Service to Sport Winner – Brian Blenkinsop

The prestigious Service to Sport award recognises the outstanding service of one special person, over many years of dedication.

Sponsored by PhysioCare and Sports Injury ClinicBrian Blenkinsop was named its winner.

Brian has been a loyal player, volunteer and official at Cowes Medina Bowls Club for over 40 years.

During that time, he has recruited and coached all new members, as well as holding the positions of president, secretary, captain and treasurer.

He is the green keeping coordinator, checking each day to ensure the greens are well prepared for each match and overseeing the work of the volunteers.

Brian is a well-respected and liked member both in his club and by all the other bowls clubs across the Island.

Message From Alan Mabey

Dear Members,

It will not be long now when we can get back to playing the game we all love. It has been a very frustrating time and we are still awaiting instructions from Bowls England as to what format the League Matches are to be played and any other conditions we will will have to abide by. However, one restriction we will have until at least 21st June, that being there can be no more than 30 persons on the Club Site at any one time, hence only one League Match will be played on the green at a time. The programme for this has been issued to all Clubs. The Committee will issue rules regarding the use of our Clubs premises before the start of the new Season (10th April).

The Club are going on their Annual Tour in September (17th – 20th) to Bournemouth. We will be playing three games in the Bournemouth area and at Lymington on the way home. The cost is between £275 and £285 per person, depending on the numbers. This covers three nights Bed/Breakfast, Evening Meal and the bowling. Anyone who was either unaware of the Tour or have not made up their mind, and would like to go, please contact me by June 17th. A minimum deposit of £25.00 would be required.

Let us go ahead, keeping a positive attitude and make the Season enjoyable. You will be kept informed of any information from Governing Authorities.

There has been a lot of maintenance work going on through the Winter Months by Club Members, for which I thank them on behalf of the Membership.

I look forward to seeing you all soon, stay safe.

Alan Mabey

Message From Brian

Hi Folks

Hope you are all well and keeping safe, I imagine that many of us will have had our first vaccination by now.

Firstly, the result of the monthly raffle draw, which took place on Graham’s driveway once again. The lucky winner, who gets the £50, is number 20, which belongs to Pat Marshall. Graham will arrange for the money to get to Pat as soon as possible. If you want to blame someone then have a go at Rob Poynter who did the draw.

We have still not received any official word from Bowls England, other than their previous edict about bowls being able to be played outdoors from 29 March. Alan Mabey and Hazel Hall, as respective Bowls IOW league secretaries, have been working extremely hard to organise fixtures in preparation for the start of the season. There are still a few changes to be made to the original set of fixtures, which are having to be altered so that we only have one game on the green at any one time during May and June, just in case. I hope to send off our fixtures for printing very soon, once I am sure that all the changes have been made.

However, it is clear that we will have leagues going ahead from the beginning of May and we are planning to have an Open Day in the middle of April but, until we receive the exact rules and regulations from BE, we are left ‘in limbo’. It is frustrating for all of us, especially as we cannot hold any committee meetings or club meetings at the moment to pass on details of all the organisation of things, such as use of changing rooms, refreshments, social-distancing, etc.

There has been quite a lot of work done on the green and the surrounds over the past few months, thanks to those members who have been coming down regularly to help out. Due to the erosion of the edge of the path around the green, which has made it a ‘trip-hazard’, we have dug up the edges of two sides of the tarmac and replaced it with concrete but we still have two sides to do, most probably after this season has finished as a lack of time (and money) is against us. We received a quote from Crown Park for just under £20,000 to dig up all the old tarmac and replace it but we don’t have that kind of money. And now, one of the steps in the corner has rotted away and needs replacing too.

