CONSTITUTION AND RULES – Version 12 (April 2021)


These Constitution and Rules, as last amended on 10th April 2021, were adopted on 14th November 2009. In these Rules unless the context otherwise permits or requires, the following words and expressions shall have the following meanings:

‘Affiliated Club’ means a Club that is fully paid up and affiliated to the Somerset Bowls Association (SBA).

‘BE’ means Bowls England

‘Council’ means a council of Members elected annually at the AGM and comprising the two Senior Vice Presidents, the two Junior Vice Presidents, a Patrons Representative and one member (not to serve on the ExB) from each of eight regions as follows:

Region 1, Bath – Alexandra, Bath, Bloomfield, Stothert & Pitt,  Victoria Park (Bath), Weston (Bath).

Region 2, Bristol – Bristol , Greville Smyth Community, Imperial, Knowle, Long Ashton,  St Annes Park, Severn Vale, Victoria Park (Bristol), Willmott Park.

Region 3, East – Chew Stoke, Fosseway, Frome Park, Frome Selwood, Fry’s, Keynsham, Norwest, Paulton, Prattens, Purnell.

Region 4, North – Clevedon, Clevedon Promenade (Ladies’), Clevedon Promenade (Men’s), Congresbury, Nailsea (Ladies’), Nailsea (Men’s), Portishead (Ladies’), Portishead (Men’s), Portishead RBL (Ladies’), Portishead RBL (Men’s), West Backwell, Wrington, Yatton.

Region 5, South – Chard, Crewkerne, Ilminster, Merriott, Severalls Jubilee, South Petherton, Taunton, Taunton Deane, Wellington

Region 6, South-East – Castle Cary, City of Wells, Glastonbury (Wyrral Park), Queen Camel, Shepton Mallet, Somerton & District, Street, Westland Sports, Yeovil.

Region 7, West – Bridgwater, Eastover Park, Minehead, North Petherton, Porlock & District, Victoria Park (Bridgwater), Watchet, Williton.

Region 8, Weston-super-Mare – Ashcombe Park, Banwell, Burnham-on-Sea, Clarence, Isle of Wedmore, Mark Moor, St Andrews, Victoria, Wessex, Winscombe.

‘Club’ means a bona fide bowling club which possesses or has access for competitive purposes to a green fit for the Sport of Bowls. It will represent a serious breach of these rules if a Club stages an event or events on rinks not fit for the Sport of Bowls in that it either poses a threat to the safety of the players or is likely to cause damage to bowls.

‘ExB’ means the Executive Board

‘Executive Board’ means the Executive Board of the Somerset Bowls Association (SBA), comprising the following Officers: President (Men), President (Ladies), Chairman, General Secretary, Treasurer, Championship/Competition Secretary, Performance Manager, Merchandising Manager, League Secretary, Match Secretary, Member without Portfolio, County Coach and Development Manager.

‘Laws of the Sport’ means the current Laws of the Sport of Bowls (Crystal Mark edition) and the Domestic Regulations for Bowls England

‘Member’ means any individual member of an Affiliated Club whose rights of membership include the playing of bowls on the Club’s green. (Hence, it includes not just full members (of either gender) but also categories of membership such as Life Members and Junior Members.)  Members are ipso facto members of the SBA

‘Mixed Club’ means an Affiliated Club whose membership comprises both genders.

‘Primary Club’ means the Affiliated Club for whom the Member plays competitive bowls. If the Member is a member of more than one Affiliated Club but does not play competitive bowls then for the purposes of voting at SBA general meetings, the Member must declare before the meeting one of his or her clubs to be the Primary Club

‘Regulations’ means the Laws of the Sport and the Rules and Regulations of Bowls England and the Constitution and Rules of the SBA and the Constitution and Rules of Affiliated Clubs and any other rules, by laws, regulations, conditions or codes of conduct applying to Bowls England and the SBA and the Affiliated Club and any amendments thereto

‘Rules’ means the Constitution and Rules of the SBA

‘SBA’ means the ‘Somerset Bowls Association’

‘Single Gender Club’ means a Club whose membership is restricted to either all Male or all Female members.

