News 2020

23 Out Of 26 - A Top Mark!

posted Jul 3, 2020, 2:56 AM by Malcolm Fletcher

Out of 26 member clubs in the League, 23 had - by this weekend - re-opened their greens under the BCGBA guidelines.

Many of them are seeing only limited use and some have restricted the number of days they are open, but paid up members at them now at least have the chance to take some exercise in the fresh air.

Numbers may well increase now that clubs have been given the go-ahead to organise internal competitions, something Albrighton in particular have been pushing for.

Only the greens at Hadley USC, Much Wenlock and Elephant & Castle (Shawbury) remain closed.

And as soon as the League is given the green light to try and promote some Mid Shropshire competitions, in as safe conditions as possible, that's what your officers will do!

Stay tuned!   

New Update - Phase 2a And Internal Club Comps

posted Jun 30, 2020, 12:18 PM by Malcolm Fletcher   [ updated Jun 30, 2020, 12:23 PM ]

RECEIVED TODAY (Tuesday 30th June) from the BCGBA via SCGBA secredtary Mo Corley:

To:  All Clubs, Leagues and County Executive members,

This is the latest guidance update from the BCGBA. This applies to English clubs only.

Please note that there is little difference to the updates issued - just a few minor additions. 

The key to opening is that records are available if track and trace require information on who has attended the green.

Booking or attendance lists with contact details are required. Some minor changes have been included.

Please follow these guidelines and stay safe.

All Risk assessments and booking sheets with the list of contacts must be returned to our Safeguarding Officer Phil Scott.


Phase 2a                   Internal Club Competitions

·         All previous social distancing guidance and advice remains in force

·         Maximum of 6 people allowed on or around the green at any one time

·         Players should maintain social distancing and keep up to 4 metres between groups to allow for social distancing between groups

·         Club Competition Officer Appointed and Trained on Covid19 guidance and issues*

·         Only Club members allowed.

·         Paperwork* and risk assessment* completed and a copy forwarded to County Safeguarding Officer Phil Scott.

·         Club Schedule of Attendance (names, dates & times must be recorded) produced to ensure limited attendance should be maintained

·         Ensure that your Insurance cover is up to date, Endsleigh Cover is dependant on membership of BCGBA (club fee £35.00 has been paid)

·         Arrangements should be made to manage the social distancing and all other hygiene procedures

·         Club Buildings and toilets can open see separate guidance sheet / risk assessment (Phase 2) – limited opening


*The Club Secretary and or Chairman to sign the Covid Competition action plan/risk assessment detailing how competition will be run safely and within the current social distancing arrangements. All competition administrators to sign that they understand the action plan to ensure they fully understand the regulations.


Be aware that this guidance could change at any point and could be withdrawn if the risk level increases


Crown Green Bowls – Club Competitions, single’s and pairs



• Only use your equipment brought from home (jacks, mats, bowls etc.) unless communal equipment is used

• Sterilize equipment before and after use

• Keep strict social distancing measures in place - you must remain at a safe distance (2 metres) from people outside of your household.

• Follow strong hygiene practices at every opportunity - wash your hands when you get home

• Your club will have an agreed process for you to agree a time for you to access the green

• Once you have completed your session, please depart as soon as you safely can to enable others to access the green.

Limited access to clubhouse, walkways and toilets. Ensure risk assessment and notices are displayed on hygiene and handwashing

No spectators permitted other than competition organisers and card markers (total 6 persons currently)


• Being careful about touching solid surfaces e.g. gates, seating, doors, etc.

• Wash your hands as soon as you get home, avoid touching your face and take hand sanitiser with you to use while out if possible


• You must have a clear process for knowing who Is playing at the green, make this as clear as you can for your club members to understand and abide by.

• Please place a sign in clear view of all visitors of the guidelines set out above.

You are now able to use club communal equipment however a strict cleaning plan should be clear to all players.

·         Equipment to be disinfected before and after each game is completed, ie. jacks and mats.

·         no shaking of hands – use appropriate alternative methods. ie. elbows, thumbs up etc.

·         Ensure you ask screening questions when players arrive to check for any symptoms


Open Competitions are not permitted due to the constraints on testing which apply to Elite Sports**.

·         **Elite sport is limited to professional sport competitions



Planning the number of players will mean some come and go on the same day if the competition runs through on a single day.

Remember that only 4 players and 2 running competition and marking (Total 6 people) are allowed at the green.

This is a variation of running a competition behind closed doors.


Not Long To Wait - Hopefully!

posted Jun 29, 2020, 11:47 AM by Malcolm Fletcher

Lockdown restrictions continue to be steadily eased and will only be derailed by a second wave of the virus.

Saturday 4th July is the date that pubs and clubs can start to re-open, with social distancing measures in place.

And it's also the day when phase 3 of the BCGBA's re-opening of greens schedule is due to begin.

