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Coronavirus - Statement No.10 (and out . . . for now!)

posted May 16, 2020, 12:51 PM by Malcolm Fletcher
Date issued Saturday 16th May: 

Dear MSBL bowls family,

Well, that was the week that was! Just over seven weeks from the suspension of crown green bowling by the governing body (the BCGBA), in line with Government lockdown rules, clubs got the green light to re-open their greens.

Wednesday 13th May was the landmark date when phase 1 of the re-opening plan began with very strict guidelines for clubs to follow, while still observing the vital social distancing rules to try and stop the infection rate of C19 starting to rise again.

Sadly, not all member clubs are in a position to re-open, due to a number of factors, but those that are need to have a robust booking-in system for bowlers to practice so that everyone is traceable. And all bowlers playing must have paid their annual club subs.

Setting up such a booking system has been an issue for a number of clubs – and so it was with great pleasure that the League was able to announce an offer of free assistance from former vice-chairman Steve Roberts to do just that, after his brilliant work as chairperson of Wrockwardine Wood to put them on the right track in time for re-opening day.

His generous offer was a thank you to the League after its officers voted unanimously at a Zoom conference meeting on Monday to grant all 26 member clubs £42.50 each this year to pay their BCGBA affiliation fee (£35), SCGBA affiliation fee (£5) and £2.50 for the BCGBA Handbook that every affiliated club has to buy annually.

As I said to all club secretaries when I emailed them directly: “It’s a gesture the League can afford and officers hope that it is one that is accepted as a show of appreciation of our clubs, who are the lifeblood of the League.”

The next step as far as the League is concerned is to canvas all clubs for their views on a possible return of competitive fixtures – hopefully in July and in whatever form. To that end, a questionnaire will be sent to all clubs next week asking for feedback.

But at the moment club officials have enough on their plate trying to organise phase 1 of the re-opening, which could be cancelled at short notice if virus figures take a turn for the worse.

The SCGBA have already cancelled all their competitions in 2020, and just tonight I’ve been told that the Tanners Shropshire League have called off all their league fixtures for the year.

The big question remains how many bowlers will actually want to play league bowls in Mid Shropshire this summer? And that’s what the questionnaire will hopefully help us find out so we can make some key or even the final decision your officers are starting to fear will become inevitable.

Having reached double figures, I feel now is the right time for these Statements to end. The onus is clearly on clubs right now and, until we have the canvas feedback, there’s very little more your League officers can do, except be on hand to offer any advice they can.

So I’ll close by saying if you start playing again please take great care and follow the rules – and if you don’t, the message is as always - stay home, safe and healthy.

Floreat Mid Shropshire!

Malcolm Fletcher (General Secretary)