21/09/21  National Finals Review

This last week saw the ESMBA host the rearranged 2019-20 Nationals at Melton Mowbray. On Thursday the Singles was held. Elliott James (Yarnscombe) reached the last 16, whilst George Main (Yarnscombe) lost 5-13 to John Jeffrey (West Sussex) and Benny Bass (Uffculme) lost 9-7 to eventual winner David Newsome (North Yorkshire). On Friday the Pairs was held and saw two Devon teams qualify out of the groups and into the knock out stages. Benny Bass and Richard Williams (Uffculme/Exeter Nomads) reached the last 16 before being beaten 10-4 by  Saul Featherstone and Steve Holdsworth (Gloucestershire). James Trott and Mikey Ivings (Musbury) reached the semi finals before succumbing 9-4 to eventual winners Ryan Knight and Ollie Hipkiss (Gloucestershire).

On Saturday saw the turn of the Fours and there was one team from Devon that reached the knockout stages. The Christow quartet of Steve Collins,  Sean Woodley, Trevor Tregillus and Ava Catrell reached the last 32 where they were knocked out 9-8 by Oxfordshire. The title was eventually won by Adam Smith, Matty Wordon, Daniel Sands and Paul Clegg (Chesire). Steve, Sean and Ava returned on Sunday in the Triples where they reached the last 16 before going out 8-6 to Surrey. The Triples was eventually won by Lawrence Moffat and Lee & Bronagh Toleman (NorthYorkshire).

14/09/21 ESMBA Issue Covid Protocols For National Finals

With the 2019/20 National rescheduled finals taking place this week at Melton Mowbray the ESMBA has issued the Covid protocols that will be in place. People that have qualified or are attending the nationals are asked to read and take note of them. The Covid protocols can be found here as well as on the main ESMBA website.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all players who have qualified for the finals the best of luck!

13/09/21 Urgent Statement From The Chairman

This weekend saw an urgent email sent out to all club secretaries and read as follows:

Dear Secretary/Club Contact,

We need your help, the continuation of bowls in Devon depends now on the members, we on the Devon County committee can not continue to run the county bowls with out the following positions being filled, Safeguarding officer, secretary, competition secretary, west Devon rep, and two committee posts.

Without the county committee running your county bowls then short mat bowls will in Devon disappear for ever.

I am sure that bowlers think that everything will just happen, unfortunately that is not the case. There won’t be any league bowls, competitions or any competitive bowls that currently run under the ESMBA rules, as you will no longer be a part of the organisation.

I therefore ask that you take this to your members and ask for people to come forward and offer to help keep Devon Bowling, the present committee will help any one who is willing to take up a position on the committee.

We have a meeting on the 22nd of September to decide on Devon’s future, please please help, no volunteers then no more bowls it is that serious.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, now please take to your members and ask for help.

Rose Morrison

If you feel you a re in a position to help the County or would like to know more please contact Rose Morrison (details on the committee page or email

31/08/21 National/County Competition Forms & Latest Information

The new diary for the 2021/22 season has now been published and can be viewed on the Diary of Events page. In preparation for the new season all the registration forms have now also gone out to clubs within Devon. Finally the Devon County/National and Open competition forms are now out. They will have been sent to club secretaries/contacts and can also be downloaded here. Please note that the deadline for these entries is already fast approaching (18th September) and until the committee have a Competitions secretary in place they are to be sent to Eric Pavey for safe keeping (details on the forms)

27/08/21 Call For More Committee Members Following AGM

Last night the DCSMBA AGM took place at Christows home venue. The AGM covered the previous two season which has been ravaged by the pandemic. A new committee was selected, however there are several positions that are still unfulfilled.

The positions of County Secretary, County Competition Secretary, Safeguarding Officer and South Area Rep were left unfulfilled. It is of utmost importance that the officer positions of County Secretary and Competition secretary are filled as well as the safeguarding officer. In particular we must have a safeguarding officer in place for the new season. If you are interested about any of the positions than please do come forward and contact any committee member for more information. The new committee and their details can be found here 

We would like to offer our thanks to all departing committee members for their service and commitment. Next season registration forms should be out to clubs shortly. Details about next season which is due to start in October as well as the National and County competition entry forms will also be sent out very shortly and the competition forms will also be on the website

30/07/21 AGM Announcement

The rearranged 2020 and 2021 DCSMBA AGM has now been scheduled for 26th August at 7:30pm at Christow SMBC venue. The postcode of the venue is EX6 7NA. Please be aware that whilst moving around the venue masks are to be worn. If you intend to attend the AGM please inform Barrie Goodchild ( 07922075961), so that we know how much room we require. 

