Local bowls clubs facing up to prospect of no play this summer

PUBLISHED: 09:30 16 April 2020

Ashcombe Park Bowling Club held a virtual open day during the coronavirus pandemic

Ashcombe Park Bowling Club held a virtual open day during the coronavirus pandemic

Archant

The outdoor bowls season faces a total wipe-out due to restrictions in place to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Ashcombe Park Bowling Club held a virtual open day during the coronavirus pandemicAshcombe Park Bowling Club held a virtual open day during the coronavirus pandemic

Local clubs St Andrews, Victoria, Ashcombe Park, Clarence and Banwell were all due to hold opening days recently, but all greens are closed until further notice.

Ashcombe Park held a virtual open day (below), with members doing their best to celebrate while in isolation.

But the prospects for play before the scheduled end of the season in September are already looking bleak.

Bowls England has cancelled all team and individual competitions for the season, while Somerset Bowls have done the same and women’s inter-county matches have been called off.

Ashcombe Park Bowling Club held a virtual open day during the coronavirus pandemicAshcombe Park Bowling Club held a virtual open day during the coronavirus pandemic

The men are reviewing their representative games every month, but their Somerset League programme has been scrapped.

The only glimmer of hope is that the county might try to stage their inter-club Turnbull and Fear Cup competitions late in the season if play was possible by then.

Many clubs are going to struggle financially through the closure as, in addition to their subscriptions, they rely on match-fees for much of their income and, with no matches, that revenue will not be available.

Also, some members are holding back from paying their subs until they know if they are going to get any play.

Clubs are still having to pay contractors to look after their greens, even though only essential maintenance will be done during the closure.

It’s all a bleak prospect for a sport in which the majority of players are elderly and therefore particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus.

*In last week’s Mercury we reported that St Andrews duo Andrew Owens and Simon Angove had been crowned joint champions of the county pairs.

However, as no final was played it has been made clear that neither of the teams were crowned champions, with the prize money being divided.


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