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Government's easing of coronavirus restrictions will see Stamford Indoor Bowls Club reopen its doors again

Stamford Indoor Bowls Club in Exeter Gardens is looking forward to welcoming back its members from Monday.

Government restrictions have been eased to allow indoor sporting facilities to re-open after more than five months of inactivity because of Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.

Some regulations involving social distancing, sanitising of equipment and the wearing of face coverings will still be held over from December 2020 but up to six bowlers per rink will be able to get back into the swing of their beloved sport, meet their friends, socialise and bowl competitively again.

Stamford Indoor Bowls Club re-opens its doors on Monday.
Stamford Indoor Bowls Club re-opens its doors on Monday.

The club will also be able to accept as many as six spectators for any session, an opportunity much missed by those keen to follow the sport and regain companionship after months away from it.

Bowlers will also be able to re-use their lockers again under controlled conditions on the way in and on the way out of the building.

Initially the club will re-open for pre-booked roll-up sessions from 10am to noon on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday each week, while the summer leagues will operate until early September on Monday and Friday evening (6.30pm), Tuesday (1pm) and Wednesday morning (10 am).

Spare rinks for pre-booked roll-ups at these sessions may also be available by calling the club when it is manned on 01780 756452 from May 17.

Stamford IBC is also keen to attract new bowlers to its Saturday morning sessions from May 22 where coaches John Little and Keith Rippin are available to introduce prospective players to a sport in which the club has a history of county, national and international successes. A major recruitment scheme is also being launched shortly.

Introductory sessions must be pre-booked by contacting John or Keith respectively on either 01780 754187 or 01780 754274.

It is hoped that by June 21 indoor sporting facility restrictions will be eased further and the club will be able to operate almost as normal for the first time in more than 13 months.

Commented one member anxious to get back to bowling at the club’s stadium: “I am sure I speak on behalf of every bowler that we have desperately missed the opportunity not only to bowl competitively but to meet our friends again in a bowling environment.

“Bowls is a game for all ages, whatever your ability, and I cannot stress more strongly that it not only keeps us active but is so important from a companionship perspective, even just to be able to go along to the club and watch when it suits us.”

For further information or for members to book a rink on line with their personal passwords, visit www.stamfordindoorbowls.co.uk

The English Bowling Federation, to which most outdoor clubs in the Stamford, Deeping and Peterborough areas, are affiliated through the Northants county federation, has updated its advice to clubs from Monday when the next stage of the easing of lockdown restrictions begin.

This guidance, similar to that sent to local clubs affiliated to Bowls England ( Hunts, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire) replaces all other regulations issued by the EBF and covers national and county competitions, leagues and friendly matches involving affiliated clubs and counties and other organised sessions and coaching.

It will now be permissible to use all rinks at any one time for up to 30 players, rather than restricted to space between rinks because of social distancing requirements, though clubs may wish to set down their own numbers limit.

Other measures include:

Equipment: Where possible players should avoid using shared equipment and each lead bowler should have their own mat/jack during any session with hands regularly sanitised by all players, who must used their own measures. Scorecards and scoreboards should only be handled by one nominated player on each team.

The Peterborough Bowls League, however, is suggesting that mats are left in place throughout the match and only moved when they interfere with play. Also that when pushers are used to clear bowls after each end, only one designated player per rink should handle them.

Hygiene & Health. Handshakes and contact should be avoided, wash your hands as soon as you return home. Stay at home if you show any symptoms of Covid-19.

Hospitality. Clubhouses and facilities that serve food and drink can open. Both indoor and outdoor hospitality will be permitted within legal gathering limits.

Track and Trace. All clubs are required to keep records of who has played each day and with whom for a period of 21 days and it is recommended that the club displays an NHS QR code for scanning using a mobile device.

Changing & Toilets: Changing rooms can be used but participants should be encouraged to wear face coverings, social distance and minimise use where possible. Toilet facilities can also open and protocols should be put in place to limit COVID-19 transmission. All players should carry a face covering in case they have to shelter from the weather in a confined space when social distancing is difficult.

Spectators: For all outdoor bowls, spectators are now permitted but need to adhere to social distancing rules and social gathering limits (up to 30 people at the green).

Travel. When travelling to matches sharing transport can take place 'for the purpose of sport and physical activity'.

Vaccines. You do not need to be vaccinated to participate in bowls and clubs should not stop anyone who has not been vaccinated from playing or spectating.

Risk Assessments: All clubs should carry out a risk assessment prior to returning to play. It is advised that clubs have a session booking system and include suitable gaps between each session to ensure maximum group limits are not exceeded.

Club and other meetings: Up to 30 people are permitted to meet outdoors from Monday May 17. For smaller committee meetings stick to the rules on social gathering of six people or two households.

It is hoped that from Monday, June 21 all restrictions to be lifted to allow committee and annual meetings to take place safely.

Peterborough Midweek League fixtures start on Monday evening in the Premier League with the Club 60 (Over 55) fixtures starting on Tuesday afternoon.

Teams are requested to observe a minute's silence as a mark of respect to those bowlers who died during the pandemic.

The Stamford and District League, which has attracted 25 teams in two trial leagues, commences on June 4.

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