"I am a Norfolk man and Glory in being so." Horatio Nelson

Short mat bowls clubs prepare to enter lockdown

After all the hard work put in by the clubs that achieved “Safe Club Status” it is sad to see all short mat bowls coming to a halt in England once again as the latest Government lockdown begins on Thursday. All indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, including leisure centres, will have to shut. Eleven Norfolk clubs had been granted “Safe Status” including Taverham SMBC who have a session scheduled for Wednesday, the last day before the new lockdown. At least when the lockdown comes to an end those clubs will be able to resume their sessions again. Thirty-five Norfolk clubs have renewed their membership of the NCSMBA for 2020/21 compared to forty-seven last year while Player registrations have slumped from 938 to 440. There is a fear among many in the sport that the longer the pandemic continues the more likely it is that a percentage of players will never return to the sport. It is also feared that some clubs will actually fold. Popular Essex bowler Tony Ealham, well known for organizing the Friends of Essex team that regularly played Norfolk Over 60’s, has already announced his retirement from the sport due to an issue related to the recent restart in Essex. Tony’s resignation has resulted in the postponement of the matches that Friends of Essex had arranged against Norfolk Over 60's and Kent Invicta  for 2021. There have been suggestions from some quarters that the sport is badly in need of a major revamp and that perhaps now is the time to consider those changes. Certainly many would like to see leading figures in the sport, and organisations, discuss how short mat bowls should move forward once the spectre of coronavirus has passed.

FOE2 RS35

 Tony Ealham pictured with Norfolk Over 60's Organiser Teresa Goldsmith