BOWLS greens were permitted to open from today (Wednesday, May 13), but with very severe restrictions and protocols in place.

The following guidance from the Government is: 

You should only partake in activities along with members of your household, or with one other person from outside your household, while practising social distancing. Competitions and competitive bowling will NOT be allowed at the present time. Clubhouses should remain closed and you should take particular care if you need to use any inside facilities (e.g. toilets).

Clubs should take all the necessary steps in order to facilitate their club re-opening; some players are clearly keen to get back on the green. It will be for individuals and clubs to determine when they are ready to start bowling again.

Inside facilities, such as toilets, should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high contact objects e.g. door handles. Clubs should provide hand washing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points on the green.

Equipment must be placed outside for members to use and cleaned with sanitisers and disinfectants. There will be no facilities for changing.

The following instructions should be followed:

1 If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self isolating, you should stay at home – and not play bowls. This is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

2 At all times you should observe social distancing guidelines when on club premises, including ensuring you are two metres away from anyone outside your household.

3 People will only be able to use these facilities, either by themselves, with people from their own household or with one person who stays in another household.

4 Only singles games can be played unless all persons are from the same household.

5 The advice for those aged 70 and over continues to be that they should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household. If bowling they should be careful to maintain distance from others as we know that as you get older, there is a higher risk of coronavirus having a more serious impact with infection. Complications and deaths are more common in the elderly, even those without pre-existing conditions.


THE English Bowling Federation will make a firm decision on this year's national indoor finals in July when more information has been received with regard to the coronavirus pandemic.

The finals, which were scheduled for Newark at the end of this month, have been provisionally rearranged for September 21-27. If they have to be cancelled, it will depend on when the indoor centres start opening again as to what will happen with both the 2020 and 2021 finals.

As a result of the outdoor season 'wipe out', it has already been agreed that the national presidents will carry on for next year.

It is hoped that the EBF bowls week at Potters next year will go on as scheduled at the beginning of March and so group leaders are urged to carry on taking bookings as normal.


TO avoid a logistical nightmare for clubs and counties alike and given the current coronavirus crisis regarding personal contact, the NBF and the NWBF have decided that the 2020 county competition entry fees will be 'rollled over' to next year.

In the event of some clubs not having copies of the fees paid by their members, the counties will be providing each club with a list.

When the 2021 outdoor county competition entry forms are completed later this year, the club secretaries or their members can make the necessary financial adjustments, additional money or claim a rebate.

Clubs should then contact the NBF and NWBF with the total of rebates they require, if any, and these will be forwarded to the clubs for distrubution to their members.

Should any members require an immediate refund, they should make the initial request through their club secretary and not the counties.

Members and clubs who paid for county handbooks for this season will receive free copies next year, and the same system will also apply to the handful of clubs and members who purchased national yearbooks.

Champion of Champions entries for this year will be carried over to 2021.

The 2020 county championship programme will also be 'rolled over' to next year, as will the Durham Centenary Trophy,

The proposed county dinner on Sunday, September 20th has been cancelled, and a decision will be taken later with regard to the presentation of indoor trophies. The EBF indoor finals, postponed from next month, have been provisionally arranged for September 21-27 at Newark.

With many players not paying outdoor club subscriptions this season, the EBF will accept 2019 memberships which will enable players to be eligible for next season's indoor county championships.





A MESSAGE from NWBF president Vivienne Hempsell and the Executive Committee.

This pandemic is something which in our lifetime we have never had to experience. However, what is emerging from the situation is we must all accept unconditionally the need to work together and support each other.

The NBF and the NWBF executives are working closely with the EBF to ensure the best outcome for the safety of all its members, sometimes making strong decisions for the continuation of bowling and your personal safeguarding.

Can I ask you whenever possible to regularly check the EBF and the NBF websites for information and updates on the way forward, ensuring that members who cannot access the internet are also kept up to date.

The NBF and the NWBF are also in discussions regarding the various county and competition fees paid and full details will be forwarded to club secretaries shortly. These will also be posted on the NBF website in due course.

Decisions, sometimes unpopular, will have to be made, and we ask you to be understanding and to adhere to these for your protection physically, mentally and financially if bowling from grassroots upwards is to survive. Please make an extra effort to keep in contact with your club members and make sure no one is left isolated during the difficult months ahead.

We will be monitoring the situation closely, and if possible will try to arrange a get-together later in the year.



THE English Bowling Federation have announced the cancellation of all county games and competitions for this season.

As a result, the Durham Centenary competition will be carried forward to 2021.

The statement from EBF secretary Dave Woods reads:

"To be able to achieve the national finals at Skegness, counties would have to start playing their competitions in early May, but with advice coming from the Government it looks impossible for games to start that early.

We have been inundated with calls and emails from bowlers, who have concerns about playing with the Coronavirus doing its rounds.

It is hoped that our members will continue to support their county and clubs and be ready to play when we are given the all clear to resume.

Although we will not be playing the 2020 national outdoor championships it is hoped that we will still be able to play the indoor national finals at Newark in September (provisional dates September 21-27).

With all the uncertainty we have also decided to cancel the Reg Jackson tournament and anyone with an entry will be carried forward to the 2021 tournament.

