After consulting with clubs the Management Committee of the Winter League has postponed the resumption of the fixture programme after the Christmas break due to restart next Tuesday.
You will have seen the rapid increase in the number of new cases of infection and deaths. Friday's total being the worst ever with 53,285 new cases and 613 deaths which surpassed the previous days figures which were themselves a record.
We would hate to be responsible for anyone being taking ill because they played in a Winter League bowls match and it would cast a huge black cloud over what has been a successful start to the new league. The long term damage to our League's reputation was also a factor as well. All this has to be balanced against the benefits to the physical and mental well-being of meeting with others that bowling provides at a time of restricted activity. It was not an easy decision but we have made the one that the majority are most comfortable with.
Consultation with the 14 teams in the League revealed that 7 were prepared to resume the season. Five teams preferred to delay the restart of which 3 indicated that they would have great difficulty in fielding full teams for the remainder of the season as planned.
It is hoped to resume and complete the season between mid-March and mid-April. This is possible if we play twice a week. We would also avoid clashes with any summer leagues. By then it is hoped that the numbers have been drastically reduced and that the impact of the vaccines is making everyone much more comfortable about mixing in public settings.
We are hugely disappointed to be taking this action but feel that it is the safest option at a time of increased and increasing numbers of the COVID-19 infection rates and deaths.
Getting this far has never been easy for the Winter League and this latest setback will add another chapter to the history of the formation of the League.
Just to emphasise the point - the Management Committee has made the decision to postpone the rest of the season with immediate effect. The season will not reopen on Tuesday 5 January as previously planned.