Country Safeguarding Officer Phil Scott said: "The possibility that Phase 3 might commence from 4th July depends on Sport England’s plans with the Government."

But if phase 3 gets the go-ahead then clubs may well be able to then run their own competitions - and the League could well look to do the same.

However, if any Mid Shropshire competitions are promoted this year, it's likely that they won't be put on before August.  

Don't Give Up Hope . . .

posted Jun 22, 2020, 11:54 AM by Malcolm Fletcher

The officers may have put the League into a 'summer hibernation' but there is still plenty going on behind the scenes.

They are keeping in regular contact and, despite having abandoned all hope of usual divisional fixtures this year due to the pandemic, they are still hopeful of organising some competitive action.

The details will be finalised in July - IF there is no second wave of the virus, the lockdown restrictions continue to be eased and phase 3 of the BCGBA's green reopening schedule can be applied.

Competition secretary Phil King said: "I can run 3 or 4 comps, possibly in August / September - singles, doubles, triples and possibly a 4-a-side team event.

"But will all depend on restrictions and the clubs."

Club Comps NOT Allowed - Yet

posted Jun 15, 2020, 3:50 AM by Malcolm Fletcher

Officials of clubs who have re-opened their greens have been reminded by county safeguarding officer, Phil Scott, that they can't organise any club competition just yet.

"Not at the moment, no you can't. Hopefully in Phase 3 in the next couple of weeks you can," said Phil

• Do not organise any competitive bowls - No Competition’s, Leagues Matches, or Tournaments

 Limit access to clubhouse, walkways and toilets.

• Ensure risk assessment and notices are displayed on hygiene and handwashing.


Only use your equipment brought from home (jacks, mats, bowls etc.)

Sterilize equipment before and after use

Keep strict social distancing measures in place - you must remain at a safe distance (2 metres) from people outside of your household.

Follow strong hygiene practices at every opportunity - wash your hands when you get home

You must have permission from your club to use the green - and your club will have an agreed process for you to agree a time for you to access the green

You may only play on green if you are a member of the club

No Real Choice In The End . . .

posted Jun 11, 2020, 11:36 AM by Malcolm Fletcher

MSBL Statement on the 2020 season – issued to club officials on Wednesday 10th June

It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you that there will be NO Mid Shropshire League fixtures this year.

The officers voted unanimously at a Zoom meeting tonight (WEDS) to finally give up on any hope of organising some kind of competitive fixtures in 2020.

The League’s canvass of its member clubs showed that there was only a small demand for them, with just 230 out of nearly 1,500 bowlers willing to consider playing in some form of league fixtures – if permitted by the Government and the BCGBA.

Our hope had been to cater for that demand under the phase 3 re-opening of greens guidelines that are scheduled to be issued on July 4, but they are set to limit numbers to 6 at a club at one time - and, put simply, we have been overtaken by events and now feel that is not safe or prudent to go any further with the fixture plans.

The officers have a duty of care to ensure that everyone would be able to enjoy a return of fixtures safely but, given all the rising number of safeguarding hoops the clubs willing to take part in fixtures would have to jump through to go ahead, makes it simply impractical.

County safeguarding officer Phil Scott was contacted for advice before the vote was taken and his message was simply: ‘Don’t bother with league fixtures this year – it’s not worth the hassle’.

And when you consider that he has been told by BCGBA chief exec Mark Bircumshaw that all bowlers who play in any league fixtures this year may have to be tested for the virus regularly, you can see how the no-go vote became easy.

The officers do have a sense of guilt for leaving the decision this late, but we wanted to give the situation as long as possible to develop before opting to put the League into hibernation for at least a month.

But they refuse to give up on holding competitions in 2020, and will meet again in mid July to see if it is possible to run the Merits, Dixon Driscoll Doubles and perhaps even a re-launched four-a-side event for the Bill Chapman Trophy in August and September.

For now though the officers urge all bowlers to support their clubs to make sure they get through the pandemic, pay their annual subs, go and practice and maybe even take part in in-house club leagues or comps – always bearing in mind the current social distancing and safeguarding protocols.

Fingers crossed, the Mid Shropshire League can still cater for those who want to get competitive later this summer and that the year won’t be a total write-off.

Take good care everyone,

Malcolm Fletcher - general secretary, on behalf of all MSBL officers

Time For Big Decisions

posted Jun 9, 2020, 11:45 AM by Malcolm Fletcher

Virtually every one of the 26 member clubs have responded to the canvass questionnaire sent to them to try and gauge the level of interest from bowler in League fixtures starting in mid July - if allowed and if possible in as safe a way as possible.

The officers will be holding a Zoom meeting tomorrow (Wednesday 10th June) to discuss the results of the survey and make the final decision on whether fixtures are possible or feasible in 2020.

As of now, the latest answers to questions posed by bowlers from the BCGBA is:
If I can socially distance, can I play sport with someone I don’t live with?  