‘Somerset’ means the geographical area described by the County boundary on 31st March 1965

‘Sport of Bowls’ means the sport and pastime of bowls as practised by Male and Female participants on outdoor level greens in England.

Constitution and Rules

1.        Title

The Association shall be called the ‘Somerset Bowls Association’.

2.        Purpose

The purpose of the SBA is to promote, foster and safeguard the Sport of Bowls in Somerset in every legitimate way and in accordance with the Laws of the Sport. In particular, it shall:

(a)         advise concerning the laying and upholding of greens

(b)         provide a safe environment in which children and vulnerable adults can enjoy taking part in the sport of bowls

(c)         hold annually various knockout Championships and Competitions and League Competitions for individuals, teams and sides representing Affiliated Clubs

(d)         play competitive and friendly inter-county and other representative matches

(e)         provide coaching for new and existing bowlers

(f)         when requested, interpret on questions of Regulations and practice and arbitrate on disputes thereto between or among SBA and Affiliated Clubs and Members.

3.           Structure

(a)         The SBA shall be an unincorporated, non-profit making organisation with all the proceeds and surpluses being used for the defined Purpose (see Rule 2).

(b)         The SBA shall be a full member of Bowls England, and the two County authorised representatives shall be one male and one female who shall be appointed by the ExB. The business to be transacted at any BE Meeting shall be discussed by the ExB prior to the meeting and the two representatives shall be mandated as to how they should vote. They will report back to the Board.

4.           Affiliation to the SBA

(a)         Affiliation to the SBA shall be open to Clubs in Somerset. Affiliated Clubs are ipso facto affiliate members of BE. All Affiliated Clubs must provide the General Secretary (and thereby BE) with an e-mail address for correspondence. This will normally be that of the General Secretary of the club but where this is not possible the e-mail address of a member who is prepared to accept correspondence on his or her behalf must be given.

(b)         Every application for affiliation shall be made to the General Secretary, and shall be accompanied by a copy of the Club’s constitution and rules, a list of its officers and all its members, the addresses of the Secretary (including the e-mail address to be used), Treasurer and green, and the amount of the first annual subscription.

(c)         Such application shall be considered and decided upon by the ExB. In particular the ExB must satisfy itself that the constitution and rules of the club are complementary to SBA and BE Regulations. The ExB shall also determine the nature of the applicant’s affiliation (i.e. whether it be a “single gender” Club or a Mixed Club). The General Secretary shall advise applicants of the outcome of their application within fourteen days of the decision.

(d)         Affiliated Clubs are required to provide a green or greens fit for the Sport of Bowls. The SBA accepts no responsibility for greens which are dangerous for play or in such a condition that damage may be caused to bowls. Any injuries sustained by players or damage caused to bowls will be entirely the responsibility of the Affiliated Club.  Any decision to close the green is theirs and theirs alone to make. The SBA will only consider a green as unfit for play for National Championships & Competitions, County Competitions and County League, and only insofar as it does not conform to the provisions of Section 4(1) of the Laws of the Sport of Bowls as amended by Regulation 1 of the Domestic Regulations for Bowls England.

(e)         Affiliated Clubs are bound by the Regulations, its own and those of its Associations.

(f)         Any Affiliated Club may disaffiliate from the SBA (and hence BE) by giving written notice, to include a copy of the minute of their general meeting of Members that resolved so to disaffiliate.

(g)         Any Clubs disaffiliating from the SBA shall forfeit all interest in the funds of the SBA and shall be in the same position as if it had never been a member but shall be liable for any money due to the SBA. (Rule 6 of the SBA Benevolent Fund may apply)

5.           Membership

(a)         Members of Affiliated Clubs are ipso facto Members of the SBA and BE.

(b)         The ExB shall have the power to nominate for Life Membership those who have rendered special services to the sport.

6.           Annual Subscription

(a)         The SBA Annual Subscription is the charge per Member, including the subscription to BE, which shall be determined by the ExB.

