Tributes paid to former county bowls president John Coxill

One of the giants of crown green bowls in Shropshire has passed away.

John Coxill presents its first Life Membership to (right) Mark Burroughs
John Coxill presents its first Life Membership to (right) Mark Burroughs

John Coxill, a great servant of the game who represented the Ludlow League as county president three times, died on Friday aged 77.

“It is with great regret that I have to inform you that John Coxill has died – and our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time,” lamented soon-to-retire county secretary Mo Corley. “John served the county three times – in 1990, 1997 and 2014 – and was a successful and popular president.

“He was also the county competition secretary and Shropshire association vice-chairman for many years, as well as being an excellent referee, a chairman of Shropshire Referees Society and referees delegate to the county.”

Ludlow-based Coxill also held a number of roles for the Shropshire Premier League – and made his mark at British level too.

“John was also the BCGBA competition officer until he was forced to retire due to ill health last year,” added Corley. “He was a credit to his county, gave so much to better the sport he loved and he will be sadly missed by us all.”

A British association spokesman said: “We will miss John, who contributed to the association with great enthusiasm as a referee, and on the management committee.”

Ludlow League official Phil Baker was among the many who paid tribute, saying: “Many of us will remember John as an extremely hard working club member of Ludlow Castle, keeping the green in excellent condition.”

More recently he played for Craven Arms in that league, as well as Ford and Meole Brace in the Premier, Tanners Shropshire and Wem leagues.

Elsewhere, a change of heart due to the pandemic means the AGM of Shropshire’s biggest bowls league, planned for later this month, has now been called off.

The annual meeting of the SPS Whitchurch League, scheduled for Tuesday, January 26, via the Zoom conferencing app, has been postponed for at least two months.

League chairman Phil Scott explained: “In light of the latest government announcement to impose a national lockdown, and with infections rising, some difficult decisions need to be made in relation to the Whitchurch League bowling season and order of events.

“The management team felt that it would be appropriate in these exceptional circumstances to postpone the AGM until we all have a better understanding of the forward look for 2021.

“We hope by the end of March/beginning of April things may have improved following the lockdown period and progress with the vaccine programme, which will enable us to then plan the year ahead with confidence.

“This delay will also allow clubs time to establish their potential membership numbers if/when we can resume the 2021 season. We hope you agree that this decision has been taken in the best interests of the Whitchurch League, our clubs and our members.”

Meanwhile, a new date of Wednesday, February 17, has been set for the AGM of the Market Drayton Senior Citizens League, starting at 2pm via Zoom.

Also, crown green bowls clubs in Shropshire and Wales that paid their dues in 2020 are to get a helping hand this year.

The sport’s governing body, the British Crown Green Bowling Association, has cut the 2021 affiliation fee for clubs – but only if they paid the full amount last year, when no league fixtures were played due to coronavirus.

BCGBA chief executive Mark Bircumshaw stressed that the annual fee remained at £35, but added: “However, following analysis of the current financial position, and to help struggling clubs, the executive committee have agreed to subsidise the fee for 2021.

“Clubs who have paid the fee for 2020 – to be confirmed by counties by January 31 – will therefore have a subsidy and pay just £20, adding up to a total of £55 over the two years in question.”

But clubs who have not paid the 2020 fee to their county association by January 31 will not be able to take advantage of the subsidy and will remain suspended until the fee for 2020 and 2021 is paid.

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