Pulling The Flag

Stop Showboating – Nick Bertenshaw

Saturday saw the West Essex Showboats bow out of the national league, with a 60-6 loss against the Cardiff Hurricanes, stating just a few days prior that they wouldn’t be returning for the 2018 season.

In what was possibly somewhat of a revelation, they are quoted as saying that they “hadn’t had a proper training session since 2014”. Read into that what you will, but that is quite impressive when you consider they have managed to make the playoffs for the last three seasons without doing so.

Or is it?

They also are quoted as saying that they are “probably being the most disliked team in the UK”. We are not quite sure where that comment stems from? But it is likely something to do with the fact the adult flag co-ordinator, Bafa’s Nick Bertenshaw, is the leader of the Showboats organisation.

A lot of stick has been thrown Nick’s way over the past four years or so. Some of it may have even been justified, but we’ve seen the national league make huge strides in that time, a time when the participation numbers have more than doubled.

But one of the criticisms is the seemingly imbalanced conference and divisions set up, sometimes it seems favouring his Showboats team.

That maybe unfair criticism. It may very well be part and parcel of being the league organiser to take that heat. Criticism will always fall on the person responsible. The phrase “keyboard warriors” is often also banded around when it comes to how that criticism is directed at Nick and Bafa.

The nature of the way in which people have the right to voice their opinions is never so prominent as the times in which we live in, where by every tiny fragment of the sport can be micro analysed, scrutinised and debated over in full view of anyone who wishes to see or get involved in it. Heck, this very article is designed to engage with that very audience and create a discussion.

The news that the Showboats have decided to walk off into the sunshine, begs the question as to if Nick will still be running the league still? Well, the answer seems to be no, Nick will not!

Without having a stake as such in the participation, the obvious conclusion will be that the responsibility will or has already been taken away.

That begs the question to who?

BAFA Director of Competitions Russ Hewitt is an obvious choice. However, Russ’s expertise lay with contact football and his involvement in the running of the youth flag league has hardly been a success. So, the likelihood is he would oversee the structure, but “another” would arrange the fixtures.

Great Britain Head Coach, Alan Young has noticeably been visible on the designated Facebook social media group page, addressing league head coaches that an email has been sent out to them with regards a questionnaire about the proposed two-tier system for 2018.

Could Alan be part of the solution once more?

For those who aren’t aware, Alan was Nick’s predecessor and would be well placed to step into the breach once more.

This is purely speculation of course, or is it an educated guess?

Time will tell, but what we do know is the adult flag set up has been in capable hands these past years and improvement has been evident for sure.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement, it’s evidently clear that it does. But when the flag gods look back at the growth of the game, there will be hopefully not be an oversight, whereby the name of Nick Bertenshaw is overlooked for all the efforts he has put in over the course of the last four years.

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