Its been a rocky introduction to life for the inaugural season of the new Huddersfield Winter League so what can the bowlers expect to happen next over the coming weeks? Currently the season is suspended for the second time and we await Government action before any relaxation is introduced to permit us to resume action.
There is always risk associated with anything new, things can go wrong and we have to be prepared to counter any such setbacks. The Winter League has had more than its full share of such setbacks over the 15-month gestation period and even more so since first seeing the light of day last October. Catch up on the updated full story so far.
Now in the midst of the latest threat to life as a respected bowling league the bowlers are faced with the latest lockdown which appears to be the biggest hurdle yet encountered to completing this maiden season. At best it seems that bowling will not commence until at the soonest early April and even that will require a strong tail-wind to push us along.
An early April restart hardly seems soon enough to fit in the three weeks of fixtures required as a minimum to complete the opening season as some of the summer leagues will expect to start their campaigns as soon as they are allowed in April as well. If we can't find dates in April then I think we are very close to cancelling the remainder of the season. We will be in a more informed position after Boris launches his Road Map on 22 February to guide us through the expected return to normality.
That is likely to see a resumption of the Tier system and that in turn will dictate our resumption of bowling programmes. It is anticipated that this will include another Risk Assessment to be undertaken by each club before they are allowed to reopen. The rules have changed and may well change again since the initial process was introduced and the Winter League greens had to reapply for opening approval from the YCCGBA before any bowler was allowed back on the green. This all takes time. It is very difficult to see much hope in that programme to fit in the three clear weeks we need to complete the inaugural season but we live in hope.
This, of course, takes no account of the bowler's thoughts on when they might consider life safe enough to return to bowling as well. This factor is very much unknown at this time and that is why we launched a new survey for bowlers yesterday on the website. This asks the bowlers when they expect to be sufficiently assured about their safety to return to the greens. That in turn should guide the leagues in determining when their seasons should start but I fear it will all be too late for the Winter League this time around.
However, with the experiences endured and enjoyed through the playing time we have managed this season I am confident that the League has a long term future. Next week I take a look at what that future might look like as we start the planning for Season 2 (can we call it that if we haven't completed Season 1?). Lots to look forward to with all the lessons learnt to date and it is clear from the bowlers feedback that there is the demand for all year round bowling competitions.
Coming later today: An alternative future for the Winter League