We are very sorry we have had to take this stance, but the health and safety of our members is more important than the game of bowls."

* Please continue to check the website for updates or contact your club secretaries who will be kept informed of any developments once the management committee have had chance to meet and discuss the matter with regard to county competition fees etc.



THE English Bowling Federation indoor finals scheduled for the end of April at Newark have been suspended.

A provisional date of September 21-27 is now on the table assuming that some sort of normality has returned to the country.

As yet no decision has been taken with regard to the NBF and NWBF outdoor competitions.

Please keep checking the website for updates.

Ketton bowlers’ legacy for next generation

Ketton bowls club will be operating from a new clubhouse in the forthcoming season (see images below), the product of intensive fund-raising and support from sponsors within the village and in Rutland.

A refurbished cabin, supplied by Cabins GB based in Alconbury, has been installed to replace the previous clubhouse which was purchased shortly after the club was formed in 1974 and which in recent years has shown serious signs of wear and tear including a leaking roof and crumbling exterior.

The club has been fund-raising through car boot sales, dances, quizzes and coffee mornings but soon discovered the clubhouse project was out of its financial reach until three local grant funds came to its rescue.

The Healthy Rutland Scheme, which provided £5,400, funds projects promoted by local community and voluntary organisations designed to improve the health and wellbeing of local communities. The scheme understood the importance of the clubhouse in enabling the club to meet its ambitions of reaching into the community to provide a facility and service that supports and promotes health and well-being accessible across all ages.

The Ketton-based Whitbread Trust also spotted the potential to provide an improvement for the village, and made a valuable contribution of £4,000. Additional £500 funding and support was also provided by the Rutland Trust.

Pre-furnished with heating, lighting, fitted sink and draining board and specially formatted double picture window to provide visibility on to Ketton’s professionally maintained six rink green, the cabin was delivered by Bedford-based hauliers D & G Noble.

Despite the very close proximity of a metal telegraph pole and gate post, the new cabin was deftly edged into position with a hydraulic crane to replace the its predecessor in less than two hours with the help of volunteer Ketton members.

Said chairman Bob Warters: “The arrival of the new cabin is the culmination of at least two years of intensive fund raising by our dedicated members and committee, together with the fantastic support we have received from our sponsors.

“It will give the club a great boost for the new season – in which we will be hosting the Northants Federation county championships in July for the second time in our 46-year history. It will also be the current members’ legacy for the future.”

President Charlie Underwood, who quickly organised the replacement of the club’s distinctive crest on the cabin frontage, added:” It has been a great team effort ever since we decided we needed to replace the crumbling old cabin which had stood us in good stead for 40 years. It is our gift to the community and the next generations of bowlers and will provide a vital benefit to our money-raising galas and competitions.”

Charlie went on to say: “The club will now be able to cement its position as a great health and wellbeing asset for Ketton, and will work to encourage people to visit and engage to build friendships, to connect with others and to participate in some decent physical exercise.”

Ketton Bowls Club aims to improve on its current membership of around 40 players and social members and currently puts out seven teams every week in the Stamford and Peterborough Leagues as well as friendly matches. It is also able to provide practice sessions for potential new members during certain evenings and afternoons.

The club in Pit Lane, is affiliated to the Northants Bowling Federation and will be running at least two gala days in the summer, as well as staging the Northants finals on July 15.

The club’s registration day will be held on Sunday, March 8 (11 am) when current and potentially new members will be able to inspect the its new home.

FOOTNOTE: Ketton, like every other club in the county Federation, is hoping that the current coronavirus outbreak will not deeply effect its preparations for the new season, in which it also competes in the Stamford and Peterborough Leagues with upto seven teams fielded every week.


CHRISTINE Ford claimed a hat-trick of titles at the Northants Bowling Federation men’s and women’s indoor finals at the Peterborough & District club on Sunday.

There were also title doubles for Martyn Dolby, who like Ford had qualified in four events, Adam Warrington, John Earl, Stephen Harris and Shirley Suffling.

But the winners will have to wait until April 3rd before a decision is taken by the English Bowling Federation on whether the national finals can go ahead as planned at Newark later in that month, otherwise they may be deferred until later in the year.

Ford opened with a 21-4 victory over Margaret King in the singles, followed by a 20-13 win in the pairs with Suffling, having trailed Marlene Osborne and Hazel Bass 10-4 at one stage.

She completed the treble in the triples with Suffling and Jan Want against Joan Robinson, who had earlier won the senior singles 21-4 against Fiona Richardson, singles runner-up Margaret King and Margaret Bloxham, the match being conceded at 26-9 with three ends remaining.

The one that got away for Ford came in the mixed rinks with Dolby and Warrington, where they were beaten 19-18 by holders Moira and John Holroyd, playing this time with Wayne Aspinall, Warrington trailing the jack for four on the last end with five required for an extra end.

Dolby suffered mixed fortune in both singles, beating county president Dick Noble 21-4 to retain the veterans category before crashing 21-3 to Warrington in the open version.

Dolby and Warrington joined forces with Earl to retain the triples, defeating Michael Jeapes, Neil Wright and Roger Martin 23-11.

