Reception volunteers wanted

posted 9 Aug 2020, 13:51 by Stamford Indoor Bowls

With Stamford Indoor Bowls Club due to re-commence its domestic league programme from Monday September 14, the club is looking for volunteers from among the membership to help administer some sessions - at least until Christmas.

Leagues will start again three times a day, at least six days a week under strict social distancing regulations with all those who enter the building required to wear face coverings. But the two-hour sessions cannot continue without more volunteers signing up to help serve on reception, taking green fees and confirming future bookings.

Training will be provided.

For more information, please contact Carol Warters (01780 721411)

League programme needs more teams

posted 5 Aug 2020, 13:05 by Stamford Indoor Bowls   [ updated 7 Aug 2020, 09:51 ]

After revising its domestic league programme, due to start in September, Stamford Indoor Bowls Club is looking for more teams to commit to an initial series of fixtures until Christmas.

The club is due to re-open for a trial period of social roll-ups from August 17 to test its regulations, following the Covid-19 pandemic but because of the stringent rules which must be introduced - including social distancing and face coverings for bowlers - commitment by members to a league programme starting four weeks later has inevitably been affected.

Some leagues - including Monday night rinks and women's Tuesday afternoon triples - have already had to be cancelled, with teams withdrawing because of lack of support. But league secretary John Holroyd is hopeful more teams will register for leagues that have enough to go ahead, albeit slightly depleted. 

To encourage more teams, all league registration fees have been waived. Individual players can help form new teams or will be found existing teams in which to compete.

The following leagues have so far been confirmed and those with single figure registrations in particular need more support: Sunday morning Australian pairs (6 teams have already registered), Monday afternoon Open triples (11); Tuesday evening open rinks (6); Wednesday afternoon open triples (11); Wednesday evening open triples (10); Thursday afternoon men's triples (5); Thursday evening open rinks (5);  Friday morning open pairs (12); Friday afternoon open triples (9); Friday evening men's triples (9).

To take part in trial roll ups on midweek days from August 17 to September 11 ( midweek morning and evening sessions only), members can book online ( quoting their membership details, by email ( or by telephone (01780 756452) during sessions.    BW

Trial re-opening from Monday, August 17

posted 24 Jul 2020, 09:35 by Stamford Indoor Bowls   [ updated 31 Jul 2020, 09:07 ]

Left: The look of things to come. Janet and Maurice Dye illustrate how the trial sessions will look from August 17, with face coverings compulsory and notices to clarify regulations for social distancing.

FOLLOWING THE government's lifting of restrictions for sports clubs, Stamford Indoor Bowls Club's arena off Exeter Gardens is set to re-open - for limited casual play only -  from August 17.

Members will be allowed to book in advance during a four-week trial period of two-hour roll-ups. They will be staged twice a day (Monday to Friday, 10 am and 6.30pm) until mid-September. Social-distancing will be tested, with face coverings compulsory.

Only 30 players can participate in these sessions but spectators will be allowed as long as they register and wear a face covering.

Subject to the success of this trial return schedule, when the club will accept email and telephone bookings only and volunteers will be manning reception in pairs to regulate social distancing restrictions, the management committee hope to reinstate competitive play and domestic leagues by September 14. Subsequently, it is hoped early competitive play will be three daily sessions, including one evening session.

It is six months since the indoor green was forced to close on March 17, when fears over the spread of the Covid-19 virus nationwide meant the cancellation of competitions and inter-club matches, friendlies, domestic leagues and casual roll-ups. 

The club honoured its commitment to install a new £35,000 playing surface in April. It has yet to be used.

Said chairman Keith Rippin: "Throughout the lockdown, we have been following government guidelines to remain closed but also keeping members informed and remaining in close touch with the governing body (EIBA) for their recommendations.

"The club has lost more than £30,000 in revenue, so it is important for members to get back to playing as soon as possible but not without taking stringent steps to mitigate any risks. To this end the club has conducted risk assessment, which will be published on the website."