In addition, there has been a new south gate erected (we have nicknamed it ‘Gareth’) to replace the old battered one next to the shed by the picnic area. We hope to recover the roof on the front shed but we need two or three dry days to do this – let’s hope next week will be dry, but we might not have a shed left to work on after the gale-force winds at the moment! The compost heap has been cleared at the back and the roses have lots of buds on them, ready to flower in the summer. Although we have been cutting the green regularly, all the other grass areas have started growing again so we have been cutting all of that too.

Andy Butler has started his spring work also. He has put down some moss-killer on the green last week and next week he will return to core-aerate and inject air, scarify, cut and over-seed the green. It will then be an issue to keep off the pigeons, who love to eat the seed, as well as the crows who are doing their part in aerating the green! This morning the pigeons were all queueing up ready – they must have heard us talking about seeding!

Finally, we have been asked to host the Cowes Week Competition on our green, should it go ahead, in the first week in August. Is there anyone who would be willing to go on that committee to help out? This is totally separate from our club committee but already has a couple of our members on there already. Obviously, we will need to know how many want to enter the competitions. Let me know if you are interested.

Best wishes

Brian

Latest Bowls England Update

Following last Saturday’s meeting and two further consultation sessions with our county colleagues, we wanted to provide an update to our bowls community on plans for the 2021 season.

Our overriding objective remains leading the sport’s return to play and helping provide an environment where all bowlers who wish to get on the greens, can do so in a safe manner.  Insight from a recent survey informs us that 90% of bowlers want to start playing again as soon as they are able and we believe it is important for the health of our sport for it to get back up and running.  We have learnt a lot from 2020, bowls is a naturally socially-distanced, non-contact sport and the Covid-19 roadmap gives us a structure with which to operate and facilitate getting back to bowls.

Bowls clubs and volunteers did a brilliant job last year to reopen safely following the first lockdown.  Working with our development arm, the Bowls Development Alliance, we commit to supporting affiliated clubs to navigate through the regulations and overcoming any hurdles.  Our hope is that the overwhelming majority of clubs will be open, competitions will be taking place and we will have adapted successfully to the requirements of the government guidance.

Return to Play

On Monday 8th March we will be attending a Sport England briefing on ‘Return to Play’ with sport-specific guidance expected from the government via DCMS by Monday 29th March, which is the same day as Step 1 of the government roadmap.  At Step 1 we expect affiliated clubs to be able to open and play to return based on the ‘Rule of 6’ and from 12th April Step 2 is likely to allow outdoor catering on site, changing rooms to be open and the easing of travel restrictions.  Step 3 from Monday 17th May means larger groups should be able to gather at clubs and inside catering to take place with restrictions and, finally, Step 4 from Monday 21st June should allow the easing of all restrictions.

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS NOT OFFICIAL GUIDANCE.  As soon as we are in a position to provide full, DCMS approved guidance for our affiliated clubs we will do.  We are conscious there are lots of questions and we are as eager as you for them to be answered.  Please be patient and bear with us.

Back to Bowls for Affiliated Clubs

We will be working closely with our development arm, the Bowls Development Alliance (BDA), over the coming weeks to help affiliated clubs to get back to bowls safely, to understand best practice around the country and to give members of affiliated clubs and those wishing to try bowls confidence.  This work includes –

  • ‘Return to Play’ guidance for affiliated clubs in order for them to create a safe environment for the sport’s return
  • Resources and best practice to support the safe running of clubs, including case studies of Covid-friendly activity at clubs in 2020
  • Online rink booking and cashless payments to make management of your club as easy as possible
  • Promotional material and funding advice to encourage new players and generate more income

Affiliation Process

As clubs will be aware, the affiliation deadline changed this year because of the challenges of Covid-19 and to give clubs more time to get their club open and members signed up.  The deadline for payment by county associations to Bowls England is 31st May.

To ensure that we can work effectively with affiliated clubs over the coming weeks, we will be sending an online form to capture some basic information from each club.  This will enable us to send information to the right person, engage with you on ‘Return to Play’ guidance and Back to Bowls support for your club, and also help us embellish our website Club Finder.  With 40% of clubs not having their own website or social channels, the Club Finder allows new players to locate clubs and get in touch.  With richer information on this page such as facility provision, disabled access and opening times, it will provide a better experience for potential new bowlers.