Earl’s other title came in the mixed pairs with heavily pregnant partner Katie Bailey, a dramatic last end 18-17 victory over Cliff Watson and Liz Hext, recovering from 13-4 down to snatch the spoils with a double on the 21st and final end when trailing 17-16.

There was also a last end thriller in the men’s pairs, where Stephen Harris, who had dashed back from Wales after featuring in England’s successful senior indoor squad, and Wayne Morris pipped Chris Ballard and Earl 17-15, Harris drawing shot with the last bowl to prevent an extra end.

Earlier Harris had retained the under 25 open singles title with a 21-5 defeat of ten-year-old schoolboy Ollie Jeapes, who impressed the spectators with the quality of his bowls against the England international and he looks set to be a name to follow in the future.




Singles: Chris Ford bt Margaret King 21-4.

Senior singles: Joan Robinson bt Fiona Richardson 21-6.

Pairs: Shirley Suffling & Chris Ford bt Marlene Osborne & Hazel Bass 20-13.

Triples: Jan Want, Shirley Suffling, Chris Ford bt Joan Robinson, Margaret King, Margaret Bloxham 26-9.


Singles: Adam Warrington bt Martyn Dolby 21-3.

Veterans singles: Martyn Dolby bt Dick Noble 21-4.

Under 25 open singles: Stephen Harris bt Ollie Jeapes 21-5.

Pairs: Wayne Morris & Stephen Harris bt Chris Ballard & John Earl 17-15.

Triples: Martyn Dolby, John Earl, Adam Warrington bt Michael Jeapes, Neil Wright, Roger Martin 23-11.


Pairs: Katie Bailey & John Earl bt Cliff Watson & Liz Hext 18-17.

Triples: Moira Holroyd, Wayne Aspinall, John Holroyd bt Martyn Dolby, Chris Ford, Adam Warrington 19-18.

Mixed triples winners Wayne Aspinall, John and Moira Holroyd.

Ten-year-old Ollie Jeapes played in the under 25 singles final.

John Earl, Adam Warrington, Martyn Dolby retained the triples.

Jan Want, Chris Ford and Shirley Suffling won the women’s triples.

Mixed pairs finalists Liz Hext, Cliff Watson, John Earl and Katie Bailey.

Joan Robinson (left) beat Fiona Richardson in the senior singles.

Pairs winners Stephen Harris and Wayne Morris with beaten finalists Chris Ballard and John Earl.


IN the light of the worsening situation with regard to the coronavirus outbreak, the Northants Bowling Federation and Northants Women's Bowling Federation have decided to postpone the Race Night scheduled for the Whittlesey Manor club on Friday, April 3rd.

It is hoped the event can be re-staged later in the year.


BOTH Martyn Dolby and Chris Ford will be playing in all four sessions at the Northants Bowling Federation men's and women's indoor county finals being held at the Peterborough & District club this Sunday (March 15th) from 10.00am.

Dolby defends both the veterans singles and the triples, and has also qualified for the singles and mixed triples, while Ford bids for success in the singles, mixed pairs, triples and pairs.

Dolby's opponent in the singles will be Adam Warrington, who he will be playing alongside later in both the triples and the mixed triples finals.

John Earl has also qualified in three events – mixed pairs, triples and pairs.



Women's senior singles: Joan Robinson v Fiona Richardson.

Women's singles: Chris Ford v Margaret King.

Men's veteran singles: Dick Noble v Martyn Dolby.

12 noon

Mixed pairs: Liz Hext & Cliff Watson v Katie Bailey & John Earl.

Men's singles: Adam Warrington v Martyn Dolby.

Women's pairs: Marlene Osborne & Hazel Bass v Shirley Suffling & Chris Ford.


Under 25 open singles: Stephen Harris v Ollie Jeapes.

Men's triples: Adam Warrington, John Earl, Martyn Dolby v Michael Jeapes, Neil Wright, Roger Martin.

Women's triples: Jan Want, Shirley Suffling, Chris Ford v Margaret King, Margaret Bloxham, Joan Robinson.


Mixed triples: Moira Holroyd, Wayne Aspinall, John Holroyd v Adam Warrington, Chris Ford, Martyn Dolby.

Men's pairs: Chris Ballard & John Earl v Stephen Harris & Wayne Morris.


The NBF dress code rule for finals reads: Dress for county finals shall be outdoor registered club shirts, white trousers or white tailored shorts, white belt or braces (if worn), white undergarments, white ankle or trainer socks and flat-soled bowling shoes. Failure to adhere to this rule may lead to expulsion from the finals.

The NWBF dress code for finals reads: White or cream standard bowling skirt or white or cream long or cropped tailored bowls trousers. Plain white short or long-sleeved top with collar or registered outdoor club shirt (all must wear the same). White zip-up or cardigan. White bowls shoes. Beige tights are optional, ankle highs, white trainer socks may be worn with trousers.

In mixed competitions women must wear their own outdoor club registered shirt or plain white top, as above, which may differ from their male partners.


RAFFLE prizes would be appreciated with the monies raised being shared between the NBF and the NWBF.




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