He added that members will have to follow the EIBA governing body's latest guidelines, while making face coverings compulsory in the building and maintaining social distancing when registering, paying and playing.

The following regulations are set to be put in place:

* No more than 30 will be able to play at any one session.

*Members will be able to book a two-hour session in advance online, by email or by telephone ( see below) and will be allotted one of five 4-metre wide rinks of up to six players maintaining social distancing at all times. 

*There will be no block bookings of more than three players. This will give as many members as possible chance to test and feel comfortable with the new regulations.

*Players must register individually on each arrival with their name and contact details.

*Spectators and those who turn up speculatively will be allowed but must register and wear a face covering. Maximum of six in the building during sessions.

*Payment remains at £3.20 each player per session, preferably by the contactless payment system, (or by providing the correct green fee in cash).

*Bowlers must wear their own face coverings, must wash or sanitize hands at the beginning of each session. They will handle only their own bowls. Members must disinfect mats and jacks before and after each session.

*Jacks will be delivered then centred by use of the foot. Only one player per rink will touch the scoreboard (pictured left).

*Players must arrive dressed to play as per club regulations (as changing rooms will be closed apart from toilets) bring bowls shoes with them and change them in specified areas. 

*Lockers will be out of bounds after a bowler's first session after which bowlers must take their own bowls home & subsequently bring them with them when they return. 

*As soon as their game is complete bowlers should leave the premises immediately.

*Bowlers must bring their own drinks. No alcohol.

Members can make an email or telephone booking on either August 13 or 14 (Thursday/Friday). Options are: email the club ( or telephone Bob and Carol Warters 01780 721411 (between 9am - 8pm). You can leave a message with your name & telephone number and you will be re-called. From August 17, telephone bookings can be made to 01780 756452 during the trial sessions.

FOOTNOTE: Despite the Prime Minister’s statement earlier today (July 31), the EIBA advises that Indoor Bowls Clubs, if they wish, are still permitted to open.

The Government has taken the decision to postpone the next phase of activities which were scheduled to start August 1 (including tenpin bowling alleys) for at least a further two weeks. 

But that doesn't mean indoor bowls clubs. Therefore we can continue with our scheduled activities (from August 17) while maintaining systems to ensure we are COVID-19 secure.


MARK ROYAL: More tips from a top bowler

posted 21 Jul 2020, 06:35 by Stamford Indoor Bowls

Mark Royal (45) is a professional bowler from Stowmarket, Suffolk and world ranked No.12 after reaching the quarter-finals of the world indoor singles at Potters Resort in January.He is a regular visitor to Stamford IBC with his Potters Resort mobile shop.

In the second of our series, Press officer Bob Warters interviewed him for more hints and tips on adapting to different playing surfaces.

Is there an advantage or disadvantage to being a right or left-handed player?

Excuse the pun but I am perhaps biased, as a left-hander! We represent maybe as many as 15 per-cent of bowlers and can often prefer lines that right-handers can't or don't find because of the line on which the bowl starts. Of course, in contrast we might struggle on a line the right-hander might prefer.

Certainly in terms of coaching, it can be an issue, when a right-hander is helping a left-hander and vice versa.

It's certainly true that as left-handers we see different shots to a right-hander and often have a skip scratching their heads as to our decision-making. Of course, the reverse is the case, too, when a left-handed skip is directing a right-hander. In many top rinks you will often find both right and left-handers; it gives more options.

What advice can you give to adapt to different paced surfaces between indoor clubs?

Trial ends are more important than you might think. I watch the opposition closely and follow the hand (side of the rink) which they take first. It is usually their preferred side. Then I tend to take more green ( a wider arc) than might be necessary just to get a feel of any late turn a bowl might take. If it holds straight I will try to avoid that hand (side).

In my experience most home players prefer a long jack. So as an away player, I will tend to try different lengths of jack, take the mat up the green, try something different; mix it up. 

What's it like playing in front of the TV cameras, potentially in front of millions of viewers at the world championships at Potters?

