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Club battles on through Covid-19 challenges

By John Rowlands South Cliff Bowling Club Scarborough

Wednesday, 15 June 2022


South Cliff Bowling Club Scarborough Contributor


(extracts of the text of the article which appeared in the Scarborough News - August 19th)

South Cliff Bowling Club hit top form after tough 18 months

After the Lockdown of 2020, the cancellation of fixtures, the lack of income we approached preparations for 2021 with a significant degree of trepidation and concern. Vaccinations, and a gradual loosening of restrictions gave us some hope. We looked carefully at three scenarios - no fixtures, full fixtures for the season (back to normal) or something in between - fixtures starting later than usual. We prepared for the worst case of the three.

We tweaked our membership form, filled in forms for support in the form of grants and hoped for the best. Members re-joined, we attracted around a dozen new members - some new to bowling some experienced.

Work continued on the green with a small band of dedicated helpers in the hope that we could return to some semblance of normality. Working on the gardens, we continue to attract visitors and are indebted to B&Q for their continued donations of plants.

Bowling resumed albeit with a series of instructions from Bowls England which limited the numbers on the green etc, these were frequently updated but the question of how to provide competitive opportunities for the membership loomed large ahead of a return to fixtures. The vacuum was filled by running our members leagues - Triples and Singles which involved over 40 members. In addition, we held Aussie Pairs and Vets practices which were very competitive. The green has been in excellent condition coping with 9 sessions a week, following Covid-19 protocols in conditions which ranged from hot and sunny through damp and cold to hailstones.

Social Bowling has been well attended and we have adopted a booking system over the past 15 months using our website and towards the end of May fixtures resumed for our five teams. To date performances have been impressive. The jewel in the crown has been the Open League where the team has been at the top of the league and has enjoyed some emphatic victories. They have been crowned champions, with matches to spare and were beaten once in 14 games. In the Aussie Pairs League, South Cliff Socialites rounded off their season with a league championship winning victory against Flamborough.

In addition, we were treated to a masterclass in the Champion of Champions Round 1 where 2020’s club champion Paul Bishop played former World Champion Mark Walton. Paul played well but faced an opponent at the top of his game.

Numbers are very healthy - over 70 in total to date, who are enjoying a range of opportunities on the green. Our thoughts are now turning to the issue of the clubhouse - renewal or re-development - given that after over 100 years it is beginning to show its age. We have taken advice from the Council - our landlords - who have been very helpful, we have worked with architect Mick Paxton and a number of ideas have been explored. We shall be consulting members and the local community as to what they would like to include in a new clubhouse.

The club has had a great deal to cope with: the threat of closure in 2015 due to a lack of members was averted by an active recruitment drive. This was followed by an intention to sell by the Council and move the club. Thankfully this was avoided, and we have a 25-year lease and have also been designated an Asset of Community Value.

Then the pandemic struck. However, despite all these trials we have emerged stronger and better equipped to face our next challenge - a new or re-developed clubhouse and community centre befitting a thriving club and benefiting the residents of South Cliff along with the continuing development of the gardens including a fairy garden which has proved to be very popular with both young children and adults.

The rest of the article features - Yorkshire Day, the clubhouse and Open League cup finals/presentations - already covered on the webiste.

Contact Information

John Rowlands

  • 07586 341 999
  • 01723 365 437

Find South Cliff Bowling Club Scarborough

Filey Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 2TP