2021 Season

Hi Guys, you are all aware that it has been a difficult time for us all over the last twelve months or so and can I begin by offering condolences to all those who have suffered bereavement during this horrible time and best wishes to those who have suffered from poor health for a speedy recovery.

You may all be aware by now that the WBA have decided to run with their plan B which means a delayed start to the season and a belated national finals in September in Llandrindod Wells. All the details are available on their website.

Another change is the format of the WBA Carruthers shield which for one season only will be competed by teams of four triples, each playing 18 ends with three woods each. With the latest update that we can now organise activity with up to 30 people from 26th April, I propose that all Carruthers shield fixtures for Monmouthshire clubs can proceed on the dates already allocated on the MBA website. So far, all clubs in Monmouthshire who have responded to our secretary regarding their wishes for the coming season have indicated they are willing and able to compete. Obviously, there are some still to respond and I urge you to respond as soon as possible so that we all know exactly where we stand in regard to the fixtures. Any club who wishes not to compete in the Carruthers shield this season will not be punished next season, this rule is being waived for this year.

In regard to the MBA leagues, due to the restrictions imposed on us, I propose we follow the WBA lead and play all league matches over four triples, at least until the restrictions are further lifted and we may decide we can revert to the usual format. Again there may be clubs who may not wish to compete, or may compete with a much-depleted team, therefore, I propose there will be no promotion or relegation this year, making the leagues effectively a friendly league for this season but all fixtures can be played as per the lists on the website.

GBL fixtures have a slightly different issue in as much as weeks one and two are scheduled before the government relaxation date. I propose all fixtures from weeks three onwards can be played on the dates on the website and fixtures for weeks one and two can be arranged by mutual agreement between the clubs concerned. Again there may be issues for some clubs and I propose there be no promotion or relegation here either. I will seek clarification next week but I think it will be in order for these fixtures to be played as normal over three rinks of four.

The MBA cup unless we have a change in the restriction prior to the first fixtures scheduled for May 21st, I propose this competition will also be played by four triples and if we must start in this format, it will remain for the duration of this seasons competition. The cup will be awarded to the winning team for this competition. Fixtures will remain as per the website and a draw made for each round as per the rules of the competition.

Inter Association competition, I am keen to try and get this played in some fashion if possible. With the first fixtures not scheduled until May 28, I am going to delay a decision until next month when we may have a clearer idea of possible further relaxation of the rules. Each association have appointed their respective presidents and they have already lost the season they were elected for and I would therefore like to get some form of competition running to give those guys a chance of serving their associations with pride. It may be that if restrictions are not lifted, we could also play inter association matches over four triples but if restrictions are lifted, we may be able to play a near normal inter association competition.

I am hoping to meet with bowls wales next week and will hopefully be able to give you a clearer indication of the permutations allowed on your greens, the possible travelling arrangements and further advice regarding making our sport covid safe. Bowls Wales are running on line courses for covid officers and they are also willing to cover the costs of these courses if you are a member of a club affiliated to the National Governing Body. Visit Bowls Wales website for details. With the rules currently stating that we are not allowed to use the changing rooms or provide refreshments indoors, I suggest all matches will be played in grey trousers or shorts and club tops. Also, be mindful that your hosts may not be able to provide refreshments and therefore make arrangements accordingly if you have a particular need to have food or drink during your time at the match.

We will then be in a better position to give the go ahead for all county competitions, with the delay in the National finals, there is also a delay in the time required to complete our county competitions to the final stage and declare our entries to the nationals. Our competition secretary has posted the draw on our website and when the picture is a little clearer, he will be adding the dates for each round to be played on or by.

Can I finally thank you all for your patience over this difficult period and wish you all well as we try to rebuild our sport. I will try and assist wherever I can so feel free to ask any questions and I will endeavour to get you an answer.

Peter Williams
M.B.A. League Secretary