I really enjoy it. It's especially great when I am playing great as I was in January, when I beat Paul Foster and only lost to Nick Brett, the eventual runner-up to Robert Paxton on a tie-break in the quarter finals. I also tend to get more support from the crowd than most as I am a local boy from Suffolk.

Some players let the atmosphere get to them, the slightest movement, someone opening a sweet paper. I try to shut out everything, the cameras, the crowd and noises, while being aware of the shot clock which allows 30 seconds from when the previous bowl comes to rest. However, I can call for one of a limited number of 'time outs' I am allowed to assess my options.

I have always admired how Nick Brett, the current world No.1, is able to re-set after a disturbance without stopping the clock. He will often put a bowl down, pick up another and re-sets into his pre-shot routine before delivering his bowl.

How important is a pre-shot routine?

For me it is vital and should become automatic for all players. I make sure the bowl is sitting comfortable in my hand, picture the shot I want to play and imagine the path it will take to my target. I step on to the mat, angle my feet to line up the initial path of the bowl and deliver smoothly down that line.

Which bowler do you most admire?

I was always a fan of Richard Corsie, a Scot who was one of the best bowlers of all time. He won the world indoor singles three times and the Commonwealth Games singles in 1994. I enjoyed the silky smooth style of his delivery and have always tried to emulate him.

NEXT TIME: We seek the benefit of Mark's experience on playing positions in a rink.

MARK ROYAL: How to choose the right bowl for you.

posted 10 Jul 2020, 14:03 by Stamford Indoor Bowls   [ updated 11 Jul 2020, 04:36 ]

Mark Royal (above) is a 45-year-old professional bowler from Stowmarket, Suffolk and world ranked No.12 after reaching the quarter-finals of the world indoor singles at Potters Resort in January.

He is a regular visitor to Stamford IBC (pictured above) with the Potters Resort mobile bowls shop.

On his most recent visit, press officer Bob Warters caught up with him to seek advice on the purchase of new bowls for our members. 

For those taking up bowls, or looking for a replacement set, is it best to buy new or second hand?

MR: I would always recommend buying new or nearly new bowls from a recommended retailer who will give good advice on the size and weight to fit your style of delivery and your hand size. 

Normally you will struggle to find the smaller sizes (00, 0, 1 or two) in a second hand purchase and you need to find the right model and size to suit you if you are going to perform with any consistency.

In my opinion, it's a mistake to buy second hand off your club noticeboard, a newspaper advertisement or e-Bay for £30 for example. Chances are they will be an old outdoor model and totally unsuitable. You will be wasting your money.

What size model do you recommend for indoor bowling?

MR: Much depends on your hand size, when gripping the bowl. You need to have total control and not have a model that is too big or heavy for your hand. Size 00, 0 or 1 are more suitable for a woman's or junior's smaller hand. Sizes then move up to 2, 3, 4 and even 5 - though the latter is the exception if you want full control.

If you want to play competitively you need to have a set of four bowls that bear a stamp with an expiry date not more than 10 years before the present day. Buying a second hand pair of bowls alone is not recommended. It will limit your competitive or even social bowling activity. 

Why does a bowl need to fit the speed or pace of the carpet you play on regularly?

MR: For indoor bowls, you will ideally want to use a make and model suitable for the pace of the carpet surface you play on most regularly.

At Stamford, for example, before the carpet was changed pre-lockdown, it was nearly 20 years old and pretty worn in places. Therefore with less friction over the surface, it was fast by modern standards because it was also stretched regularly.

On the new carpet with its new underlay, bowls will initially run a little slower over the surface than before. This means it will take slightly less time for an average delivery to reach a standard length jack because it doesn't travel as far on a narrower curve of path.

So what make and model of bowl will be suitable for Stamford's new surface?

MR: The Drakes Pride Professional model (I use size 4, heavy) will be a good all round bowl to consider or at least a bowl with a 'mid-bias' . Other examples include Thomas Taylor Ace or Henselite (Tiger 2 and Tiger Pro). A slightly wider curving bowl to the Tiger Pro is the Tiger Evo.

