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Coronavirus - Statement No. 5

posted Apr 10, 2020, 5:41 AM by Malcolm Fletcher
Date issued Friday 10th April

Dear MSBL bowlers,

Sadly, it’s not much of a ‘Good’ Friday in bowls terms and how ironic that the weather should be this good when it is notoriously so cold for the first few weeks of the season. Never mind though, let’s stay positive . . .

The League’s officers held a successful video conference via Zoom this week and the key message that came out of it is to reassure member clubs that the League will do its utmost to help them through this crisis and survive to the days when we can all start bowling again.

Our clubs are the lifeblood of the League and the officers will do everything they can to keep them afloat – by feeding money down if that is what is needed, not by expecting them to pay up, as it looks like the BCGBA is going to do.

And the League will continue to encourage all bowlers to pay their club subs for this year, if they are able, to help try and ensure they have a green to bowl on – hopefully later this summer, but definitely in 2021.

In terms of contingency plans, made in the positive hope that we do get to play some sort of season this year, possibly July to October, the League’s officers have asked club officials to start discussing with their members and deciding on the following ideas:

2020 FIXTURE OPTION 1 - Divide the divisions into two sections (teams that finished 1-3-5-7-9-11-13 last year in one section and those that finished 2-4-6-8-10-12-14 in another section). They play home and away on their usual nights and then the top two meet in a championship decider, with the bottom team in each section to be relegated. Or we could forget relegation in the circumstances. In this scenario the Saturday Division would NOT be played.

2020 FIXTURE OPTION 2 - Play home and away fixtures in divisions 1-2-3 on Fridays and Wednesdays, and divisions 4-5-6 on Mondays and Thursdays – with the Thursday and Saturday divisions NOT played. This might prove too much too soon as we can’t be sure how bowlers will want to play when the suspension is lifted.

In both cases, given that there is no guarantee that all bowlers will want to play this year, consider EMERGENCY RULES to make divs 1-2-3 just 10-a-side and divs-4-5-6 all 8-a-side. And only play for 3 points for an aggregate win with no punishments for teams being unable to field a full side.

COMPETITIONS – Obviously depends on what the county and Shropshire Ladies decide to do or not to do, but the League would be as flexible as possible in the hope that at least the Senior Merit, Dixon Driscoll Doubles and Junior Merits are played. Saturdays will be fully free if that division is not played. But there will simply be no time for the Harris Cup and Ashton Cup & Shield.

Of course it all depends on the lockdown restrictions being lifted which, at this moment in time, looks a long way off.

So as of now, the League’s officers sincerely hope all bowlers and their families stay safe, healthy and at home.

Let’s all try and keep the bowls pictures and banter flowing on the Facebook group and have a crack at the 21-up Quiz on the website while checking for updates. And be positive that we will beat this.

Malcolm Fletcher (General Secretary)