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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)