In my opinion the original Henselite Tiger has too much of a strong, swinging bias for indoor use, especially if you are new to the game.

If a bowl has too much of a strong bias, while it might be just about okay on, for example, a six rink indoor arena on rinks 2-5, a player will struggle on the end rinks (1 and six) because it brings the side ditches too much into play. 

Bowlers tend to feel uneasy about allowing for a bowl with a swinging bias encroaching on adjoining rinks or losing their bowl in the ditch side, especially on a full length jack.

Many new bowlers are also turning to a narrower bias bowl including the Taylor Vector VS and Lazer and Drakes Pride D-Tec and Advantage. All are quite acceptable to use for singles and as a front end player but have their limitations when you want a bowl to draw around a front bowl.

Apart from a bowls retailer, from whom should a new bowler take advice on purchases?

MR: It is important for new or inexperienced bowlers in the market for a set of bowls, to listen to patient, experienced and competitive players, many of whom understand the feel and pace of your home green and can teach you about the pitfalls to help suggest the right bowl for you.

Never be afraid to ask the advice of a respected competitive bowler at your club. Most will be able to pass on their knowledge of how different rinks at your club perform, useful tactics and what to expect when playing on different surfaces at away clubs. For tips on technique your local coaches will always be happy to help.

Next week: More tips from Mark Royal to help you with your bowling.

Federation finals postponed until April

posted 29 Jun 2020, 12:13 by Stamford Indoor Bowls   [ updated 30 Jun 2020, 03:06 ]

With the government still reluctant to give indoor bowls clubs the green light to open in the foreseeable future, the English Bowling Federation has taken the unprecedented step to delay its 2020 national indoor finals until April 2021.

For local bowlers, who qualified earlier in the year at Peterborough IBC through the Northants Bowling Federation - all of them representing outdoor clubs and most also members of Stamford IBC - it means their places in the in EBF Championship finals are secure. 

However there will be no 2021 Northants men's and women's indoor county competitions due to start in January.

Following the postponement of the finals which were due to take place at Newark IBC in April 2020, a September date had been provisionally arranged, because of the Covid-19 lockdown. 

But with the opening of indoor clubs not included in the latest round of the lifting of restrictions, the Department for Culture and Sport could not offer any guarantes as to when indoor clubs will be allowed to open, and even then social distancing regulations may still apply.

With seven Federation counties still to play their 2020 indoor finals, the EBF had no option but to delay the national championships until next April, including the Derbyshire Trophy final, in which Northants are due to play Durham.

 The National Championships of the English Indoor Bowling Association are also affected by the latest government restrictions but as yet no decision can be made on re-arrangement and they are still due to take place before the end of the year. 

FOOTNOTE: Representatives of clubs who make up the Lincolnshire IBA - including Stamford, Spalding and Grantham - are due to meet 'virtually' next week to decide how clubs can meet social distancing regulations and whether county competitions and leagues might progress.  BW


posted 23 Jun 2020, 10:14 by Stamford Indoor Bowls

The EIBA has today made the following statement:

"Following the Prime Minister’s statement earlier today on the next steps of easing the lockdown I wish to advise that unfortunately Indoor Bowls, along with other Indoor Sports and Gyms, were not included in the permitted activities. Therefore, Indoor Bowls Clubs are to remain closed. The EIBA will continue to liaise with Sport England as they work closely with the Government to ensure that Indoor sports facilities can open as soon as possible.

In addition, we will be studying the Government’s guidance, when published, relating to the new social distancing of 1 metre plus, so that we can update our ‘Returning to Indoor Bowls’ document so that Clubs can continue to make appropriate preparations for when the sport can re-commence."

At Stamford whilst we are pleased that the level of Covid 19 infections has decreased from the peak a week or so ago we presently remain closed and as above, do not know when we will be able to reopen or what we may be required to put in place in order to be able to do so.

