News 2020

Coronavirus - Statement No. 3

posted by Malcolm Fletcher

Date issued Friday 26th March: 

Dear member club officials and all MSBL bowlers,

As you all probably know by now, suspension of all competitive crown green bowls was soon followed by closure of all greens under strict lockdown rules announced by the Prime Minister on Monday night.

And that obviously means security of clubs is now an issue while people are not using them. So the League urges clubs to make sure their equipment is kept safe and locked away.

Officers are also reassured that the SCGBA is actively seeking the advice of professionals about what is essential maintenance of a bowling green when not in use. They promise to pass on this information ASAP as we all know clubs will need to save as much expenditure as possible.

But League chairman Sean Round and vice-chairman Dave Evans are both greenkeepers at their respective clubs and can be contacted by phone should any club need urgent advice. Their numbers are on the MSBL website under Admin.

Greens will surely need cutting on a regular basis – perhaps once a week? And Adrian Corney, Specialist Environmental Officer of Telford & Wrekin Council, has confirmed to a member club that essential maintenance is okay as greens are outside and people can maintain the 2 metres social distancing rule while grass cutting.

As for club bowlers, the League supports the SCGBA recommendation that they pay their annual membership subs to help their club get through this difficult financial time. It could be their only form of income and vital for them . . . simply to survive.

Treasurer Celia Miles continues to work on financial support proposals that will be agreed by the officers shortly and then circulated to clubs, one of which is an offer of emergency interest free loans.

Her budget for 2020 has to include expenditure on the Junior Bowls Scheme approved at the March executive meeting. Although it looks as though clubs will not be able to  hold an Open Day this year to qualify for the half price reduction to £27.50 (with the League paying the other half), officers will decide an official extension to the time period – possibly to the first 3 months of the 2021 season.

On a positive note, as I have said before – and County Development Officer Pauline Wilson agrees - there could be a huge opportunity for bowls when this crisis eventually passes to attract bored and isolated people of all ages to take up the sport we all love. Increased membership is the best way to secure the long term futures of our clubs when we get through these increasingly tougher times. 

But for now, can we appeal again to club officials to ensure the safety of their members, help those that need help maybe with essential shopping tasks, or just a phone call to check they are okay. And please be aware of scams and fake news. 

Take care, stay safe and healthy.

And if you need any help, advice or just want a chat – myself and all your League officers are at the end of the phone for you all.

Malcolm Fletcher (General Secretary)

Coronavirus - Statement No. 2

posted Mar 20, 2020, 12:50 PM by Malcolm Fletcher

Date issued: Thursday 14th March:

Dear member clubs and bowlers, 

Now that the dust has started to settle on the BCGBA suspension of the sport notice issued on Monday, it is time to start taking stock. 

All MSBL meetings are cancelled until further notice and the League’s officers are now communicating by email and phone to try and firm up their early contingency plans. 

Of immediate concern to them is the future of its 26 member clubs and, rest assured, they are working on a number of ideas of how the League can try and help them get through a very difficult period with much reduced income - a spell which may well drag on for the whole summer, who knows? 

Treasurer Celia Miles is formulating financial support proposals that will be agreed by the officers and then circulated to clubs, one of which is an offer of emergency loans. 

Thankfully, club annual accounts are not now issued until September so we do have time on our side when it comes to finalising League fees like annual team subs, player registration fees and paying for 2 annual dinner presentation places. 

Logic suggests that if there is no League action in 2020 there should be no fees etc! And the question of honoraria to be paid to officers this year, if any, is also on the agenda. 

But fixture secretary Ric Hudson is already working on proposals for fixtures if we do – as we all sincerely hope – get the green light to resume playing for the second half of the season in late June / early July, when the peak of the outbreak should have passed. 

He is consulting with competition secretary Phil King to see what dates, if any, would be free for his programme, but it seems almost certain that the 3 Team Knockouts will not run and the comps will be severely limited. 