Please keep your eye out for the registration form for affiliated clubs which will be sent out towards the end of March.

National Competitions and Finals

Last summer, a very small proportion of competition bowlers returned to the sport with the cancellation of the competition programme.  Aligned to our core objective, our aim is to get as many competition bowlers playing safely as possible.  This will require a bit of imagination, adaptability and a recognition that the season will look different to usual.

The government roadmap gives us a structure and we believe national championships and competitions can take place in their entirety with –

  • Matches involving greater numbers of people happening later in the summer when restrictions are lifted
  • The national finals starting later and taking place over a shorter time frame in order to free up more time for qualification
  • A shorter format in all rounds, including qualification rounds, in order to provide the greatest flexibility for participants, clubs and counties when arranging fixtures

These changes are sympathetic with the findings from our recent player survey and competition focus groups, but at this stage are for 2021 only to navigate through the challenges of Covid-19.  We will continue to consult competitions players on their experiences in order to ensure our competitions programme delivers the best possible experience for players and attracts new competition entrants.

The above will therefore mean –

  • Changes to the qualification timings for different competitions
  • Reduced number of qualifiers to the national finals in Championship events
  • Later start date and reduced length of the national finals. The provisional dates are Thursday 19th August to Sunday 5th
  • Restrictions on numbers at the national finals in order to provide a safe environment for players, officials and spectators.

We appreciate that the summer may feel different and not everyone will feel comfortable about that, but we believe that this is the best approach for the competition programme and that the vast majority will embrace these changes and enjoy getting back to competitive bowls.  Unless a competition does not start, we have no plans to return competition fees as we feel that entrants are still receiving good value for their average £3.25 entrance fee and that the vast majority will recognise the need for adaptability to ensure the competitions programme can take place in these unprecedented times.

Please note that players must be affiliated to Bowls England by 1st May through their submission to their county to participate in any of the national championships and competitions.  We will provide a more detailed update on the planned programme by the 24th March with national competition draws revealed early in April.

National Open Weekend – 28th to 31st May

As you will be aware, this is a national initiative offering Bowls England affiliated clubs the opportunity to promote our welcoming and socially-distanced sport and attract new members.

We know that 20% of new bowlers join our sport on the back of open weekends, that our clubs want support to help recruit new players and that there are plenty of people out there who would love to have a go at bowls.  We will be waiving 2021 affiliation fees for any brand new bowler joining a club on the back of the National Open Weekend.

Affiliated clubs who sign up will be able to access FREE resources, including bowls-specific workshops to help run a great event and grow your club. In addition, publicity material and creative resources for social media channels, websites and within your local community will be made available. It will be supported by a national marketing campaign to help raise awareness of the events across the country, and some clubs will get a visit from an England Commonwealth Games Squad bowler.

More information and registration details will be coming out very soon.

We hope this helps update you on the current position.  The summer will feel a little different, as so much of life has done in recent times, but our overriding feeling is of positivity that our season will be able to start on time, that bowlers at all levels will be playing and that we will see new bowlers on our greens this summer.  We thank you in advance for appreciating what we are trying to achieve and we hope we can all work together to make this a memorable season for all the right reasons.

Finally, just to reiterate, please be patient with us and your county in terms of receiving more detailed information.  We want to provide this as soon as possible but government approvals have to be sought and work has to be done. 

Message From Graham

Good Afternoon.

It’s been a long time since I sent you some really poor jokes, and no, don’t worry, I won’t send any today!!!

I hope you’re all well and looking at that light coming through the end of the tunnel. I’m sure most of us have had our first vaccination, and I know some who have had their second. Personally I can’t wait till June 21st so I can visit my grandson who was born last October. We did manage an overnight visit a few days after he was born, but that’s all.

