2020 Bowls Season
The much anticipated 2020 crown green bowls season is scheduled to commence on Monday 13th July, following the enforced break due to COVID-19. With confidence having increased amongst the population of the Island that we are now COVID free, the time is right to get back to bowls.
Following consultation with the clubs, it was agreed that whilst there would be no league bowls this season, the cup competitions would still go ahead with the finals of all the team events due to be held during the month of September.
The Rayner Shield is the first team event taking place with the unlucky first round losers playing in the Rayner Plate. South Ramsey A are the current holders of the Shield after a thrilling final against Marown A at the Villa, with the men from the north of the island two players light on their normal league squad they will have it all to do to retain the trophy this time round.
As luck would have it last year’s Rayner Plate winners Marown C start their Rayner journey with a home match against Port St Mary A, the very team they disposed of in style in the 2019 final.
The mixed team competition has 14 teams entered this season, is being played in a group format with the winner of each of the four groups qualifying for the semi-finals, which is traditionally played on a neutral green to decide which two teams reach the final. The current holders of the mixed team competition are Port St Mary A who swept aside the challenge of Marown A at Castletown last season.
The club team championship remains at 14 players per side, which can be made up of ladies and men, will be played as a knockout with matches being played home and away to decide which team progresses to the next round. The finals day will take place on a neutral green with the four teams playing down to the winner, following the success of last year’s final won convincingly by Marown at Port St Mary.
The Association is still planning on hosting all of the major competitions, starting with the Junior Championship being held at Douglas Bowling Club on Saturday 8th August, the current holder Shannon McMullan will be keen to retain her title having seen off tough competition last year. The following day the Doubles Championship is due to be hosted by Port St Mary, with the current holders John Kennish & David Bradford having won the competition for all four years since its inception. The following weekend sees Castletown host the Association Cup, giving Colin Kelly the chance to retain the first of his Association competition successes last year.
Another competition won by Colin Kelly last season was the Manx Championship seeing off Jordan Cain 21-11 in the final, with title number six ultimately qualifying Kelly for the Champion of Champions, which as we all know Kelly made history in becoming the first Manxman to win a major competition in the UK at the prestigious Waterloo Hotel in Blackpool. The Manx Championship is being played on two consecutive Sunday’s in late August at Onchan, incidentally the winner the last time it was hosted at Onchan in 2011 was Colin Kelly who defeated team mate Neil Withers 21-10 in the final for title number five.
Finishing the clean sweep of the major prizes last year Colin Kelly took home the Manx Masters trophy. South Ramsey will be hosting the Feltons Manx Masters in late September, with the Junior event due to take place in the morning, followed by the Ladies and Men’s events.
Clubs have all been given the opportunity to host an open of their choice, can apply for a second date if they wish to hold a second open competition. It has been great to see that the majority of clubs have still managed to secure sponsorship from local businesses across the Island, thanks must go to the sponsors for their continued support during a difficult time.
A huge thank you must also go to the Association for the hard work over the past few months to get bowlers back on the green, whilst restrictions were in place, also for all the planning that has gone into getting the season underway.
I hope you all have a great season and I look forward to seeing you around the greens!