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The Stamford and District Outdoor Bowls League indicates when it hopes to restart competitive fixtures

The Stamford and District Outdoor Bowls League has indicated that by June 4 it hopes to re-start its twice-weekly competitive fixtures, subject to Government coronavirus restrictions being eased.

Almost all of its existing 14 clubs have advised they are prepared to re-join – some with fewer teams – but still enabling the league to provisionally set up two 12-team divisions, reduced from three sections in 2019, when the league was last played.

However, supplementary competitions – the Oddfellows Rosebowl, Boor & Wainwright and Duncomb Shields – will not be staged but hopefully re-instated in 2022.

Blackstones C successfully retained the Boor & Wainwright Shield in 2019.
Blackstones C successfully retained the Boor & Wainwright Shield in 2019.

The management committee, which met virtually, were keen to point out that re-formatting of leagues will be for ‘one season only’ with the status quo re-established in future years, dependent on how many clubs re-join in 2022.

Teams will continue to play in a three-rink (two-bowl triples) format subject to Government guidelines, including social distancing and sanitizing of two jacks and two mats per rink to reduce cross infection.

With this in mind, the league may have to consider temporarily amending the EBF rules, underwhich it is played, to avoid the practise of inter-changing position during a game where the lead bowler is involved.

All players will need to arrive at venues already dressed to play to avoid using on-site changing facilities.

Other changes include the reduction of player registration to £1 and the cancellation of league fees and the league handbook.

Clubs are asked to confirm the number of teams they are entering with the new league fixture secretary Pete Linnell (23 Masterton Road, Stamford, Lincs PE9 1SJ) in writing by March 31.

Further administration will be provided by post to club secretaries. Once the season starts, results must be sent by team captains by email to the fixture secretary.

League president Annette Oliver, who was elected in 2019 but because the pandemic cancelled the 2020 season was unable to serve her term of office, is hopeful that a delayed President’s Day can still be held at her home club Market Overton, raising funds for her preferred charity SHINE (supporting Spina Bifida and hydrocephalus-affected families).

She said: The Covid-19 virus has affected all our lives and our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones many of whom have been unable to grieve in the company of friends.

“The restrictions to our movements over the past year have been something many have found hard to deal with but now that the vaccine is being rolled out it is hoped that there is light at the end of the tunnel though we must not assume life will return to ‘normal’ in much of a

“We hope that all our bowlers will be fit and ready to participate in this year’s league programme, whatever format is finally decided.

“My thanks to league secretary Nina Rawlins for holding us all together and to our committee, especially to Pete Linnell for stepping up into the crucial fixture secretary role.”

Proposed Stamford League format: Division One: Blackstones C, Blackstones D, Stamford Town C, Langtoft, Oakham A, Ketton Kingfishers and/or Kestrels (TBC), Market Deeping Royals, Barnack Saxons, Wittering, Corgis, Empingham, Oakham Owls.

Division Two: Greetham Valley Eagles, Barnack Vikings, Market Overton, Ryhall, Stamford Town D, Oakham D, Carlby Bees, Stamford Town A, Carlby Bees, Market Deeping Royals, Ketton Kites.

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