Hunts County bowls finals will have more riding on them than normal in 2021

The Huntingdonshire Bowls county finals this coming season will have far greater significance than normal with only one qualifier in all but the men’s and women’s junior singles being permitted this year.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 11:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 1:13 pm
A scene from a Hunts County bowls final in 2019.

Usually both finalists already know they will be heading to the national finals at Leamington before the county decider, so there will certainly be more riding on the outcome this time.

Instead of a month-long national championships starting at the beginning of August, Bowls England have decided to shoe-horn the event into the space of 18 days starting on Thursday, August 19th through to Sunday, September 5th, hence the reduction in entries.

Those counties with larger entries in the main events will get two qualifiers instead of three and it also means that the men’s and women’s competitions will be running side by side and that places increased pressure on players who may have to choose between the Bowls England finals and the English Bowling Federation finale at Skegness which runs from Saturday, August 21st to Saturday, August 28th.

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The EBF championships usually clash with either the men’s triples and fours or the men’s singles and pairs, but this time more events will be running at Leamington at the same time.

The reason for the Bowls England decision is to allow counties more time to play their qualifying competitions should there be any delay in the relaxing of Covid restrictions.

One other significant change is the decision to play all the inter-county championships on a knockout basis rather than in regional groups leading to the last eight as these matches will not be permitted until late June.

The EBF are considering a similar move for their county championship programme, with counties now being canvassed for their opinions.

With clubhouses remaining closed, apart from toilets, and car sharing not permitted until at least May 17th, the Peterborough League, which usually starts around the first week in May, are looking at the possibility of pushing back the start date.

The rule of six also applies until May 17th which means that although league matches (three triples) can be played, providing they are played on alternative rinks, it means that any clubs with less than six rinks could not play at home and there could also be parking issues should all members of the nine-strong teams have to travel separately.