I have also spent hours planning a Birthday Party for my mum, who is 90 this week. All my efforts were wasted, but hopefully we can arrange a gathering later in the year.

I know all of us have missed out dreadfully this last year … 2020 is not a year we will remember with joy.

I am contacting you to tell you that once again I will be selling tomato, cucumber, chilli and courgette plants. Thanks to your incredible generosity we made £262.20 for the SMILE charity last year. ALL profit will once again go to this most worthwhile cause. 2020 was a great year for tomatoes and cucumbers, and I hope you had bumper crops!!

With luck we are intending to hold a Coffee Morning later in the Summer, and it would be great if you were able to join us. I will keep you informed on this.

HAVE YOU GOT ANY OF MY SQUARE POTS?

If you have, I would be delighted if you could drop them off sometime. I will be sowing seeds in the next few days, so it’ll be a few weeks until I will transplant them.

In a few weeks time I will contact you with a list of plants for sale, along with a price list. I will also list how many of each I have for sale, so it will be first come, first served!!!

It’s a beautiful day! It’s Sylvia’s birthday so we are off out somewhere. I did make a cake!!! A sort of lemony drizzley slab!!! Not the lightest of cakes but with the help of a wheelbarrow, I did manage to get it out of the oven and onto the table!!!!

It won’t be long until we are back bowling!!! Brilliant!! Thanks to a lot of hard work by a group of our members, the green is looking good. Who knows, one day we can sit and have a beer!! Let’s hope so.

                                Thank you. Take care, stay safe and we will meet up soon.

                                                                                  Graham

Bowls England Update from last week

Today’s roadmap for the easing of lockdown restrictions enables Bowls England, counties and affiliated clubs to prepare with confidence for the 2021 outdoor season.  The Prime Minister’s announcement confirmed that outdoor affiliated bowls clubs will be able to open from 29 March.  

Our overriding objective is for as many bowlers as possible to enjoy our sport in a safe manner this summer.  Bowls is a naturally socially-distanced, non-contact activity and plays a key role in the mental and physical health of many across the country.  The positive prospects for the new season provides a great boost to bowlers and the sport in general. 

Whilst the overwhelming majority of existing bowlers are eager to start playing and are likely to have received their first vaccine, we understand there is a degree of nervousness about returning to the sport.  We will be working alongside our development partner, the Bowls Development Alliance, to support affiliated clubs across the country to create Covid-safe environments, building on the fantastic efforts of many club leaders last year.  This work will include:

·        ‘Return to Play’ guidance for affiliated clubs

·        Resources and best practice to support the safe running of clubs

·        Online rink booking and cashless payments

·        Promotional material and funding advice

We also aim to facilitate as much domestic competition as possible.  We have developed a series of Covid-contingency scenarios and, with the information now available, will look to reshape our national competition schedule.  We will issue a further update on the championships and competitions programmes once we have had the opportunity to consult with counties and clubs on any potential changes.

Our National Open Weekend planning will continue and we believe there’s a good opportunity to encourage people, who are looking for a new fun, family outdoor activity, into our sport.  We will be working with affiliated clubs who sign up to empower them to deliver Open Weekend events that are Covid-safe and give new players a fantastic first experience.

Chief Executive, Jon Cockcroft, said: “With the roadmap laid out by the Prime Minister, we are excited about our sport’s prospects for the coming season.  With sensible interventions in place, bowls is a sport that can be enjoyed authentically and safely within the government guidelines and it will be a huge boost for the wellbeing of the bowls community to be playing the sport they love and connecting back in with their local communities.  We will be working in partnership with all stakeholders, notably affiliated clubs, to navigate through any challenges and, whilst mindful to retain a level of caution, are very excited about the outdoor bowls season beginning soon.”

We understand today’s developments will provoke a range of questions and we would ask people to bear with us as we work through the various implications.  As soon as we can, we will be issuing more detailed guidance on the Bowls England website.

