The ABU Council met on Sat 4th August.

First up was an e-mail asking when the Council was going to discuss the behaviour of Mr Burn at the AGM last April and what action was going to be taken. The ensuing review of events concluded that Mr Burn had addressed the meeting, in particular the Chairman, in a loud and aggressive manner, which was not appropriate for a formal meeting and that some members present had been upset. The Council also recognised that Mr Burn made a brief apology to the meeting and had telephoned Mr Lindsay the following morning to offer a further personal apology. In addition, Mr Burn had, as an act of repentance, offered his services as host and director for the Pollok Williamson summer competition as well as offering to direct a number of competitions throughout the forthcoming year if required. The Council concluded that this was deemed sufficient to warrant no further action being taken.

It is good to see that the Pollok Williamson competition has been well attended and has run very smoothly.

Behaviour at our clubs and competitions is always a big issue. Rude or threatening language at the table in particular is something that I despise and will take very seriously if it occurs on my “watch”.

Moving on to something more noisy – the fridge! We all agreed that the constant humming and buzzing emanating from the present appliance is extremely annoying. Our premises member will be charged with hunting down a reasonably priced replacement with the overriding priority of quietness. I hope this will be one of the more unanimously popular decisions that the Council will make.

The Rayne Teams qualifier will be held concurrently with the Viking Teams in September in an attempt to ensure that Ayrshire provides at least one representative team for the final. It is hoped that those wishing to play in the Viking teams only will not have to pay the entry fee for the Rayne and only those that pay the full fee will be eligible for qualifying. Further details on this will follow once we have checked with the SBU Tournament convener.

One other important topic was raised; that of pre-dealt boards being taken for free by clubs not based at the centre. It currently costs the ABU £3 to deal a set of boards. This money goes to the dealing members for their time. The Council all agreed that the recently voted increase in table money at the centre was sufficient for centre based clubs to continue to use a set of these boards each week without an additional charge. Kilwinning BC and until recently, St Leonards BC have been using sets for free. Clearly, this is costing the ABU a considerable amount of money over the course of a year. The Council agreed that in the interests of fairness, either all non-centre based clubs or none should be given this free service – it should not be restricted to one or two clubs. As it would be unsustainable to provide free board sets to every club, the only alternative would be to offer the use of the dealing machine to a named member(s) from the club so that they can deal their own boards or make outlying clubs pay (£3) for the service provided by the ABU. This will start from 1 September.

On a sad note, I am sorry to report the passing of Jack Cree from Kilmarnock this week. On the few occasions I played against him, he was always a very pleasant and cheerful personality at the table.

Finally, I shall be glued to events from Shanghai from Thursday onwards as my daughter Yvonne plays in her second World Championships. She is representing England U-26 Girls/Ladies this time following their Bronze medal in the European Championships last year. She has come a long way since her first visit to the Bruce club many years ago and I am sure we all wish her well.