Return to Bowls – NIBA Update

Following recent announcements by NI Executive and Sport NI, General Purposes Sub-Committee met to consider what competitive play and in what format, may be feasible for 2021 Season.

Although Outdoor Sports, which includes bowls, has been released (with restrictions) as of 1 April, the return to Competitive Activities (between Teams / Clubs) has been placed into Phase 2 Sub-Step 2(c) of the Pathway Out of Restrictions, with no definitive date assigned for its resumption.

As from 12 April restrictions should have eased with 15 players able to participate in bowling activities, again with restrictions, which should allow Club activities to resume.

After considering all current restrictions and regulations, Sub-Committee realise that the planned start for League season on 24 April and Cup matches of 16-players per side are no longer feasible. Therefore, both League and Cup programmes have been cancelled.

However, Committee are actively considering alternative forms of competitions and it is hoped that some form(s) of competitive bowls can be programmed in, with a tentative commencement date of around 1 June. Championships, Super 6’s, 5-player, 10-player, regional leagues are all being considered.
When confirmed, full details, playing schedule, dates, and entry forms will be made available to Club Secretaries and on website in due course.

Committee are very aware that some Club members may still harbour reservations about returning to competitive bowls, therefore the Committee places no obligation on any member to return to bowling. This is solely a decision for the individual to make. The health & safety, and the wellbeing of our members will always be paramount over a requirement for competitive play.

In the meantime, Clubs should familiar themselves with, and conform to all regulations issued by NI Executive, Irish Bowls Federation, SportNI and local Council guidelines. Failure by Clubs or Club members to comply may incur sanctions.

References:
Sport NI:  Pathway out of Restrictions for outdoor sport | Sport NI
Sport NI: Return To Sport | Sport NI
IBF: Return to Bowls – Updated IBF Guidelines. – IBF (irishbowlsfederation.co.uk)

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