I understand the county are also now looking at league and club payments to be paid this year, but, the SCGBA’s early recommendation was that public liability insurance be paid. 

And the MSBL, via its 3 delegates, will be pushing the county to do the same as this League with regards to affiliation fees payable, offering emergency loans this year instead of grants and the honoraria they pay. 

On a positive note, there could be a huge opportunity for bowls when this crisis passes to attract bored and isolated people of all ages to take up the sport we all love. Increased membership is the best way to secure the long term futures of our clubs when we get through these tough times. 

Let’s just hope we do have something to celebrate come Saturday 16th January 2021 and that the MSBL annual dinner can go ahead, a provisional booking having just been made at the Mercure Telford Centre Hotel. 

Take good care, stay safe and healthy. 

Malcolm Fletcher (General Secretary) 

For details of potential support for clubs from Sport England go to the coronavirus section 

Game Over . . . For Now

posted Mar 16, 2020, 12:32 PM by Malcolm Fletcher


Following the Government announcement this afternoon it is with great sadness that we now have to suspend all bowling for the foreseeable future.

Based on the advice announced we need to avoid all mass gatherings and sporting event as these will no longer be supported by the emergency services. 

If anyone within your household has symptoms then the whole family need to isolate for 14 days.

Limit social contact wherever possible and encourage working from home. 

At risk groups - those over 70 and those with medical conditions need to take additional care.

All BCGBA meetings should now be postponed as un-necessary travel should be avoided. Contact in Pubs, Clubs and restaurants to be avoided. 

Taking this all into account all leagues should now suspend matches until such time as we are given an all clear to resume competition.

All BCGBA and BCGLCC Competitions are now suspended until further notice this should include all qualifier events. 

As a Bowls community we need to look after our members and I encourage you to follow the advice being given and support those we are able to at this very difficult time. 

I will add links onto the website / face-book as these are updated. 

Please take care of yourself and stay safe.  

On behalf of the Management Committee BCGBA by Chris Hasselby  (BCGBA Chairman) & Mark Bircumshaw (CEO)

Coronavirus - Statement No. 1

posted Mar 15, 2020, 5:09 AM by Malcolm Fletcher

Date issued - Saturday 14th March 2020:

Dear club secretaries and bowlers, 

Although this is not a time for panic, the League’s officers felt it only right to communicate direct with member clubs to keep them posted on their contingency plans for coping with the coronavirus outbreak. 

We have launched a new section on the MSBL website to keep all the League’s bowlers updated and we are now receiving helpful guidance from the SCGBA, BCGBA and Sport England, which will be passed on this way. 

Your officers are very reluctant to make any firm decisions until after the County Executive meeting on Monday 23rd March – in the hope that the picture becomes a lot clearer by then - and will most likely get together to firm up proposals 24 hours later. 

But it does seem almost certain that we will need to bring the April management committee meeting forward a week to Tuesday 31st March. This is so that we would be able to talk direct to clubs before the season starts later that week with all the latest advice and any emergency playing measures - if indeed we get to start as scheduled. 

That meeting would be at the Bowring BC at 7.30pm and, following health guidelines, would be limited to one representative per club – and could I humbly suggest it is the club secretary in this case please. 

Obviously we all want to go ahead with the full playing schedule as planned, but we have been making contingency plans, some of which are listed below, and they would need to be discussed by clubs in advance of the March 31st meeting. And this letter will be posted on the News section of the website this week so that all League bowlers can see what we are doing and considering. 

If the outbreak gets as widespread and serious as predicted, one option is to just play the League’s fixtures in the second half a season - starting in late June/ early July when the peak should have passed - with no promotion or relegation and prize money reduced accordingly. 

The Team Knockouts would have to be called off for 2020 and what League competitions we hold could be decided at the July executive meeting - if indeed we get a green light then and clubs want to go ahead. 

It’s drastic we know, but it would only take one bowler in a member club to test positive and we would be in a real mess. 

