Officials hope vaccine will get bowls back up and rolling

Messages of hope of a return to fixtures and competitions in 2021 have been reinforced to bowlers all over Shropshire and Wales – despite the arrival of a third lockdown.

Bowls to return in 2021
Bowls to return in 2021

No league fixtures were played in 2020 due to the pandemic but, with a rapid roll-out of the vaccines promised, bowls officials are confident of a return to some kind of normal sometime this year.

“Hopefully we will see a return to action on the greens at some point this season,” said a Shropshire spokesperson in the association’s New Year’s message.

The sentiment was echoed by the Shropshire Premier League – and a Mid Shropshire League spokesman added: “As all bowlers know, 21 is always better than 20!

“It may be later than we all hope, but we have to remain positive that a mass roll-out of the vaccine will mean the return of league fixtures sometime in 2021. We just need to be a little more patient.”

But Callum Wraight’s New Year Wish for a return to action on the British Professional Panel have suffered again due to Lockdown III.

The Shrewsbury star has not played at the Panel’s home of the Red Lion in Westhoughton, near Bolton, since beating Wayne Ditchfield 41-24 on October 30, thwarted by the second lockdown and then tier restrictions on travelling.

“It’s very frustrating as I just want to play bowls,” said 34-year-old Wraight.

n Winter looks like turning into spring before the two major closed season bowls promotions in Shropshire get rolling again.

The health crisis has prevented play in the North Shropshire Parks winter series and District Invitation Winter League in Whitchurch since October.

And with Lockdown III announced on Monday, the promoter of both competitions has been forced to keep them in cold storage until at least mid February.

“The latest changes mean the winter league captains (of the eight teams) and myself as winter series organiser are not in a position to re-start any bowling,” said Brookes.

“We were due to re-consider at the end of January, but now it will be when lockdown is eased. It’s not looking too hopeful but I’m just trying to remain positive.”

n Two leading Shropshire bowls leagues are pressing ahead with their annual meetings during the latest Covid lockdown.

The AGMs of both the Market Drayton and Whitchurch leagues will be held later this month using the Zoom conferencing app as face-to-face meetings are not possible.

Thursday, January 21,at 7pm is log-in time for the Market Drayton annual meeting while Whitchurch’s is on Tuesday, January 26, starting at 7.30pm.

But the Market Drayton Senior Citizens League’s AGM, scheduled for January 20 via Zoom, is to be re-arranged at a later date said secretary-treasurer Wendy Icke, who is also currently serving as County President.

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