Matt Wordingham
Content Officer

Statement : British Isles Bowls Events – 2021

The British Isles Bowls Council (BIBC) and British Isles Women’s Bowls Council (BIWBC) have today announced the cancellation of all events for the 2021 season. The decision reflects the challenges related to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and has been made to enable more grassroots bowlers to enjoy the sport this summer.

Whilst we remain positive that people will be out on the greens this summer, the international series and championships necessitate an extra level of logistical planning and delivery for players, spectators and officials. Given these extra considerations, particularly around international travel and the varying restrictions across Britain expected to continue for months, it was not viable to continue without damaging the integrity of the events.

All nations agreed that the early decision was important to provide clarity to players and spectators, give every nation the opportunity to make the most of their domestic calendar and provide much-needed support to clubs.

No decision has been taken on British Isles events for 2022 as this will form part of a wider review taking into account a number of considerations including the Commonwealth Games taking place at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa.

Bowls England statement: “It was with a heavy heart that we supported the decision to cancel all of these events, however it is undoubtedly the right one. The concerns over travel and accommodation for large numbers of people made this decision inevitable.

“Domestically we remain confident that, thanks to the rollout of the vaccine and our experience from last season of bowling taking place in a Covid-friendly manner, people will be out playing in England at an early date. We are still planning for a full competitive season including national competitions and national championships, however we are working on a number of contingencies should there be a need to delay the start date. The cancellation of the British Isles events will provide opportunity for more flexibility in the calendar should the need arise.

“We also recognise that it is important for us to provide opportunities for new people to try our sport and enjoy its many physical and social benefits, and we are continuing work on our first-ever National Open Weekend from Friday 28th to Monday 31st May. We were one of the first sports to ‘open’ in 2020 and we will be working with clubs to help people get back to bowls and welcome newcomers into our sport.”

Notes:
The members of the BIBC are: Bowls England; Irish Bowling Association; Bowls Guernsey; Bowls Jersey; Bowls Scotland; Welsh Bowling Association

The members of the BIWBC are: Bowls England; Irish Women’s Bowling Association; Bowls Jersey; Bowls Scotland; Welsh Women’s Bowling Association

Matt Wordingham
Content Officer

Share your views to Bowls England

As we enter a New Year, it’s time to look ahead positively to the 2021 outdoor bowls season.

Last year proved there is a great appetite for people to enjoy our sport in a Covid-friendly manner. Those clubs who did open their doors provided a hub within their community for their members and experienced good levels of participation.

We know that the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions have had a huge impact on people’s ability to play bowls.  We know you have received a few surveys from us recently but this very short one will enable us to recognise how you are feeling and what support is needed to return, whilst building a national understanding of how different groups would prefer to be supported.

Jon Cockcroft, Bowls England Chief Executive, said: “When reflecting on 2020, it’s almost impossible to look beyond Covid-19 and its impact on our sport. Many outdoor bowls clubs remained closed, thousands of bowlers did not pick up a bowl in anger, the competitive season as we know it did not happen and the sport was affected financially at all levels of our game.

“We want to do everything possible to ensure that clubs can reopen safely in 2021 and that the bowling community can get back to bowls with confidence. Your feedback will be valuable to support the work are undertaking, in conjunction with the Bowls Development Alliance and the British Crown Green Bowling Association, to help make this happen.”

The survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete and thank you in advance for your valuable contribution us to ensure that we can help to get you back on the green. Deadline for completed surveys is Sunday 28th February.

Click here to complete the survey

Christmas Message from the President

Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and let’s look forward to a Happier New Year when we can get back to the lives that we are used to.

Please all of you stay safe and work within the Government Guidelines, then we will have a chance of defeating this terrible epidemic. 

We are, as a Committee, endeavouring to have an AGM to link with the Players Meeting in March/April. 

Alan Mabey

(President)