Post-pandemic growth for two county bowls leagues
Two more Shropshire bowling leagues are enjoying a welcome post-pandemic growth spurt.
The Barlows Whitchurch Over-60s League and the Molson Coors Mid Shropshire League are both welcoming new teams to their competitions this year.
“Potentially we have four to six new teams entering this year – a true Covid bounce back!” said new Whitchurch secretary Simon Fullard, who has replaced June Davies following her retirement. “Myself becoming secretary brings the Barlows league, with Roger Haynes as chairman, back to where it was started (in 1996) by Neville Edwards - to Tilstock.
“The AGM was extremely well attended, nearly filling the large back room at Tilstock – however one club, Cholmondeley, sadly withdrew from the league.
“Fixtures (eight-a-side and on Tuesdays) will start on April 4 for all divisions, which could have 14 teams in each if all the potential new teams come in.
“No rule changes were made after a proposal of starting at 1pm instead of 2pm was rejected by a slim majority.”
Chairman Haynes added: “Thanks to all who attended the AGM and gave their support to myself and the committee – I wish you all the best for the coming season and look forward to seeing you on the greens.”
Entries from six new teams were confirmed at the Mid Shropshire League’s March executive meeting – which will also launch a brand new division in 2023.
“The great news is that the league is starting to grow again after Covid with six new teams accepted to compete this year and just two sides sides withdrawing,” said secretary Malcolm Fletcher. “Newport, Hadley USC and Wrockwardine Wood will field new teams in the Friday divisions while new sides from Horsehay and Bowring will feature in the Monday divisions and Castlefields were voted into the Dennis Lewis Thursday Division.
“Sadly, Sir John Bayley withdrew from the Thursday Division due to a lack of interest and Wrockwardine Wood pulled out one of its Monday teams.”
And after the meeting, delegates of five of the seven clubs that have applied to enter a proposed new Afternoon Division, agreed they wanted to press ahead.
“In an ideal world, one more team is needed to avoid bye weeks but, come April 6, Highley, Donnington Wood, Edgmond, Albrighton, Madeley CC, Chelmarsh and Bowring will start to contest six-a-side matches for men and women of all ages, primarily on Thursdays and starting at 1.30pm,” added Fletcher.
The match and league fees proposals from treasurer Celia Miles were approved using executive powers, to be reviewed for the 2024 season, and clubs will now be invoiced for entries in all competitions, by their teams and bowlers.