And there is also the age of many of the League’s bowlers to consider. Being the most vulnerable to the disease, they may now want to make themselves available to play – leaving clubs unable to field full teams for fixtures. 
If and when we do get to play fixtures, washing hands before and after matches will be vital, cleaning jacks before and after games will be crucial and - in the interest of general hygiene – we may ask clubs to consider doing away with post-match sandwiches this year. 

Let’s just hope it does not come to this – but we have to be prepared for the worst case scenario. 

 Malcolm Fletcher (General Secretary)

Keeping YOU Posted

posted Mar 14, 2020, 7:09 AM by Malcolm Fletcher   [ updated Mar 14, 2020, 7:19 AM ]

For all news on the coronavirus outbreak - and how it affects the sport of bowls, this League and its bowlers - please see the new icon on the site's home page

The League's officers will be contacting member clubs direct today (Saturday 14th March) and this letter will be posted as a News item on this site tomorrow (Sunday)

It is important., if you want to keep updated on how this issue is being dealt with by the MSBL, that you keep checking this site regularly.

As of today, the Club Contacts have been updated for the 2020 season (under Admin) and work has started on putting ALL the title winners on the Honours Board

Last Chance To Take Up Coaching

posted Mar 8, 2020, 4:35 AM by Malcolm Fletcher

After a great response from clubs for the Level 1 Caching course taking place on 19 April & 20 May at Wem BC there is only ONE place left

So if you were thinking of doing the course please apply as soon as possible at Coach Bowls website

Further details from Pauline Wilson if needed

All Set For 2020 Season

posted Mar 5, 2020, 12:24 PM by Malcolm Fletcher   [ updated Mar 5, 2020, 12:26 PM ]

The League’s March executive meeting heard that Stockton were withdrawing from division 2, Wrockwardine Wood B from division 3 and Sinclair C from division 5 – all due to lack of playing numbers. These blows added to the already confirmed resignations of Hadley USC from the Dennis Lewis Thursday Division and Sir John Bayley from the Saturday Division.

But Stockton were given extra time to consider their options as the League does not want to lose another member club. With 11 players signed, they are looking at possibly playing on Mondays, Thursdays or Saturdays – and there are byes to accommodate them.

That’s because fixture sec Ric Hudson had approved a structure of 14 teams in division 1, 12 in divisions 2 and 3, 11 in divisions 4 and 5 and 10 in division 6 – with Sinclair allowed to stay in division 6 due to their reliance on juniors in their former D team and a desire not to demoralise them and make them quit the game.  The Thursday Division will have 13 teams and there will be 7 on Saturday afternoons . . . until Stockton make a decision.

Match fees will remain the same this year (65p in div 1, 55p in div 2, 45p in div 3, 40p in divs 4-5-6, 40p on Thursdays and 30p per player on Saturdays). Competition entry fees will remain the same too, except for the Under-25 and Over 60 Merits which will rise to £5 per bowler.

Delegates agreed to launch a new Junior Bowls Scheme in line with the Whitchurch League - and 3 clubs immediately ordered 12 sets of half price small bowls with the League to pay half of the £55 per set cost – as long as they promote to an open day or open sessions with official coaches.

Comps sec Phil King still waiting on lades date to finalise his programme but the deadline for entries in the Harris and Ashton Cups will be the April management meeting

The League is to provisionally book the Mercure Telford Centre Hotel for the 2021 annual presentation dinner on Saturday 16th January.

New County Deputy President Mike Potter is already working on MSBL venues for the 2020 Shropshire Junior Merit and the 2021 County Senior Merit.

And more good news is that talks are about to start with Specsavers regarding a potential new sponsorship deal . . .