(b)         The Annual Subscription payable by a club to the SBA Treasurer, no later than 7th May, (late payment shall incur a penalty charge of up to £100 at the discretion of the ExB) is based on the number of members of that club who have a right to play bowls for the current season. A list of those members shall be provided to the General Secretary by e-mail no later than 7th May.

(c)         The ExB may suspend any Affiliated Club which fails to pay the annual subscription by the due date.  Suspended clubs shall be treated as not affiliated until the whole of the arrears, including any penalty charge, has been paid. In the meantime, the Club and its Members shall be precluded from exercising any rights under the Constitution and Rules, including playing in National Championships and Competitions, County Competitions, the League and representative matches.

7.           Administration

(a)         All the affairs of the SBA shall be conducted by the members of the Executive Board in accordance with job descriptions which will be retained by the General Secretary. The General Secretary will bring forward the Job Descriptions to the April Board Meeting for consideration of any adjustments necessary. In addition the ExB may at any time and following the appropriate levels of consultation amend those job descriptions and the administrative structure as may be required.

(b)         The ExB shall meet at least six times per year, in December, February, June, September and (in part with the Council – see Rule 7(f)) in April and October. For such meetings, there shall be a quorum of six. In the case of equal votes, the Chairman shall have a second and casting vote.

(c)         The ExB shall have power to make appointments to fill any vacancy arising on the ExB during the year. Such appointees shall have the right to vote at ExB and General Meetings. In those cases where a member of the ExB has notified that he/she will be resigning from the Board a ‘shadow appointee’ may be co-opted in order to gain experience of the job. Such ‘shadow appointee’ shall not have the right to vote. The ExB shall also ratify all appointments of unelected individuals requested by ExB members to assist them in the discharge of their responsibilities. It may, if necessary to fulfil its responsibilities effectively, seek professional advice or assistance.

(d)         The accounting period of the SBA shall be twelve months to 30th September each year.

(e)         The SBA shall effect liability insurance to cover any Member in the event of accident or injury sustained when engaged in carrying out any duties on behalf of the Association.

(f)          The performance of the ExB shall be scrutinised by the Council at two meetings each year, the first to be held in April and the second to be held at some time in the first two weeks of October each year. The Council may demand that written reports on its scrutiny be presented to the AGM.

8.           Finance

(a)             The Treasurer shall be responsible for all financial matters relating to the SBA and shall present a Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Account for all Association Accounts to each AGM

(b)             All cheques shall be signed by the Treasurer and countersigned by a nominated member of the ExB.

(c)            The ExB shall have power to appoint up to four members of the ExB, one of whom shall be the Treasurer, to sit on a Finance Committee. The Committee shall meet at least twice a year on dates designated by the ExB.

(d)             Part of the remit of the Finance Committee shall be to set a budget for the following year which shall be presented to the ExB at each February meeting.

9.           General Meetings

(a)       Subject to the General Secretary receiving e-mail or postal support for a motion or motions, identically worded, from the secretaries of at least two Affiliated Clubs, or upon receipt of a motion obtaining the majority support of the ExB, the General Secretary is required either to include them in the business for the AGM or if they have the support of at least ten Affiliated Clubs within 45 days if sooner and so requested by the motion to convene a Special General Meeting for the purpose of considering such a motion or motions.

(b)         At least 21 days’ notice of all general meetings shall be given by e-mail to the secretaries of each Affiliated Club. The agenda and all motions to be put shall be issued with the notice. Ballot papers will be issued to Members with appropriate voting rights when they register their attendance at the meeting.

(c)         Any Member of any Affiliated Club is entitled to attend General Meetings. Each Affiliated Club is required to advise the General Secretary in the manner he or she prescribes of its mandated representative in advance of the meeting. The Chairman, or if absent one of the two Presidents appointed by the Chairman, shall act as chairman.

