Final day of the first season

Updated: Feb 28

Winter League

Weather permitting this coming Wednesday will be the final day of the first-ever Huddersfield Winter League bowling season. The completion of the Division 2 fixture programme at Springwood on Wednesday is a significant milestone in the development of winter bowling in Huddersfield and a date that has been some time in coming.

Denied a complete season last year because of the Covid lockdowns it is with great relief that the League welcomes the completion of its first full season. With 192 matches played over 20 weeks from Wednesday 6 October 2021 to this Wednesday 23 February involving 160 actual bowlers from the 271 registered with our 27 teams.

Although it maybe didn't always feel like it, we have enjoyed a very mild winter and on some days very unseasonably warm and dry weather. We lost 4 days of bowling over the season all due to the weather and unplayable greens. Two of those were Mondays at Thorpe Green (1st and 29th November), one each at Springwood (20th October) and Milnsbridge (8th December). Thanks to the action of the host clubs and the flexibility of the teams all the lost days were caught up with within 7 days which is most commendable.

We still have to appreciate what the extra activity will mean for our host clubs in the way of additional wear on their greens and whether that proves acceptable for future seasons or not. Let us hope so and that any doubt about the value in hosting matches in the future is tempered by the additional income they have made over the winter months when it would previously have been nil. I know that one of the clubs will almost reach the £3,000 profit mark by the time the Winter Cup round is completed. Another has already cashed in over £2,600 profit and the third expects to make around a clear £2,000.

It has always felt important to start a new venture to satisfy the interest there clearly is in extending the bowling season. Yet more importantly for the physical and mental well-being of bowlers who have been affected by the pandemic and lockdowns to have a reason to get back outside, mixing with like-minded individuals and socialising again.

That reaction is likely to see the League expand again next season with 10 new teams already expressing an interest, with some already formally applying, in joining the League whilst we have received two formal offers from new clubs to host a season-long division of matches for the 2022-23 season on top of our current three host greens. Any teams interested in learning more about joining the Winter League for 2022-23 can learn everything there is to know by making contact. The closing date for new entries is Monday 4 July.

Everything looks so positive that I think that we can now say that winter bowling has certainly arrived in Huddersfield and is going to be around for some time to come.

Meanwhile on the green there is the matter of the final round of Division 2 fixtures to complete this Wednesday with matters at both ends of the table already resolved.

Meltham are the Division 2 Champions and Lindley Lib are promoted with them. Whilst at the bottom Paddock I&C and Huddersfield Recreation Club 'A' will be dropping a division next year after filling the bottom two positions. So with nothing at stake for any team, it promises to be a social occasion as new friends and rivalries will be bid farewell for the summer months with the promise of meeting again next October.

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