Associated documents for the AGM can be found here on the AGM Page

19/07/21 Latest ESMBA Covid-19 Statement

With the government now moving to stage 4 on their roadmap with regards to Covid- 19, the ESMBA have issued the following statement:


The latest Government guidance has removed the legal Covid requirements, but it is still their advice to follow good practices, and the ESMBA Committee would ask you to consider your own safety and that of your fellow bowlers and take a cautious approach to returning.

We can all be proud that there have been no recorded outbreaks at any Short Mat bowls club and if everyone remains sensible and respectful this can continue.

SAFE BOWLS CERTIFICATE - The ESMBA continue to strongly recommend that clubs/counties apply for the safe bowls certificate, and we will continue to offer support and guide you via our network of CSGOs with any updates received from Sport England and the Government Department DCMS. The safe bowls status covers the full protocols for covid compliancy and can be returned to in any future outbreaks, local lockdowns or circuit breaks the Government might reinstate and may enable your club to continue bowling through any future eventuality.

Clubs/Counties who have obtained Safe bowls status already have all the weapons in their armory to ensure safe play. They can now consider relaxing these protocols to return to a way of bowling which more closely resembles that of pre Covid times. Your Venue protocols, which must be adhered to, may continue to dictate some aspects of your bowling, and the ESMBA strongly recommended that you continue with the simple and safe practices you have embrace such as sanitising, keeping good attendance records and ensuring a good airflow to maintain Covid safe standards. Your CSGOs will forward the full list of minimum requirements and will liaise with you on any points of relaxation you may wish to undertake.

We would recommend for the continued safety of your members that you only visit other clubs with Safe Bowls status.

COVID AWARENESS GUIDANCE – Although the ESMBA consider it of paramount important that all clubs apply for Safe Bowls status we are mindful of the latest Government guidance and have drafted an interim checklist for those clubs/counties that are considering taking the responsibility upon themselves to return without an approved risk assessment. We consider this Covid Awareness Guidance to be the absolute minimum requirements for a return to bowls. It has been created in the form of a checklist for display at club/County so members can see what measures have been implemented. Its purpose is to highlight areas you should consider.

This Guidance should be signed by the club member taking responsibility for implementing and overseeing these changes and put on display at the venue. It should also be available for visiting teams, counties, or league representatives on request.

For all clubs we would ask, as a matter of good practice upon return, that you review and audit the information you hold on your members to ensure it is accurate and up to date, as this may play an important role should covid tracking be needed.

Additionally, we would also recommend that physical contact be avoided. Above all, as we come out of this pandemic, we would ask that you be both respectful and tolerant of your fellow bowlers. Please respect their opinions, their choices and their personal space and be supportive of those who are returning to bowls after a long absence.

Barry Hedges ESMBA Chairman on behalf of the Management Committee

The DCSMBA fully endorses the procedures and guidance laid out by the ESMBA and although many of our membership will have been double vaccinated the association feel that it is important, we move forward with the upmost care and caution with cases still rising amongst sections of the population.

The ESMBA are advising that clubs with a safe bowls status only visit clubs with safe bowls status ensuring that the approved risk assessment is as robust and secure as their own.

Please also find here the guidance for clubs in Devon with a safe bowls certificate.

Please find here the Covid awareness guidance and checklist for clubs in Devon who wish to return and do not have a safe bowls club certificate.

For any questions on the safe bowling procedures please contact Eric Pavey (DCSMBA Safeguarding Officer)

30/06/21 Latest ESMBA Guidance

The ESMBA have announced further guidance for clubs who have “safe bowls status”. The statement comes into force 1st July and can be seen below:

The ESMBA are pleased to announce further relaxations for Safe Bowls Clubs who are already fully conversant with the Covid Protocols.Compliance with the Rule of 6 must be adhered to and the distance between mats must remain at 3 metres.

    1) Safe bowls Clubs may play against other clubs with Safe Bowls Status, including entering leagues and undertaking friendly matches providing the 12-hour rule for triples is complied with. The Home teams Covid procedures must be adhered to by both teams.

    2) Measuring will be allowed providing it is conducted by 1 nominated player per mat, and any equipment compromised in the process is fully sanitised after each measure.   

    3) Scoreboards will be allowed if only 1 person is nominated to make any updates i.e., every other end. The scoreboard must be sanitised before and after use. Please ensure wipes are used for the purpose if an electric scoreboard is used – do not use spray.

    4) Club bowls can now be used by one person per session (no sharing) and they are sanitised before and after use. Social distance must be maintained when collecting club bowls from storage.

