Selection Committee Minutes: 6 December 2014

Participants:

Anne Perkins (Chairman), Malcolm Cuthbertson, Sandy Duncan, Anne Symons, John Matheson, Iain Sime*, Paul Gipson*

Mike Ash hoped to participate via Skype but network issues prevented this. Iain and Paul attended to assist with the National League feedback.

World Bridge Games selection policy

  1. The committee decided that it did not wish to overload the National League (Open) or European trials (Women and Seniors) with yet another selection. There was discussion whether a team that finished more than a match clear in these events might be selected for the World Bridge Games, but it was considered fairer to run a separate trial.

  2. As the committee did not wish to run a two-week trial in any category, a maximum of four teams will participate in each trial. If more than four teams apply, then the committee will invite teams taking into account performance in the National League, other trials, and results in recent national and international events. The committee would probably seed each trial.

  3. The chairman will present the Selection Policy updated with these decisions for approval at the next Council meeting.

  4. The committee liked the idea of supporting the winners of the National Pairs to attend the pairs event at the World Bridge Games. However it would recommend a return to national, rather than district, semifinals to make it a fairer event. These views will be passed to the Tournament Committee.

National League review

  1. The committee discussed the feedback gathered by Paul's online form. There were 25 responses, ten from First Division players and 15 from the Second Division.

  2. Overall the feedback was very positive and many expressed the view that it was already the best event in the calendar.

  3. The principal complaint was the lack of space in the St Andrew Bridge Club. If entries are similar next season, the committee will seek a larger club or spread the divisions across multiple clubs.

  4. The committee decided that the winners will receive £800 and the runners-up £200 next season. It will continue to give a prize to the Second Division winners.

  5. Screens are unlikely to be used in the Second Division given the space requirements and the likely investment needed. The chairman will investigate the cost of additional screens but it is not a priority investment.

  6. The committee decided to retain the same format, feeling that a multiple round-robin provides a similar test to that of the Camrose Trophy and European Team Championships.

  7. The draw will be seeded for the second weekend from next season.

  8. The committee discussed at length whether it was fair to permit players to compete in the National League when they had no intention of playing for the Scotland team. The majority believed that it was more beneficial for Scottish bridge to see the strongest players at the event, even though they might not play against every team.

Conditions of Contest for the 2015 National League

  1. The only major change is the addition of selection criteria for the Open team for the European Team Championships. The Selection Policy already defined these.

  2. The team continuity criteria for the 2016 season were subtly modified to make it more difficult to attain for teams where players play less than 50% of the boards. It was thought unfair to make such a change retrospective and modify it for the 2015 season.

  3. The limit of four system cards per team will only apply for each weekend.

Budget

  1. The committee produced a draft budget that will be submitted to Council.

  2. For the Home International Series, the committee budgeted to provide accommodation and travel expenses for the Open and Women teams, and accommodation for the Seniors team.

  3. When Scotland hosts a Home International Series weekend, travel expenses will not be provided. The cost of hosting a weekend is appropriately £4,000.

  4. Scotland is currently committed to hosting the following weekends:

    January 2015 Camrose Trophy
    February 2016 Junior Camrose and Peggy Bayer
    May 2016 Seniors Camrose
    March 2017 Camrose Trophy (and two Scotland teams)
    April 2018 Lady Milne Trophy (and two Scotland teams)

  5. For the European Team Championships and World Bridge Games, the committee intends to pay the entry fees for the Open, Women and Seniors teams. It will also provide £7,000 to each of the Open and Women teams as a contribution towards expenses.

  6. The committee wished to ask Council whether funding for the Seniors should be on the same basis as that of the Open and Women's teams. (After the meeting Mike Ash confirmed that the current funding policy is the result of a Council decision. Asking Council to reaffirm this would be reasonable).

  7. Jenny Cooper will provide the budgetary items for the Juniors.

Lady Milne trial (and Senior Camrose)

  1. The committee considered a request to consider relaxing the criteria for the selection of the third pair especially when the number of competing pairs was very small.

  2. The committee decided to select the third pair from those competing in the trial.

  3. As this is consistent with the existing Selection Policy and the closing date for the trial is next month, it was decided to change the Conditions of Contest immediately.

  4. The same change was made for the Seniors Camrose trial.

Training

  1. There is appropriately £1,400 currently available in the training budget.

  2. The committee discussed various ideas for training and coaching. These included: funding or part-funding participation in strong tournaments like the EBU Spring Foursomes; funding team coaching sessions.

  3. There was concern that some pairs were inadequately prepared for the previous European Team Championships and that the committee needs to invest more time in team preparation.

  4. The Conditions of Contest for the European Team Championships trials will include a requirement that the selected teams participate in an appropriate training program prior to the championships. Failure to comply with this requirement will jeopardise their selection to represent Scotland in future years.

AOCB

  1. The committee recognised that it has rushed to announce the selection of the third pair and NPCs in the recent past. In the future it will not make an announcement on the same day as the trial and will generally wait a few days to allow for more discussion and consultation.

  2. The importance of balanced movements, especially in trials with small fields, was stressed. The committee will work more closely with the director-in-charge in this regard.

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