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SUSSEX COUNTY BOWLS COMPETITIONS – 2022 ONWARD

Since the new County Website was created and introduced two years ago, B4B have been working on the creation of a Competitions Portal for this County - using the Bowls England Competition Portal as a template - with adjustments being made to suit the needs of a County.

During the past year I have spent considerable time inputting data and testing varying aspects of the Portal and discussing with Essex - who are using a very similar Portal which they are using for Competitions this year 2021 - and helping sorting out the bugs and anomalies.

The Chairman, Webmaster, Competition Secretary and I, have all been involved in online calls with B4B - often at 8 o’clock in the morning as one of their people is based in Canada!! We have arranged for various changes to be made and we are now very close to having a working system which the GPC has recently agreed will go live for all Competitions in 2022.

The system is basically very simple to use and any player who enters the current Direct Entry to Bowls England Competitions, which are actioned online – will be very familiar with how the system works. We are fortunate that our Portal will be an improvement on the BE Portal - as we have ensured that a ‘basket system’ has been included. On the BE system it is necessary to enter - and to pay - for each transaction individually, whereas with a ‘basket system’ - as many will have seen when ordering goods online - an entrant can enter one competition and then as many other as they wish - and finally pay for all entries at once - which is easier for them and saves this County considerable money on the fees changed by the ‘Stripe system’ that collects the money.

We are using the Stripe system for the collection of money – which is basically the same as the better known Paypal – but considerably cheaper on transaction costs. Both BE and Essex also use Stripe for the money transaction and it is considered 100% secure!

It will - with effect from 2022 - be a requirement for entrants to our County and our National Competitions - to enter these competitions online. Only in very exceptional circumstances will an entrant be able to submit a form for submission to the system by one of the web administrators. Essex found this year that over 95% of their entries were indeed submitted online.

The procedure for submission of an entry is very simple and full details will be issued to all clubs and posted online on the Competition Portal when it is available. Each person creates an account with their own password and then has access to all the Competitions that they have entered.

I give a ‘very brief’ summary below as to how the system works.

Once the closing date for entries has passed:

a) the Competition will be annotated as closed and the draw will be carried out automatically online.

b) The full draw will appear online for all entrants in that competition to see;

c) all entrants for each competition will receive an email notifying them, of their opponent and contact details – the ‘play on date’ or the ‘closing date’ for the round if a ‘play by date’ Competition.

When a match has been played:

a) the result and the names of all members of a team will be required to be entered by the player;

b) a further email is then sent notify to players of their next opponent and date etc.

When all matches in an area have been played:

a) The system will transfer the last two players across to the final stage sheet (Qtr. Finals onward);

b) Once all names/teams have been included on that sheet the system will again do a random draw for each of the Competitions, which will be published.

The system has an inbuilt facility to allow the web administrator to input entries, results, make corrections where errors are notified etc.

As many of you will be aware, we have in the past two years had serious problems in recruiting a Divisional Competition Secretary in both Division Three and Divisions Four and the introduction of this system will greatly reduce the amount of work that will be required to be carried out by such people. It is also important that we do not have too many different people with access to the administrative pages of the Competition Portal.

We anticipate that for there will be no requirement for four Divisional Competition Secretaries from 2023 and it is proposed that in future Competitions will be run by the Competition Secretary with one Assistant Competition Secretary.

2022 will be a major change as to how competitions are operated, but a definite step forward and one which if approached with a positive attitude I am sure will not present any problems and will indeed make life easier and more understandable for the entrants and the administrators.

Will you pleases ensure all of your players are fully aware that all entries to County Competitions in 2022 will be by a player making a direct entry - and payment – online

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