    5) Live bowls/jack in the ditch can be marked positionally in the normal manner (chalked) only by nominated bowlers, any compromised equipment must be thoroughly sanitized before starting the next end. Spray chalk must still be used to mark Touchers.

All other aspects in the Approved Risk Assessment remain in place. Club Committees and Safeguarding Officers must ensure they are aware of the changing government guidance, especially regarding any new strains or symptoms, or changes to home testing or isolation requirements.

Barry Hedges

ESMBA Chairman on behalf of the ESMBA Management Committee

11/06/21 Devon ICC Entry In 2021/22 Season

On the 8th June, the standing DCSMBA committee held a committee meeting via Microsoft teams. One of the topics for discussion was the ICC format and the county’s entry in the 2021/2022 season. The ESMBA have given a deadline of the 30th June for counties to confirm their participation. After discussions the general consensus of the standing committee was that due to extenuating circumstances Devon would not enter the ICC in the 2021/22 season.

ISCA is now under new ownership after being taken back by Exeter Council and despite trying we have had very little communication with them so far, which is a struggle when you are trying to plan next season. With many of our bowlers and clubs still not playing yet after the covid crisis it was felt that there was not enough time to recover from the crisis and hold open trials and get everything arranged. The tenure of the A team manager is also up for re-election.

The general consensus was that we should be focusing on the grass roots of bowls and supporting our clubs and leagues to get back bowling. The committee will meet again in time and we will look at arranging and holding an AGM prior to the new season starting.

10/04/21 Latest ESMBA Road Map Guidance

Following the planned lowering on restrictions within England on Monday 17th May, the ESMBA have released updated guidance on their road map which is as follows:

Following the Government’s announcement on 10th May 2021, on reducing lockdown restrictions the ESMBA announce the following guidelines for returning to bowls. Clubs will still need to achieve ‘Safe Bowls’ certification to return from 17th May 2021 via the approved route.

It is worth noting that at present there is no advice from Government as to what restrictions and what the new normal will be from 21st June 2021. So at present the ESMBA would encourage clubs to undertake the process of ‘Safe Bowls’ certificate for the safety of its members.

Clubs with ‘Safe Bowls Status’ may return to bowls from 17th May 2021.

Guidance for ‘Safe Bowls’ certified clubs (as updated weekly on the ESMBA Web Page), and their Registered Players.

  • Safe Bowls rules apply in all Club Roll Ups.

  • Move to Triples should be confirmed by request in writing to the County Safeguarding Officer who will respond in writing. Additional rules apply to Triples especially no playing of consecutive sessions.

 • Internal Club competitions may take place Singles, Pairs and Triples (if approved) however these games must adhere strictly to the ‘Rule of Six’, Players cannot change mats, Players cannot play more than the games allowed in the ‘Rule of Six’ within the time frame of 12 hours. Eg A triple can only play 1 game within 12 hours but if 6 Singles players play in a group of 6 they could play each other within the time frame. No substitutes are allowed.

 • Internal competitive games must be in addition to club roll ups not instead of. They must comply with all the Clubs approved Safe Bowls Protocols including No measuring.

 • Counties with ‘Safe Bowls Status’ for their venues will be allowed to open but must also adhere to the above.

We would remind all ‘Safe Bowls’ clubs and counties that the scheme is for affiliated members only.

Barry Hedges On behalf of the ESMBA Management Committee

10/04/21 ESMBA Events Announcement

The ESMBA have announced a brief outline of their events plan for the 201/22 season.  The statement found on the ESMBA website is as follows:

ESMBA Events Update

We recently published our approach to return to safe bowls in our roadmap. Part of that is the transition back to competitive bowls, The ESMBA along with other National Governing Bodies, where appropriate,response to the holding of competitive events is;

World Championships (Belgium March 21) - unfortunately these have had to be postponed for a second time due to COVID 19 restrictions. All being well these championships are planned to be held in Belgiumin March 22. A further update is planned after the World Bowls Council meeting on 27th March 21. The players originally selected to represent England in 2020 will be given first refusal for the 2022championships.

Inter County Championships - The counties remaining in their respective championships (semi finals) will be asked if they would like to conclude the competition to be held in September 21.It is hoped to organise an ICC event from October 21, however the format is likely to be different for this year as we ease ourselves back into regular competitive bowling.

National Championships - The finals in April 21 have been postponed with a view to rearrange for September 21. A questionnaire was issued recently aimed at registered players that qualified for the2020 National finals to gauge feelings towards playing in the finals and future Championship format. This went to County Secretaries and Competition Organisers to distribute. If you haven’t seen a copyplease speak to your County contacts. Your views are important and will help inform the ESMBA’s approach to the Championships.National Championships for the season 2021/22 are being planned however the format may well be different to take account of the likely changes to our daily lives.

