a request from some like minded curlers who wanted to set up coaching and development in Elgin for the East Clubs. The Executive discussed this and they got the go ahead .We have a report here tonight.
With regards to the Moray Province Website, Alan Stanfield has as usual got it up to date with factual information and for this I thank him. Again we have a report on this later regarding its future. There is a decision to be made in relation to some technical difficulties the RCCC are having with the administration and also the request Alan has made to be relieved of his duties as Webmaster.
There are many curlers working away in the background within clubs, the Province or Area 10 and I would like to thank them for all the work they do to keep the sport of curling to the fore.
Good luck to all Province teams that go forward to RCCC competitions and to the individual curlers who through hard work and dedication have reached and participate in curling at the very highest level of the sport”.
5. Secretary’s Report
Douglas Macarthur informed the Committee that he had had little to do since succeeding Ian Macphail in May of this year. He complimented Ian on a smooth handover and excellent instruction. In the first four months in office he felt that the real heartbeat for the Moray Province was the two match secretaries, Graham Grant and Colin Macgregor who he felt did an excellent job.
6. Match Secretaries’ Report
West – Colin Macgregor
Colin advised the Committee that all competitions in the West were up and running without any problem at this stage.
East – Graham Grant
Graham informed the Committee that everything was okay in the East apart from poor ice conditions being experienced at Moray Leisure Centre which had resulted in two games being abandoned. He also felt in order to relieve some of the fixture congestion at the start of the season, it may be an idea to move the mixed knockout competition to later in the season. Howard Anstruther agreed with Graham’s thoughts and the Chairman suggested that we revise the fixtures for next season as all Committee members in the room were in favour of this motion. James Milton asked for more information on the outcome of abandoned games. Graham Grant advised that the games will be replayed once the skips have arranged suitable ice. James Milton then asked was it right to abandon the games. Douglas Howie agreed that James had a valid point but what should be done in that situation. Colin Macgregor emphasised that the decision must be made between the two skips. Howard Anstruther then asked the question at what point of the game should you make the decision to abandon. Alistair Maltman commented that if the poor ice conditions prevail in Moray Leisure Centre we will need clarification. The Chairman suggested that we look into the RCCC rules for an answer or contact Alan Stanfield for advice.
Action: D Macarthur to contact Alan Stanfield
Finally Douglas Howie questioned the timing of The Johnson & Carmichael Bonspiel as it fell in the school holidays. Colin Macgregor advised that this was an Area 10 competition and therefore not relevant to Moray Province match secretaries.
7. Treasurer’s Report
Alistair Maltman informed the Committee that at the start of the year we started with a balance of £2568.00. The balance currently stands at £3191.00 with only three small invoices outstanding for the year and most income had been received. The principle expense this year had been the purchase of province badges for £489.98. He also informed the Committee that new signatory Morag Cummings had been appointed and that was the only change in procedure this year. He finished his report by projecting a small net profit. D Macarthur informed Alastair that he was not in possession of a stock of Province Badges and that he would contact Ian Macphail as to there whereabouts.
Action: D Macarthur to contact Ian Macphail
8. Area 10 Report
There was no Area 10 report at the meeting.
9. Website Report
The secretary circulated the attached report from web master, Alan Stanfield.
Firstly my apologies for not being able to accept the invitation to attend the Committee meeting but I am I otherwise occupied this week with the World Wheelchair Qualifier in Inverness.
There are three main areas that I wish to report/update the committee upon.
1. After two years with iSport as the RCCC web host we have now entered our 5th season with Sportfocus as web host. On the whole the functionality of the site is better although , in order to include all of what is on the site, I have had to be creative over the years with the use of some “sub-pages” to develop an easy to use hierarchical page structure with the minimum of ‘clicks’ to reach any one page. This was designed to get around the limitations of lack of drop down menus etc. For the past four years this, I like to think, has been well received by local curlers.
