2020 A different Sort Of Season:

Dated: 6th October 2020 - As we now start to shutdown the Bowls Club for the winter we can look back, reflect and document for club history an extraordinary year. 

February 2020:

Everything was looking good for Waterside Bowling Club, we were away in Tenerife on a bowling break where we entered a couple of teams in the Tenerife Open. Whilst a thoroughly enjoyable trip storm clouds were starting to form. Our Hotel was 5 miles down from the hotel where the first signs of Covid-19 appeared and the guests were quarantined. We carried on with our bowling with no idea what was to come. We returned to the UK and found the situation in Tenerife was becoming a lead news item. At home we still had no real idea of what was to come. We formulated and agreed the fixture list and sent it to print. Things were looking set for the new season.  

March 2020: 

The news programs were becoming ever more focused on this virus that was seemingly still at a low level and not apparently  too much to worry about. Waterside Bowlers had a weekend trip to Warners Holiday camp on the Isle of Wight in early March 2020 for an indoor tournament which we all attended. We returned on the Monday and Warners I.O.W closed in line with Government regulations. As March progressed  the situation looked increasing dire. How gratifying it was to the management committee that when members were asked to pay subscriptions to assist the club in this difficult situation with no promise of actually playing bowls, our members responded magnificently, Even some of our social/non bowling members responded with the requested  Bowling subscription/donation. It was very difficult situation for our club and all other clubs in the UK as to how we could survive if we could not operate as a bowling club. As with almost all Bowing Clubs subscriptions only pay for so much. All the other fundraising activities such as competitions, leagues and social events organised and run by clubs make the club a viable proposition. . 

April 2020:

The 2020 season looking very doubtful and all the opening games and activities had to be put hold. A small chink of hope came late April in that May might be a possibility for clubs to open in line with the Government and Bowls England regulations.  A huge amount of work had to be done by the management committee in preparation for possible June start. 

May 2020:

 As a club we were ready when the regulations were eased to allow us to open the bowls club. All the necessary documentation and signage had been completed and issued to members. We opened the bowls club to members on the 19th May 2020. It was clear in the first few days of opening how important  the Bowls club was to the members by the number of bookings phoned in. We are fortunate in that as a 12 rink club we could operate on alternate rinks allowing a good social distancing policy. Only singles initially were to be played with no marker and minimal kit. Our finances were also definitely going to be under strain as with most Bowling clubs fundraising during the season is vitally important. Our status as an umbrella entity of a group of sports who did not pay rates barred us from the £10,000 available to all sports clubs with a individual rateable value. We had to take advantage of the Sports England scheme and applied for a grant through that avenue.  

June 2020:

 Members had been taking good advantage of being allowed to play Bowls  so a controlled singles ladder was instigated and proved to be a huge success with around 200+ games being played. We are fortunate to have 12 rinks across two greens which allowed us to run a  singles competition safely on alternate rinks and in line with all Government and Bowls England guidelines. Central to our success in re-starting was the introduction of the Online Rink Booking system on mid June. This allowed the easy booking of rinks and the facility to ensure alternate rinks usage along with unecessary visits to the club. 

July 2020:

The singles ladder was nearing completion and the rules from HM Gov and Bowls England had been relaxed and a pairs league was initiated again with alternate rinks. Triples and rinks had been discarded as an option by the committee. This pairs league again proved incredibly popular. it became ever clearer that the Bowls Club like so many other clubs was incredibly  important to our members. As with almost all Bowls clubs each club is more important than just playing bowls and winning trophies nice though that is.          

August/September 2020:

I don’t think any of us thought that we would be able to run the normal Club Competitions this year with the ongoing Covid-19 situation. However thanks to the hard work of all the committee and member enthusiasm we managed to run all but one of the club competitions as we would in a normal season. The regulations had been relaxed further allowing us to open the bar, albeit a takeaway system served from the back door of the clubhouse only. The kitchen also was allowed to provide toasted sandwiches only, again served to the members away from the clubhouse kitchen. All club  buildings apart from designated helpers in both bar and kitchen had been designated as No Entry to all members, a status maintained to the seasons end. Financially the situation had improved with the award of a grant from Sports England along with limited fundraising from the now open bar and kitchen ensured we could look forward to next season where it was hoped we could return to a more normal status quo. It was incredibly satisfying to the committee that all competitions were well entered with new members and members who had not entered the competitions before. 

Finals Weekend 19th & 20th September 2020:

A really good finale to a difficult but ultimately  a very enjoyable season. All  the finals were well contested and although we cannot have a Presentation dinner until hopefully in the new year, we will make sure all finalists are recognised. 

Looking back on the 2020 season we have managed to play more Bowls than in the previous season. This has been achieved by a huge effort by our members , the management committee and careful management of 12 rinks and members utilising the greens across the whole day of available slots. Most satisfying has to be the Nil incidence of any Covid-19 issues amongst all our members. Our existing membership has remained very stable and we have managed to recruit 13 new members in the run-up to our Bowling start in June 2020 The difficulties presented in 2020 has proved what a wonderful club we have and how important it is to our members, who have responded to all that was asked of then so the club can continue with a bright future.  

Summary - Close Of 2020 Season: 

It's quite difficult to summarise a season in which we have played probably more bowls than in previous seasons there has been a strangeness to the season. Covid-19 cast a shadow over everything we have done and achieved. I know from many members comments there has been great appreciation of the work done by the management committee to enable the club to function so well during these strange times. I think it shows that the Bowls Club and many other clubs of all descriptions are incredibly important and have a really positive affect on its members. On behalf of the management committee i would thank all members who have helped us through this difficult time, Bar staff, kitchen staff, green staff and of course all the members of the management committee. Most of all though we would thank our members for remaining loyal to the club and following the rules thereby keeping us bowling and ensuring theirs and fellow bowlers safety. We look forward to welcoming back all our members next season along with those who joined us this year knowing that whatever difficulties lie in wait we as a club are up to the challenge. Your management committee will remain unchanged until elections can be notified and held , hopefully early 2021. The President and Vice President will continue in their respective roles for the 2021 season.  

Dave Rowan - Hon Secretary  - Waterside Bowls Club 

( See Competitions page and/or Finals Weekend Page for  Competitions winners/runner ups 2020 ) 

Waterside Bowling Club .

The Club is situated on the village of Holbury on the eastern side of the New Forest, approximately 11  miles south of junction 2 of the M27 on the A326 and a 40 minute drive from both Bournemouth and Portsmouth. (get directions).  

The Bowling Club is part of the Holbury Community Sports Association  and is set in some 15 acres which has large a parking area which can accommodate coaches.

The Club which has two greens and twelve rinks has played host to many visiting Clubs over the years, some local, some distant but all are assured a very warm welcome.

We are particularly popular at weekends due to the availability of our greens in relation to the Bournemouth and Portsmouth area Clubs who are perhaps tied up in league matches.  

We can therefore can offer a welcoming, convenient and friendly alternative, especially over the Bank Holiday periods. With the exception of Tuesdays and Thursdays (due to league commitments) we can offer availability on the remaining days by prior arrangement.

Please use the contact details within  our website to contact us if you would like to arrange a match or to visit us on your annual Tour.