TLH Top team - The event due in may has fallen foul to the COVID-19 regulations and has been postponed. The good news is the teams who have qualified will be offered their place for May 22.Alternatively people who have paid a deposit can put this towards a break with TLH when circumstances allow.

British Isles Championships - The British Isles Council met recently to discuss the forthcoming championships in November 21 releasing a statement confirming that the championships are planned togo ahead, however the timing and format may differ from the norm. A further update is planned after the Government COVID 19 update on 17th May 21.Top team event - Now planned to take place in January 22 again reliant on planned Government COVID 19 announcements.

ESMBA Diary - A draft diary is being prepared to reflect our approach to getting back to competitive bowling. A decision is still to be made whether any open competitions will be organised.In conclusion, it must be made clear this update is based on the latest COVID-19 regulations and will be updated based on any future COVID-19 announcements.

A hard copy of this statement can be found here

12/03/21 ESMBA Announce Routemap

The ESMBA have announced their latest roadmap for when the latest lockdown eases.  The statement found on the ESMBA website is as follows:


In line with the latest Government COVID Policy the ESMBA interpretation is

• Up to no earlier than 12th April 2021 short mat bowls cannot re-commence however, it is strongly recommended that clubs, county associations and leagues with central venues apply for Safe Bowls now.

• No earlier than 12th April 2021 where venues e.g. leisure facilities and community centres (not Village Halls) are open and allow indoor sports those Short Mat Bowls Clubs and County Associations that have “Safe Bowls” status can resume but must observe the condition that only one person or people from the same household can play on each mat.

• No earlier than 17th May 2021 where venues e.g. leisure facilities and community centres are open and allow indoor sports those Short Mat Bowls Clubs and County Associations that have “Safe Bowls” status can resume but must observe the condition that up to 6 bowlers from different households or members of 2 households can play on each mat.

• No earlier than 21st June 2021 it is hoped all limits on social contact are removed and short mat bowls can return to normal enabling all bowlers to make informed personal decisions about social contact. This will be reviewed when more information is received.

It must be remembered that this is only a guide and can change dependent on the latest Governments interpretation of the most recent data.

Also, to return to bowls Clubs, Leagues and County Associations must hold “Safe Bowls” status. Anyone found not adhering to ESMBA policy could face further action.

The ESMBA will continue to update everyone once more details are released for each stage.

Barry Hedges on behalf of ESMBA Management Committee "

A hard copy of this statement can be found here

04/01/21 National Lockdown

Following the government announcement which placed the whole of England into a national lockdown all Short Mat Bowls is suspended regardless of whether a bowls club has a “Safe Bowls License” or not. The national lockdown is due to last until at least the middle of February. People can only leave their home for specific reason and these can be found at

02/12/20 ESMBA Issue Tier System Statement

The ESMBA have tonight issued a statement regarding the tier system and Coronavirus. The rules for “safe bowls “certified clubs to be able to return as been tightened up even further. With Devon in tier 2 the rules may mean it is financially unviable for many “safe bowls” clubs to return. The statement is as follows:

ESMBA Coronavirus statement 1st December 2020

The ESMBA Management Committee have reviewed the current Government guidelines for the return tosport under each tier. At present the ESMBA are awaiting clarification for pairs play under Tier Two between different households/support bubbles anduntil such time as that is received the following conditions apply

Tier One – Medium Risk 

For ‘Safe Bowls’ certificated clubs that have affiliated members

Tier Two - High Risk

For ‘Safe Bowls’ certificated clubs that have affiliated members

Tier Three - Very High Risk

For ‘Safe Bowls’ certificated clubs that have affiliated members

We would remind all "Safe Bowls" clubs that it is for affiliated members only. Clubs that have failed to affiliate will have their status removed with immediate effect and are no longer authorised by the ESMBA to return to bowls under any Tier.

Barry Hedges on Behalf of the ESMBA Management Committee."

A hard copy of this statement can be found here

05/11/20 ESMBA Lockdown Statement

Following the DCSMBA news article yesterday the ESMBA have released a further statement confirming that all bowls is temporary suspended until the 2nd December. Their statement can be found here

04/11/20 Latest Lockdown Pauses Short Mat Bowls Return

Short mat bowls once again is paused tomorrow with the start of the government’s latest lockdown restrictions which is planned to last for four weeks.  The lockdown will come as a blow to the ESMBA route map which had planned to ramp up the return of bowls with  inter club activities being allowed to place in November between clubs with a safe bowls certificate.