(d)         Voting rights

i.        ExB members, with the exception of ‘shadow’ appointees (see Rule 7c), members of Council, Past Presidents, Life Members and Life Members Life Members of the former Men’s and Ladies’ Associations are entitled to one vote per person. On regional matters, their Primary Club determines the Region within which their vote shall be cast. Any of these persons may also be mandated to represent an Affiliated Club in accordance with Rule 9(d)ii below.

ii.        One mandated representative of each Affiliated Club in accordance with Rule 9(c) is entitled to cast the votes for their Club. The number of votes is equivalent to the number of members registered with SBA by the Club as at 7th May immediately preceding the general meeting. On regional matters, they may only vote within their own Region. As representatives have been mandated by their Club as to how they should vote, no discussion shall be allowed.

iii.        The result of voting shall be declared on a simple majority basis. No proxy votes will be allowed.

iv.         In the case of equal votes, the chairman shall have a second and casting vote.

(e)         Twenty-five voting members with voting rights shall form a quorum at general meetings.

(f)          The General Secretary shall keep a record of all business transacted.

10. Annual General Meeting

(a)         Applications and Nominations for Office

i.        The General Secretary must invite, by e-mail, applications for each of the following elected offices at least 60 days prior to the AGM.


General Secretary


Championship/Competition Secretary

Performance Manager

Merchandising Manager

League Secretary

Match Secretary

Development Manager

County Coach

Member without Portfolio
Applicants for these elected offices shall require to submit their applications by e-mail to the General Secretary according to his or her instructions at least 40 days prior to the date of the AGM.

ii.        The General Secretary must invite, by e-mail, nominations for each of the following elected offices at least 60 days prior to the AGM.

Presidents or Senior Vice Presidents where something untoward has interrupted or is likely to interrupt the natural succession (see Rule 10(d)ii)

Two Junior Vice Presidents (one man, one woman)

Up to four other Vice Presidents (two men, two women)

Two Middleton Cup Selectors (one each for Regions 1 to 4, and 5 to 8)

Two John’s Trophy Selectors (one each for Regions 1 to 4, and 5 to 8)

Four Men’s General Selectors (one each for Regions 1 & 3, 2 & 4, 5 & 6, 7 & 8)

Four Women’s General Selectors (one each for Regions 1 & 3, 2 & 4, 5 & 6, 7 & 8)

Eight Members of Council (one per Region)

Life Members

Patrons’ Association officers (as requested by the Patrons’ Association)

Benevolent Fund officers (as requested by the fund’s trustees)

Candidates for these elected offices shall require e-mail or postal nomination and seconding from the secretaries of two Affiliated clubs, one of which must be the nominee’s Primary Club (with the exception of those nominated for Life membership by the ExB in accordance with Rule 5(b)), to be submitted to the General Secretary according to his or her instructions at least 40 days prior to the date of the AGM. An Affiliated Club shall not nominate or second more candidates for an office than there are vacancies to be filled.

iii.        All applicants and nominees (with the exception of those nominated for Life membership in accordance with Rule 5(b)) shall at the time of their application or nomination and for the period until the election be bona fide Members of an Affiliated Club. Neither the Accounts’ Examiners nor any of their servants shall be members of or candidates for election to the ExB or Council.

iv.        Members shall be permitted to apply for and serve in no more than two of the Offices set out in Rule 10(a).

v.        The ExB may refer back nominations for Vice President or Life Membership that it feels are not worthy. It may do this on two successive occasions. Any such nomination being received on a third occasion must be allowed to go forward to the AGM.

(b)         Notice – The AGM shall be held on a Saturday in November each year. Included with the notice shall be:

i.        Reports from each ExB member

ii.        Any scrutiny report from the Council

iii.        Details of all applications and nominations for office

iv.        Any motions to be put in accordance with Rule 9(a).

(c)         Business – The AGM shall:

i.        Appoint scrutineers

ii.        Consider for adoption the reports presented with the notice and the audited accounts

iii.        Consider for adoption annual reports from the Patrons’ Association and benevolent funds

iv.        Consider all motions put

v.        Elect its officers and any Patrons’ Association and Benevolent Fund officers so requested by that association or fund

vi.       Appoint the Safeguarding/Welfare Officer.

vii.        Appoint Accounts’ Examiners.

viii.       Appoint Examiners for the Patrons Accounts.

