League Secretary Resigns

I have really enjoyed being League Secretary of the Veterans League for the last five years and I had hoped and expected to double that tally and beat the record of the long-serving Tommy Dunford. That is not to be and on Friday last I informed the President that I was stepping down from the position with immediate effect.

There is just one reason for that. I am appalled at the behaviour of the Management Committee in discriminating against lady bowlers. The decision to stop the new Winter League joining the HDVBA solely because they want to be a mixed-gender league makes me ashamed to be associated with these decisions.

I have a few principles that have guided me through life. One of those is about the way I treat people. I worked in the NHS for over 30 years. Seventy-five per cent of staff in the NHS are female, 25% of them are from overseas so anything that discriminates against these groups goes against my principles. From these two groups, I have met some wonderfully dedicated and talented individuals and to discriminate against them would be totally alien to me.

The fact is that the Management Committee voted 6-5 against welcoming the Winter League to operate under its umbrella organisation. That was just five weeks after recording a 10-0 vote in favour of exactly the opposite. The only thing that happened in that intervening period was that the Winter League opted to become a mixed-gender competition. Five Management Committee members changed their vote but they will not tell you why. Those five are Alan Stephenson (Treasurer), David Armitage, Frank Greenwood, Ian Kinloch and Alan Sharp. I hope that people keep asking them what happened for them to change their vote and then judge whether those responses are credible.

You will note from the list above that it does not include the President, General Secretary, League Secretary or Competition Secretary. Four top officials in the HDVBA have been worked around again and this growing lack of influence of this foursome was also a major concern of mine. The tail is wagging the dog! Another factor was a remark made by one of these five during the heated discussions. A statement that 'the Management Committee isn't there to do what the clubs want, the Management Committee is there to tell the clubs what to do'. That was a big surprise to me as I thought it was the other way around. It is back to principles, there is a mismatch between mine and the developing agenda of a divided Management Committee.

I don't like leaving mid-term but decided that, with no bowling matters pressing, it was probably best for the HDVBA that I did so, allowing a longer period to find a replacement before the 2021 season starts. This is not a knee-jerk reaction to a situation. The meeting where this terrible decision was made was two weeks ago, I have given a lot of thought to my future since then. I have been looking for an excuse to stay in the role. I had hoped that an appeal from the Winter League clubs would be launched but I misjudged their resolve with the clubs stepping back rather than confronting the HDVBA. That is a precedent the clubs will have to live with. Maybe the Management Committee was right in that they do tell the clubs what to do. That step back was a big disappointment to me and left me with a dilemma which can only be satisfied by resigning from my role.

Will stepping down make a blind bit of difference? To me, it certainly will. It will also probably mean no more HDVBA Newsletters, no more website postings, no Fantasy League, Examiner reports or transparent reporting to member clubs of HDVBA business. That's a shame with so much progress having been made in all these areas.

Many of you will know that I have been compiling a history of the HDVBA to be published this year and add to the Golden Jubilee commemoration. Currently comprising of more than 300-pages and on the point of being divided into two volumes but my enthusiasm for the project has now diminished and I am not motivated to finish it at present.

I will not miss the increasing demands from the Management Committee for editorial control of the website and censorship of content. There will be no more updates on the website but it remains open for people to post comments and add to the Members Forum as they wish.

I hope to continue bowling in the League for many years to come and I am staying on as Secretary for the new Winter League in its opening season to help them through its gestation period. I've put too much work into this to walk away now but that will just be a one-season appointment.

Thank you to all the good people I have met and worked for and alongside over the last seven years whilst serving on the Management Committee. I am truly sorry that things are ending this way.

Jeff Jacklin

26 July 2020

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