You can exercise or play sport in groups of up to six people from other households, but should only do so where it is possible to maintain a 2 metre gap from those you do not live with.

People who play team sports can meet to train together and do things like conditioning or fitness sessions but they must be in separate groups of no more than six and must be 2 metres apart at all times. 

While groups could practice ball skills like passing and kicking, equipment sharing should be kept to a minimum and strong hand hygiene practices should be in place before and after. 

Any equipment that is used should be cleaned frequently. Cleaning should be particularly thorough if it is to be used by someone else.

And if you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home - this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

Does easing restrictions apply to healthy 70 year olds and over?

The advice for those aged 70 and over continues to be that they should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household.

If they do go out more frequently, they should be careful to maintain distance from others. They and everyone should continue to comply with any general social distancing restrictions.

We know that those aged 70 and over can be absolutely fit and healthy and it’s not the case that everybody over 70 has a chronic health condition or an underlying disease.

But unfortunately, we also know that as you get older, there is a higher risk of coronavirus having a more serious impact with infection. 

Complications and deaths are more common in the elderly, even those without pre-existing conditions.

Madeley CC's Thanks to Sport England

posted Jun 3, 2020, 12:00 PM by Malcolm Fletcher

Member club Madeley CC are just one of the League's clubs who have benefited from a Sport England grant to try and help them get through the virus crisis.

And BCGBA chief executive officer Mark Bircumshaw reported today: "I have had an update from Sport England and, with just over 100 applications still to be assessed, the total sum of grants offered to Crown Green Clubs and Associations now sits in the realm of £750,000

"It may well be higher as there is some cross over on the data between flat and crown green clubs.

"The total figure is in excess of £2 million to all bowls codes and the average grant to crown green clubs is over £1500 with 404 awards. (This is English only clubs)."

Madeley CC, with one green to maintain, received £1,790 from Sport Engdland.

Mr Bircumshaw is also working on a Covid Incident at a Club Action Plan, following "an incident at a green in Derbyshire"  which was first announced at the weekend as a member testing positive for the virus.

Phase 2 Of Green Re-openings - with positive test warnning

posted May 30, 2020, 12:05 PM by Malcolm Fletcher

Updated BCGBA guidance, issued via the SCGBA today (Saturday 30th May)
Mark Bircumshaw, CEO of the British association, said: "This notice covers the changes made on Thursday (28th May) and not the announcements made this afternoon.

"Once we received these further changes we will again look at the guidance. I will send a further update as soon as we have it available.

"Clubs should be aware that this afternoon we have 1 club where a positive test has been reported and we are working with the club to put in place a specific action plan. 

"We are in an ever-changing situation and we are not getting advanced notice so we are having to react."

For the updated guidance for phase 2, that permits an increased number to be involved and allows limited re-opening of club buildings, please see the attached file 

The changes come into force from Monday 1st June

Clubs Canvassed On 2020 Fixtures

posted May 30, 2020, 4:47 AM by Malcolm Fletcher

Member clubs and their bowlers are now in the process of being consulted by League officers for their views on a possible return of fixtures in July.

A QUESTIONNAIRE TO CANVAS MSBL CLUBS was issued on Friday 22nd May and is due to be returned next week, after which some key decisions will be taken . . .

Many clubs have already notified the general secretary that they have contacted their members - and indeed some have already returned their results.

All will be revealed after next weekend. The email to clubs read:

Dear club secretary / officer,

The easing of C-19 lockdown restrictions, allowing bowling clubs to re-open their greens – if they can or they want to – has clearly put the emphasis on the League’s clubs to ensure their members stay safe, should they want to play on a re-opened green.

Competitive league bowling remains a distant and possibly diminishing prospect, certainly not possible before club buildings are allowed to re-open in early July – if all goes according to the Government’s plan.

But the League’s officers are anxious to get some sort of idea from clubs about how many bowlers they think might actually want to play some sort of league bowls – be it with reduced numbers, on a home and away basis or even in localised mini-league groups – should the sport be given the green light to return to some sort of normal in July.

So it would help to fine tune their contingency planning if ALL clubs - no matter how many teams they have or what divisions they play in - could answer the following questions and get them back to the general secretary by Sunday 7th June please:

Question 1 – If competitive league bowling is allowed later this year, how many of your club’s bowlers do you think would want to play in fixtures?

Question 2 – Would that number be higher if the usual league fixture structure was changed to:

(a) reduced numbers in matches (eg 8 instead of 12 or 10-a-side)

(b) matches played on a home and away basis on one night, as in the team knockouts (eg 4 at home-4 away if an 8-a-side fixture)

(c) matches in more localised mini league groups to reduce travelling?

Question 3 – If there is insufficient demand for league fixtures, or too late in the summer to start them, how many of your club’s bowlers would you estimate would want to bowl in League competitions?

FYI, the cut-off for the start of any Friday division fixtures needs to be July 10. . . 

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