We appreciate many people may be a little wary about returning to bowls to soon and appreciate this. We also believe that to make it easier for you to return you would wish us to take sensible precautions to protect our members.

The Directors and Management Committee are meeting virtually regularly and are considering what measures we can take to safeguard our members.

However, we would now appreciate your input into this and ask that all complete a short survey to give us your concerns views on how you feel and what concerns you may have over the measures being considered.

The survey can be completed by clicking on this link:

Sad loss of Stamford bowlers

posted 22 Jun 2020, 06:25 by Stamford Indoor Bowls   [ updated 9 Jul 2020, 10:38 ]

Stamford indoor Bowls Club is sad to report the deaths of two of its members at the weekend.

Jerry Corby, who lived in Stamford, died at his son's home in Belmesthorpe while Joy Winson (90) died in Peterborough Hospital after a fall at her home in Baston.

This follows the sad loss of John Hawkins in April who was known to many at the club.

Safety first as club awaits next stage

posted 3 Jun 2020, 13:02 by Stamford Indoor Bowls

With some easing this week of the enforced government lockdown over the Covid-19 pandemic, Stamford Indoor Bowls Club is still hopeful that at least the start of the 2020-21 season might still go ahead in September - even with a restricted format.

Much will depend on further lifting of restrictions for indoor sports and whether the demands of social distancing will make opening of the six-rink facility economically viable.

The game's governing body - the English Indoor Bowling Association - has this week published draft guidance and precautions on club opening, once government legislation is announced, which reveals limited rink availability, social distancing restricting numbers and the demands for safeguarding bowlers and volunteers. 

Says Keith Rippin, who has chaired virtual meetings with both directors and management committee: "While we would all love to get back to indoor bowling, the competition and social interaction that it brings, we will only open again once we are satisfied that not only can we can do so safely but also that it is economic to do so.

"The summer 2020 leagues may not now take place but we are still planning to run a normal winter programme and the Lincolnshire IBA is hoping to run it's normal leagues and competitions. However, a lot will depend on the progress of Covid-19, its treatment and government advice and legislation," he said.

With the 2019/20 winter leagues not completed, they will remain incomplete with neither promotions nor relegation.  Any team wishing to withdraw or enter the 2020/21 winter season should let the league secretary, John Holroyd, know by the end of June.       BW

New carpet already runs close to original speed

posted 17 May 2020, 11:38 by Stamford Indoor Bowls   [ updated 18 May 2020, 12:38 ]

Work has now been completed replacing Stamford Indoor Bowls Club's playing surface in readiness for when the sport is given the green light to start again.

And I can report that as well as its enhanced vibrant green colour, the surface is running at a pace very similar to its predecessor which was well worn over many years but subsequently one of the fastest in the county and for which Stamford was renowned.

According to installer Steve Foddering, Dales Sports' head technician, who has fitted indoor bowls carpet all over the world, including Australia, Malaysia and Hong Kong, the surface is running at 17.4 seconds, just 0.6 of a second slower over a specific 27 metre length, than the previous carpet before it was ripped up on Monday.

Having briefly delivered four bowls up and down the new surface on the distinctive rink five, I can reveal that equates to just over half a yard of pace slower over the standard distance. But Steve reckons that with regular stretching once the club is open for play again, it will quickly regain its initial speed but without the little idiosyncrasies in line for which it was renowned.

The current coronavirus pandemic led to the club's closure on March 14, preventing its 500-strong membership completing the climax to the 2019-20 season, leaving county, club and domestic matches unplayed.

Stamford IBC remains closed until government restrictions are lifted to enable indoor participants to resume play without the need for social distancing. 

The cancellation of summer indoor bowling will also enable all players to start evenly matched, learning the vagaries of the new surface, should the club re-open in time for the start of the winter programme in September.

More than 50 pieces of 1.37 metre wide underlay were used in the installation together with sixteen 4.47 metre wide lengths of tightly-woven hard-wearing green carpet.

Details of when the club will re-open will be circulated as soon as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.  BW

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