Brexit, Trump and then just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, along comes the 2018 Leamington League AGM. Any thoughts you had of turning up on September the whenever to play another season under the rules and conditions that you are used to can go straight out the window.
First, the AGM voted to adopt a registration system to try and stop sharp/questionable practices in the selection of stronger players in weaker teams, or of ringers being brought in to strengthen teams at the end of the season. Laudable aims both, but potentially at a considerable cost in terms of selection flexibility and yet more work for club and league volunteers alike. I do not doubt for a second that the same result could have been achieved by less onerous methods. Watch this space to see how this develops, since the actual rules of the registration system are yet to be finalised, but rest assured there will doubtless be issues for us and every other club as a consequence.
But that was by no means the low point of the evening, since in the space of about 10 minutes the proposal from Banbury to change the League's time limit to 90 minutes for the entire game, with no intermediate time control, was tabled, discussed and voted through. No substantive argument was made in favour by the proposers and when I spoke against the change and asked about the reason for the proposal, the only answer given - and I kid you not - was that some people at Banbury found it difficult to set the clocks. (I have played with digital clocks at Banbury for at least two seasons, and the clocks were set correctly every time on all boards - but hey, what do I know?) Rob Reynolds of Olton said a few words against the proposal and then Dave Thomas, one of England's most senior Arbiters, also spoke and recommended that the proposed change should not be approved. As far as I recall, no-one spoke in favour, though there were a couple of oblique references to some apparently well-known Birmingham League incidents - of minimal/dubious relevance as far as I could tell.
So then we voted. And quite bizarrely the AGM was in favour of a new time limit for which not one coherent argument had been advanced. Utterly mystifying. A time limit I have never heard a single complaint about is replaced on an apparently perverse whim. If I have in any way misrepresented the Banbury proposal or the discussion on the subject that took place, I am happy to be corrected, but the above is certainly my honest recollection. Ben, Mike J and Dave were all in attendance, and they can put me right if necessary.
Anyway, I'm bloody depressed, and to make matters worse, I now have to immerse myself in the accursed registration system proposals and find out what that does to my rapidly diminishing sanity. Happy days.