Last year the RCCC engaged Sportfocus to upgrade its main pages with ‘a more modern look’ with the intention of rolling it out to all Area, Province and Club sites this season. This duly happened on 19th September 2007 but for us this was a retrograde step. Effectively we have been penalized for having the largest and most active Province web site in the RCCC. (See below) This has occurred because as an “improvement” all sub-pages are now accessible directly from the left hand menu rather than just the main sections. For most sites this is absolutely fine (because they are not/little used!) but we have over 200 sub-pages which for those visiting makes the site looks awful. (I have been grateful for the negative feedback (support!) I have received on this which I have passed on to Lindsay Scotland, the RCCC webmaster).
I have been in discussion with Lindsay to try and find a solution to the problem. Initially I asked if we could have the similar style of drop down menus the main site of the RCCC has but the bottom line is that to do this, the cost from Sportfocus would be prohibitive to the RCCC. (Some of my earlier functionality requests/ideas over the years have understandably been unsuccessful for this reason as RCCC coffers are not overflowing). Lindsay tells me that to switch off all the sub-pages links is possible but would have to be applied to everyone. However, it can be done “manually” for us (see attached email on page 3) but again at a cost. However, I feel the cost is not excessive and the offer from RCCC very reasonable but before I can take it any further require the Committee’s approval. I would therefore like to seek the support of the Province to take the RCCC proposal/offer forward and appreciate if the committee could make a decision on this point.
On the positive side I have discovered through those discussions with Lindsay that there is the facility to use three sections which I thought to be not applicable to ourselves. Accordingly, I have already used one to re-locate the “Archives”, another I have called “Off the Ice” where minutes of Province Committee meetings and the AGM can be made available to a wider audience (prove the Province does not just run without work behind the scenes!) and the third to report on successes on members of Moray Province in competitions out with the Province whether in teams or as individual member of “national rinks”. I would welcome feedback/comment on those ideas or any better ones???!!
2. I mentioned earlier that we were ‘the largest and most active Province web site in the RCCC’. Lindsay Scotland gave me access to the web stats package the RCCC get from Sportfocus (again cost prevents supplying to all Provinces/Clubs etc.) and it was extremely satisfying to see that Moray Province was by a long way the most visited site of all 37 Provinces, as well as being more active than all 10 Area sites too. Additionally of the literally hundreds of main pages within the RCCC site last year we were consistently in the top 10, only being surpassed by the main RCCC Competition, Information, News pages. At one level, that gives me great satisfaction knowing we have such a high profile in Moray Province but at another level saddens me to see the missed opportunity from so many other Provinces, Areas and Clubs. In number terms we currently have our own hit counter on our Home Page which is registering over 13000 visits to the Home page since September 2003, an average of ~2,500 per year peaking at 500+ during the main months of the season. Very gratifying and makes me feel the time and effort personally worthwhile.
3. That brings me to the final part of the report. With my increased involvement in umpiring, I have been finding it increasingly difficult over the last two seasons to find the time to maintain the standards I have set myself for keeping the site current and especially ensure, even with the tremendous support of Graham Grant, to have all the week’s results on the site by Friday of each week (daily stats show Friday/Saturday to be the most active days so showing the importance of putting on results promptly and regularly at the same time of the week, not a week or two after games have been played).
Whilst I do not know what competitions I will in the future be asked to officiate at, the new RCCC Umpiring levels ( a very positive development for the sport) mean that to maintain my current grade my commitment will be at least the same as it has been over the past couple of years and that does not include any ECF/WCF events I may be invited to.
Therefore, I feel it is time to pass on the role of ‘webmaster’ and have spoken to Gavin about this. Ideally, if a successor(or it could be shared?) was appointed by the end of December, it would give half the season when I would be very happy to share the role and allow for training to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. To give a guide, once familiar with the site and Sportfocus application, I estimate that it takes me about two hours per week throughout the season with a three day period every August creating new sub-pages and uploading them ahead of the new season. It would be my intention to pass on a manual with a checklist of what and when things need to be done to maintain the site. Hopefully anyone thinking of coming forward will be re-assured they will not be ‘thrown in at the deep end’!
