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County greens slowly reopening – but Wales remains shut

Bowls | Published:

Slowly, but surely, the reopening of bowling greens in Shropshire is gathering pace.

Bowls

Premier League trio Wrockwardine Wood in Telford, Chester Road in Whitchurch and Bridgnorth-based Bylet were among those who led the way with booking systems to allow their bowlers follow the strict BCGBA guidelines.

Premier chief Rob Burroughs reports that the likes of Hanwood, Meole Brace and Sir John Bayley have followed suit, with St Georges set to reopen their two greens on Monday.

Action has resumed at a number of non-Premier League clubs too, but there others who have decided not to take the risk, including Wem USC, Hadnall and Elephant & Castle at Shawbury.

Clubs have to carry out a risk assessment in order to reopen and then create a system for paid-up members to book practice times – following the strict social distancing guidelines – so that everyone is traceable.

However, Shropshire’s oldest bowls league has issued a reminder to its Welsh clubs that they cannot reopen their greens yet.

Clubs from Wales make up the majority of those that compete in the 95-year-old Oswestry League and, although greens can now reopen in Shropshire, strict lockdown restrictions remain over the border.

Revised measures introduced by the Welsh government last week mean that golfers and anglers can get active again – but the message to bowlers remains: Stay Home; Protect the NHS; Save Lives.

Brian Davies, Sport Wales interim chief executive, said: “We have been working with our partners in the sport sector, together with Welsh government, to determine how to best adapt their offers when restrictions ease and the guidelines allow the introduction of elite level and grassroots sport.

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“Sporting bodies will communicate changes to their individual sports when guidance suggests it is safe to do so.

“We are referring to the guidelines issued by the British Crown Green Bowling Association and we hope that bowls is among the sports next in line for consideration by the Welsh government.

“If the government ultimately allows all forms of bowls to be played in Wales, clubs that decide to reopen and players who choose to play will all have to adhere to strict playing guidelines as well as the Welsh government’s general laws regarding exercise and social distancing, etc.”

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