(d)         Elections

i.        The AGM shall elect all the officers on a simple majority basis, from the valid applicants and validly nominated candidates. No proxy votes shall be allowed. Each elected officer shall serve for one year and, without express AGM approval, for no more than five consecutive years in the same post, except that Other Vice Presidents shall serve for a maximum of two years, in that role. The time scale of this rule shall not apply to Life Members, or the Patronss’ Association and Benevolent Fund Officers.

ii.        At the AGM each Senior Vice President shall succeed to President, and each Junior Vice President shall succeed to Senior Vice President, all to serve in that office for one year.

iii.        Any Member elected to office (apart from Life Members) who during the course of the term of the office for which he has been elected ceases for a period of at least 30 days to be a member of an Affiliated Club, including under the provisions of Rule 6(c), shall be disqualified from office with immediate effect. A vacancy ,so arising may be filled by the ExB in accordance with Rule 7(c).

11.        Discipline

For all matters relating to Discipline, the procedures as set out in Bowls England Regulation 9 (Appeals from Club Disciplinary Committee) or Regulation 9A  (Misconduct at County Level) as appropriate, shall be applied in full.

12.        Protection of Children and the Vulnerable

The SBA is committed to promoting a safe environment in which children and vulnerable adults can enjoy taking part in the sport of bowls. It will seek to underpin and ensure this commitment by following and promoting the Safeguarding/ Child Protection Policy Procedures of BE. Affiliated Clubs shall, by 1st January each year in the manner he or she so prescribes, confirm to the General Secretary that they follow and promote Safeguarding/Child Protection Procedures and retain an appropriate clause to this effect in their Rules and Constitution, and name the Affiliated Club’s current Safeguarding/Welfare Officer together with their address and telephone number and where appropriate their e-mail address.

13.        Discrimination, Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Legislation

The Association acknowledges its responsibility under this Legislation to ensure, inter alia, that nobody is unfairly discriminated against solely on grounds of gender, sexuality, age, race, religious belief, disability or level of personal income whilst participating, or seeking to participate, in the Sport of Bowls in Somerset.

14.        Data Protection Act 1984

All Clubs that supply a list of their members for whatever reason shall be deemed to be aware of the provisions of the Act relating to the disclosure of personal information and to have given their authorisation to such disclosure.

15.        Indemnity

(a)         The ExB and each and every member whose appointment has been ratified by the ExB shall, except in the case of willful default or fraudulent acts or admissions, be indemnified by and out of SBA funds against any loss, damage, expense or liability incurred by reason of or in connection with any legal proceedings instituted against them or any of them for any act done, admitted or suffered in relation to the performance of any of their duties in respect of the SBA.

(b)         The ExB shall effect any appropriate insurance cover in respect of the indemnity provision in this clause at the expense of the SBA.

16.        Monetary Gain

No person or firm or company or undertaking in which any ExB member or any of their ratified appointed assistants is involved shall be entitled to derive or otherwise receive any income, benefit or advantage from the SBA where that person is able to determine or materially influence the amount or nature of that income, benefit or advantage.  Provided that any persons who render professional services to the SBA shall be entitled to be paid all usual and reasonable professional business and trade charges for work done for the SBA.

17.        Liquidation

In the event of the liquidation of the SBA the funds and assets of the SBA remaining after payment and satisfaction of its debts and liabilities and the costs and expenses of liquidation shall be distributed by the SBA in general meeting to a sporting body which is established substantially or primarily for the purpose of promoting any game or sport, provided that the game or sport is conducted for the recreation and benefit or entertainment of the general public in Somerset and no part of the income or other funds of the body corporate operating such sport is used or available to be used for the pecuniary profit of any proprietor, member or shareholder.

18.        Alteration of Rules

Alteration of or addition to all or any of the foregoing Rules shall be made only at the AGM or at such Special General Meeting convened for the purpose by motion put in accordance with Rule 9(a).

19.        Matters not provided for

If any matter shall arise which in the opinion of the ExB is not provided for in these Rules then the matter may be determined by the ExB in such manner as it sees fit, and every such determination shall be binding upon Affiliated Clubs and Members unless and until set aside by a resolution of a general meeting