MSCL Fixture Secretary’s Report for AGM


28th May 2009



There was the usual rather hectic start to the season, confirming team entries and “blackout” dates, then drawing up a schedule of fixtures.  Compared to the previous season, 2 clubs (East Grinstead and Lewes) each withdrew one team.  However, there were 4 new entries; these being second teams from Uckfield and Worthing and 5th teams from Brighton & Hove and Horsham.  Haywards Heath and St Francis clubs joined forces, but retained their collective entry of 3 teams.  Thus we had a net increase of 2 teams to 38. 


These team changes required the Committee to make some alterations to the make up of divisions, compared to what would have been expected from last season.  A 3rd team was promoted from Division 3 to Division 2, this being St Francis & Haywards Heath 1.  Uckfield 1 and Worthing 2 were put into Division 3, while the new teams from Brighton & Hove and Horsham were assigned to Division 4.


During the course of the season we lost Aldrington House after playing just 2 matches.  However, all other fixtures were duly completed, involving a total of 155 matches.


At last year’s AGM it was agreed that a 3 weeks break over Christmas and new year should be sufficient, compared to 4 weeks that I had scheduled the previous season.  Also, Easter was rather later this year.  These factors meant that I was able to schedule all matches to be competed by early April and ahead of Easter.  However, playing in the last full week before Christmas proved unpopular, with a number of teams agreeing to reschedule the matches involved.  Bad weather during February also took a toll on the fixtures.  Consequently, a number of matches ended up being rescheduled for after Easter, with the last matches not being played till late April.


For the 2009 – 10 season, if I’m retained as Fixtures Secretary, I can see things getting rather tight.  I would envisage the first matches being scheduled for the week starting Monday 12th October.  I know that a number of people don’t like competing with fireworks, so I’ve made a point of not scheduling matches during bonfire week.  If I return to a 4 weeks break over Christmas and new year (thus also staying clear of the Hastings Congress), and given that Easter is one week earlier next year, we will only have 19 playing weeks before Easter, compared to 21 this season.  Although some games were rescheduled for later this year, the Rules set 15th April as the intended end-of-season date, giving very little scope for matches to be scheduled after Easter.  If weather conspires against us again, things could get very pressured towards the end of the season.  I would therefore ask that clubs do all they can to keep blackout dates to a minimum and accept that some compromises might be necessary.


As there is no other specific slot on the agenda, I’d like to add some comments regarding my other roles of website minder and grading reporter.


The website continues to be popular – the speed with which my frequent slip ups are brought to my attention bearing testament to this!  The Forum pages have clearly been of particular interest this year with the strongly held views on quickplay finishes, both for and against, being the main feature.  One or two contributions caused me to think hard about editorial responsibilities, but in the end I posted all contributions verbatim.  That I had concerns expressed to me about this from both sides of the debate indicates, I hope, that a reasonable balance was kept!


Quite separate from the QPF debate, there was one instance this year when I did decline a request to open to new Forum thread.  The subject matter, whether or not it had merit, was confrontational, but not anything to do with the MSCL.  I considered it inappropriate for the MSCL website to get drawn into someone else’s arguments.


Above all else, may I please continue to emphasise that the website can only be as good as the inputs I receive from clubs, team captains and individual players.  I appreciate that the split of responsibilities between the website and the match recorder can involve some duplication of effort in reporting results to both of us, but where teams fail to do this, there can be considerable delay before results get published for all to see.  Particularly as the season draws to a close, teams are anxious to see results quickly to assess the impact on their positions in the various divisions.  Similarly, much of my effort still goes into trying to identify correctly players who are new to a club.  Some clubs are excellent at providing this information without being asked, some do not, but respond promptly when I e-mail them with queries.  Alas, there are still some club contacts who could be more helpful!


It is important to note that errors or omissions in my data not only affect the website, but are liable to be repeated in the data submitted for grading.  With this in mind, if anyone has any remaining concerns over the results as shown on the website, please let me know urgently as my grading data is now ready to be sent to the ECF and I would hope to submit it this weekend.


Finally, on the subject of grading, I’m sure everyone is now well aware of the revised grading calculations that will become the official ones from next season onwards.  One possible impact of this on the MSCL is the assumed grading of a player in the K.O. competition if they do not have an official ECF grading.  This is set out in the K.O. Rules and is based upon the highest division in which that player has appeared in the League.  In order to see whether the assumed grades given in this Rule might need to be revised to accommodate the new grading calculations, I have analysed the player records for this season to determine both old and new style average gradings for players in each Division.  Only published gradings were considered and the values calculated were weighted averages, taking account of the number of times an individual played, not just the simple average of all players involved.  As the grading revision is said to be aimed at tackling discrepancies that were greater for lower-graded players, it is not surprising that the impact was found to be the smallest in Division 1 and to increase progressively with each lower Division.  The average for Division 1 using old style gradings was 162, already a little above the value assumed in the K.O. Rules of 150.  This discrepancy increased by another 11 points using new style gradings, where the average came out as 173.  For Division 2, the assumed grading under the Rules of 135 closely matched the average of 132 calculated from old gradings, but was somewhat below the average of 152 for new gradings.  For Division 3 the averages were 111 and 139 for old and new gradings respectively, against an assumption in the Rules of 120.  For Division 4 the averages were 60, old style, 97, new style, and an assumption in the Rules of 105.  I should emphasise that I’m not aware of the origins of the K.O. Rule and whether it was ever intended to reflect an actual average of graded players.  Consequently, I’m not formally proposing any change but the meeting might like to discuss this further under AOB.


Julie Denning