Bowls is back, but Covid continues to affect programme

It’s not all good news for bowlers in Shropshire and Wales as the sport springs back into life.

Bowls
Bowls

Bowling greens in Shropshire were allowed to reopen from yesterday under the latest easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions – with the rule of six and two households laws, updated risk assessments and booking systems back in place.

Club rooms can be open, but only for the use of toilets and collecting of equipment, but at least bowlers were able to get some practice in as most leagues work towards restarting fixtures, some soon after the May 17 target of allowing groups of 30 outdoors.

However, the organisers of the Conwy Festival in North Wales, which attracts a good number of Shropshire entries, have still decided to cancel this year’s week-long bonanza in July.

“With the uncertainty and continuing Covid restrictions being applied, the organisers feel that the festival will not take place in the spirit intended,” said a spokeperson. “Whilst we appreciate that this is disappointing, we have to ensure the safety of participants, organisers and volunteers alike.”

The Craig Roberts Memorial competition that runs in conjunction with the Festival and features Shropshire No.1 Callum Wraight, is also off, as is this year’s Wigan Subscription Classic which Wraight’s fellow Castlefields star Michael Beer describes as the best open comp there is.

Social bowling will be the name of the game this year for the Tanners Shropshire League.

But that’s only if clubs in the Shrewsbury-based league agree that fixtures should be relaunched this summer at a key meeting in late April.

“The management committee has put forward draft proposals for a possible start in July for those clubs that are interested,” said league secretary Dawn Gray. “It will be a purely social league with no prize money, promotions or relegations.

“The proposal is for 10-a-side games in the Shropshire divisions commencing Friday, July 2, and eight-a-side games in the Shrewsbury divisions from Tuesday July, 6. Divisions will be based on the pecking order as per the end of the 2019 season – this will hopefully encourage bowlers back on the green after such a long time away.”

A league executive meeting, via Zoom, is to be held on Monday, April 26 (7.30 pm) where all clubs should be represented to discuss the proposals.

“Clubs will then have three weeks to confirm whether they wish to enter any teams,” added Gray.

The management of the Mid Shropshire Senior Citizens League have a virtual meeting today, chairman Brian Williams stating: “We hope to have news of a start date after this meeting.”

North Shropshire’s bowlers are still no closer to knowing if they will be playing in a British Parks county championship this year.

The Parks’ half yearly meeting ended with no firm decision made – and now the Cheshire Parks association have successfully called for and EGM of the governing body on Tuesday, April 13.

They want to discuss and agree the competitions programme for 2021, after a debate on alternative dates to the programme published by British Parks.

North Shropshire Parks last played in the county championship in 2019, beating group rivals East Midlands but losing to table-toppers South Yorkshire.

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