The spreading coronavirus outbreak was discussed at length under AOB - and updates can be found under a new icon on the home page of this site

Vital Pre-Season Meeting

posted Feb 27, 2020, 12:31 PM by Malcolm Fletcher

Notice for the March Executive Committee Meeting

To be held on Tuesday 3rd March, 2020, at Sir John Bayley BC at 7.30pm – all to sign in



1  Chairman’s remarks to open the meeting

2  Apologies & In Memoria

3  Minutes of the February Management Committee Meeting

4  Matters arising

5  General Secretary’s report & Correspondence

6  Fixture Secretary’s report – including:

  1. Last call for new teams / withdrawals

  2. Constitution of League for 2020 (with green choices confirmed)

  3. Mike Beckett results system consultation

7  Treasurer’s report – match fees, prize money and competition entry fees for 2020

8  New Junior Bowls Scheme – see attached Whitchurch League pdf for info

9  Competition Secretary’s report - programme for season and entry deadlines

10 Annual Dinner update – see attached sheet for possible 2021 options

11 County matters (MSBL meeting venues? Next Executive meeting on Mon 23rd March)

12 Any Other Business

13 President / chairman to close the meeting


DATE OF NEXT MEETING – April Managment on Tuesday the 7th at SJB, at 7.30pm




Clubs listed below have NOT filled in and returned their 2020 CLUB INFORMATION SHEETS  – with data protection message - and need to do so by this meeting at the very latest. The League’s website and records will then be updated with correct details before a new season starts on Thursday 2nd April.

Allscott Heath, Broseley, Chelmarsh, E & C Shawbury, Highley, Maddocks, Madeley CC, Shifnal, Stockton & Wrockwardine Wood 

Search For Venue Starts

posted Feb 17, 2020, 3:24 AM by Malcolm Fletcher

The League has been forced to launch a search for a potential new venue for the county’s biggest bowls presentation function. 

Officers have 11 months to find a fresh home for its annual dinner now that Telford College has decided to close the Whitehouse leisure, hospitality and fitness facilities in Wellington. 

A College spokesman told the League: “The cost of operating the facilities significantly outweighs their income, and the college reached the point where keeping them open was no longer financially viable.

“Two expressions of interest have been received for vacant possession of the building, and after careful consideration, the decision has been taken to close the facilities so these can be pursued further.”

Club delegates were told at the February management meeting that officers had already approached a number of alternative venues capable of hosting a function that attracts around 200 people - and suggestions from those present will be investigated.

An update will be given at the March executive gathering.

The adjoining Telford Whitehouse Hotel has a new owner and is still open for business, the 90 bedroom hotel having been acquired by the R and A Hotels Group Ltd last month.

Coaching Call To Boost Club Numbers

posted Feb 13, 2020, 11:55 AM by Malcolm Fletcher   [ updated Feb 15, 2020, 4:55 AM ]

The League's member clubs have been urged to get qualified coaches to play the lead role in attracting new members.

County Development Officer and coaching chief Pauline Wilson made the plea as she unveiled details of a Level 1 Coaching Course in Wem this year.

“We all want to attract new members and the best way to do this is to have a coach within your club - so Shropshire is once again hosting a Level 1 Coaching course,” she said.

“Once you have a coach you can hold open days, invite the local school and help individuals - all done safely, for insurance purposes, for the club and the coach.

“So please put yourself forward to become a coach - you’ll be helping your club and perhaps even learn something yourself, ending up with a nationally recognised qualification.”

The course dates are Sundays April 19 and May 24 at Wem BC (9am to 5pm), which is by the town's Swimming Pool

"The course costs £130 which has to be paid up front but is heavily subsidised at the moment by BCGBA, who are giving 50% back once the course is completed. Additionally, SCGBA are able to put in a further £40, leaving just £25," she added. 

Details of the course content are available on the Coach Bowls website, which is where applications to attend should be made on-line.

“Most of our Shropshire coaches are in Mid Shropshire and Whitchurch so it would be good to see some volunteers from Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Ludlow areas as it’s the only way we’ll grow membership,” added Pauline, who bowls for Bridgnorth and Broseley.
“This is likely to be the only local course this season so do give it some serious thought – and I’d be happy to discuss the course with anyone interested on 07746-224824.”

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