Apologies for the length of the report but I trust it will inform the committee of where the web site is at and the direction it might be going.
From: Lindsay Scotland <LScotland@businessdecision.co.uk> Date: 24 Oct 2007 09:14 Subject: RE: RCCC Website To: Alan Stanfield email@example.com
I have had word back from Sportfocus.
They can do a manual fix to remove all your sub pages from the LH menu. Unfortunately, because all the club sites share the same template, it is a manual change to your site only and they are going to charge us for it. It is not actually a large sum – £80.
Colin G’s suggestion is that we split it 50/50 – RCCC pays half and Moray Province pays half.
What do you think?
Comments on Web Master’s Report.
Howard Anstruther noted that the web site was a very valuable resource and that the Province should forward the cheque for £40. This was proposed by Graham Grant and seconded by the President.
Action: Alastair Maltman
On the subject of a replacement web master, the president asked those present if they had any suggestions. Colin Macgregor said that he speak to Vice President Ali Asher regarding approaching one of those suggested.
Action: Colin Macgregor
10. Report on Elgin Ice Centre Progress
The Chairman informed the committee that he did not have an up to date report to circulate at tonight’s meeting as Bill Nicol was attending a meeting the same evening and an update report would be submitted on the Province Website along with minutes of this meeting as soon as it was available.
11. Date and Venue for AGM
Wednesday, 7th May 2008 at 7.30pm in the Lion Hotel, Auldearn.
The secretary informed the meeting that he had received the draw for the Waldie Griffiths from the RCCC. This was passed to the match secretaries for action.
Action: Colin Macgregor / Graham Grant
The secretary then advised the Committee of a request from Lynne Fraser for any contributions towards her Inverness Ice Centre Newsletter, such as dates, stories, achievements etc. Any information or material, Lynne would be most grateful of, Lynne can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The secretary then informed the committee that he had received an invitation from the RCCC for Moray Province to enter a second team in the Province Championships this afternoon by way of a telephone call. Gavin Nicoll intimated that he a had also received a fax for the same from the RCCC this today but felt that it had arrived at too short notice and nothing could be done about it.
Final correspondence was received from Mike Watt via email. Mike had asked that competition rules be made available at the Elgin Ice Centre.
Action: Graham Grant
Also the bell at Elgin Ice Centre is seldom or occasionally never rung on time and that the ice at Elgin had been awful. This week he had experienced 5ft fall backs against the handle and could someone take these points up with the Leisure Centre.
Action: see AOCB
James Milton noted that there was no Area 10 report tonight. He also asked if the new Division 7 in the East is likely to be an ongoing competition if so should we be thinking in terms of presenting a trophy. Graham Grant was hopeful that the competition would carry on as long as there was a demand for it. Colin Macgregor noted that with 35 attendees at the recent ‘Come and Try’ coaching session in Elgin that it augers well for competition in the future. The Chairman asked the Committee to think of any ideas for a Division 7 trophy by the next meeting.
Ice Conditions at Elgin Centre
The Chairman informed the Committee that last Monday and Tuesday he had experienced terrible ice conditions at the Elgin Ice Centre. He had been informed whilst attending the skins competition at the Inverness Ice Centre the following Sunday that the ice cutting machine in Elgin had broken down and was getting sorted this week. If this is the case and it is indeed a mechanical fault, they should be able to rectify the problem and hopefully the poor ice conditions are not attributable to poor workmanship or neglect. After a lengthy discussion, Douglas Howie moved that a letter be sent to the management at Elgin Ice Centre re the general concerns of the Moray Province regarding ice conditions and the timing of the bell.
Action: Gavin Nicol
14. Date of next meeting
Tuesday, 26th February 2008 at 8pm at the Lion Hotel, Auldearn
The meeting closed at 9pm.
Members are reminded that these minutes are draft minutes and will not be formally adopted until the next meeting of the Province Committee on the 26th of February 2008.
Secretary Moray Province.