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Coronavirus - Statement No. 8

posted May 1, 2020, 12:25 PM by Malcolm Fletcher
Date issued Friday 1st May: 

Dear MSBL bowls family,

A new month but the same old story I’m afraid with nothing fresh to relate with regards to any prospect of the lockdown restrictions being eased and the bowls suspension lifted.

There are obviously talks going on in Government circles about a staged and safe return to some kind of normality, but we probably won’t know anything definite – if at all - until next Thursday when the second term of 3 week lockdown ends on the eve of the 75th anniversary of VE Day on May 8th, which is a bank holiday this year.

So although it is less than a week to when we all hope to hear some good news, for now everything remains on hold, with the BCGBA re-issuing a ‘No Practice Allowed’ notice as bowlers in some parts of the country grow increasingly frustrated that they can’t get to play on pristine greens.

Also on hold is League President Mike Potter’s dream of serving as County President for a second time. County officers, who feel there is little chance of any kind of season being played this year, have decided current President Wendy Icke must not miss out on her big year.

So her term will continue in 2021 ,with Mike as her deputy, before he steps up to the figurehead role in 2022 – the year the League will be 80-years-old! Trench bowler Mike first served as County President in 2015 when a superbly organised County Merit finals day at Allscott ended with Bowring boy Rob Roden crowned as champion.

Talking of county matters, the SCGBA has yet to receive an official response from the sport’s governing body, the BCGBA, to its plea for them to re-consider its demand for full affiliation fees to be paid this year. So the League will hold tight for now!

Remaining on hold too are the League’s contingency plans , member clubs having been asked to consider 3 fixture options in the hope that we get the green light by July at the latest and that enough players want to play League bowls this year.

Yet, even in these difficult days, there are still positive signs to be seen. I have spoken to officers of 5 member clubs this last week and all seem to be coping well with the health crisis. Their bowlers are safe and well, their greens are being maintained and their finances are holding up, thanks to grants etc in some cases.

County Development Officer Pauline Wilson is still urging clubs to investigate – if they haven’t already – all funding opportunities to ensure they survive being starved of income so far this year (full details posted on this site on April 29). But bowlers paying their clubs subs, if they can, would sure help.

Finances will be one of the things the League’s officers talk about via another Zoom meeting that will be set up once the latest lockdown period ends next Thursday, when the PM hopefully announces a plan for how the UK starts to recover.

Another positive sign close to my home is that work has now re-started on the major housing development on the site of the old Sugar Beet Factory which, in the fullness of time, should lead to a plush, new two-green home for Allscott Heath BC. On the other hand, the demise of the old Dun Cow BC site in Dawley is set to be finally confirmed with a planning application submitted this week for a 77 bed care home on it.

Taking care remains the key to making any progress at the moment so the League’s officers hope all bowlers and their families stay safe, healthy and at home – and take real good care of each other.

Malcolm Fletcher (General Secretary)