We already know that the 2021 season is highly unlikely to start in the first week of April as it traditionally does for some of our leagues. Yesterday we examined the extent of the problem with a potential shortfall of match dates of up 9 missing dates for some leagues. Anything later than an end of May start will present rearrangement conundrums for all our leagues apart from the Junior League. Yesterday's posting
Clubs have to understand that any change to the normal process is going to be messy - VERY messy. That cannot be avoided whatever solution you put in place. It will be messy for 2021 and will provide messy residue to be sorted out for 2022. If you start from accepting that point then you have a chance of providing some sort of competitive bowling for this year.
Trying to retain the format as normal is a non-starter. This is a one-off season that demands a one-off solution with special dispensation required on a number of fronts. Goodwill among your teams and good leadership by your Leagues is paramount in getting this resolved so that we can enjoy a good season of bowling. There is not a Do-Nothing option.
This exercise assumes that your League doesn't have enough weeks to complete a full season just using your normal playing dates. If that is the case then I believe that Leagues have up to four options to provide some sort of positive competition in the coming season.
Option 1 - Extend end of season date PROS: Easy to do; avoids clashes with other leagues
CONS: Unpopular with clubs and greenkeepers; not all clubs may agree to do
Option 2 - League rearranges outstanding fixtures into mid-week slots
PROS: Gets the job done; controlled by League
CONS: Probable clashes with other Leagues; bowler/team availability likely to be a problem
Option 3 - Let clubs rearrange outstanding fixtures between themselves
PROS: Will suit some to match their club programme better
CONS: Can introduce conflict between clubs; no central control; clashes with other leagues
Option 4 - Restructure the number of teams in each section to fit number of weeks available
PROS: Keeps things very tidy, one-off solution to a one-off season; option to return to previous format for 2022 season; avoids all the CONS of the other 3 options; controlled by League
CONS: Rearranging divisions will upset some teams; promotion and relegation issues to sort in a revamped structure; promotion and relegation issues to sort out at the end of a season of temporary divisions
The most appropriate solution may be different for different Leagues depending on their own circumstances and priorities. Anyone that can suggest any further solutions please feel free to do so. The Comments section below is designed for just that purpose.