20/10/20 Safe Bowl Status Update

Following the introduction of the Government Tier system to combat the rise in Coronavirus, the ESMBA have released the following statement

"The Government have now introduced a tier system for the Country, whilst the ESMBA await further updates from the DCMS and Sport England, the Management Committee have decided to err on the sideof caution. With effect of 17th October 2020 the rules for clubs in the following tiers are as follows:

Tier 1 Postcodes can continue as per the approved protocols.

Tier 2 Postcodes can only allow single households or social bubbles per rink mat, these members MUST NOT mix with any other individuals.

Tier 3 Postcodes Sport and physical activity can be played as per the guidance under Tier 2.These restrictions are put in place not just to protect the bowls family but the wider communities that we play and live in.

We hope that these restrictions are only temporary and as soon as we have agreed procedures in place to play again, we will update you all."

In addition to the above information, The DCSMBA would like to remind clubs that they can only return to bowling, once they have a safe bowl status which they have to apply for. More information can be found here

13/10/20 Safe Bowl Status and Affiliation

The County Safeguarding Officer Eric Pavey would like to remind clubs that Safe bowl status and affiliation go hand in hand.It is only clubs that are affiliated to the ESMBA via Devon County who can apply for safe bowl status. In addition we would like to remind club secretaries that Affiliations/registrations for the coming season are now due. For further information on Registrations please contact County Secretary Barrie Goodchild

26/09/20 ESMBA Release Further Guidance Following Government Rule Changes

Following the Governments recent amendments to the coronavirus rules relating to ‘The rule of 6’, The ESMBA issue the following guidance on its safe bowls certificate.

Clubs with “Safe Bowls” status and operating on ONE MAT will be permitted to continue as their approved documentation.

Clubs with “Safe Bowls” status on MULTIPLE MATS will be permitted to continue but with additional conditions. The prime consideration is that each mat is classed as an individual group, each group MUST NOT have ANY interaction of any kind with any other and must always strictly maintain 2m social distance.

As you can imagine this will have to be strictly managed and additional restrictions will have to be adhered to, detailed guidelines will be issued to Safe Clubs via the safeguarding officers.

ONLY CLUBS affiliated with the ESMBA and having achieved “Safe Bowls” status can operate within the Government guidelines. Clubs not complying with affiliation or “Safe Bowls’ status will be classed as a social gathering thusbowling illegally. The ESMBA will take disciplinary action against members that return to bowls without “Safe Bowls” status.

Furthermore, as per the ESMBA Route Map, the ESMBA will allow clubs with ‘Safe Bowls’ status to move to triples per mat group if space permits. Additional guidance on the specifics of this and the authorisation process will beissued by the county safeguarding officers. It is important that clubs proceed to triples only after completing at least 2 session of pairs.

We again remind the members that the ESMBA Emergency Fund is available for members to apply for. The first round of applications closes on the 30th September 2020.

The Government recognise the importance of members being affiliated to National Governing Bodies, and that these bodies are best placed to manage and monitor the protocols of safe return to sport. As such they only recognisethose clubs that have achieved the NGB Published guidance and protocols.

It is important to point out that many hours have been put into the ESMBA “Safe Bowls” scheme and that all applications are judged on the same process and protocols. The ESMBA Risk Assessment template must becompleted in detail and although reference can be made to the supporting documents, the statement in them must be written on the Risk Assessment.

Barry Hedges

ESMBA Chairman On behalf of the ESMBA management committee

A hard copy of this statement can also be found on the ESMBA website here

17/08/20 ESMBA Publish Return To Short Mat Bowls Roadmap & Action Plan

The ESMBA have now announced that the Road map for the return of Short Mat bowls has been approved by the department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. Short mat bowls has been given the green light to start resuming in some form from September. However, there is to be strict adherence to Covid-19 compliance rules. These are laid out further below.

Before clubs can resume, they must liaise with the county Safeguarding Officer (Eric Pavey: if they wish to proceed with an application to start bowling. Clubs will need to sign a declaration  that all the compliance guidelines are met and once it has been confirmed that they have been met a license for that club will be issued to show the club has approved safe bowls status.

Below is a brief outline of the road map:

1. All International matches will be cancelled until March 2021 (re arranged World Championships)

2. The diary will be clear of England days and games (to enable Counties to use these later in the year when safe to do so).

3. The ESMBA National Championships 2019/20 will be postponed until April 2021. There will be no qualifiers for the Main Nationals this season.

4. (September 2020) Clubs will be able to open for social roll ups, maximum four per mat providing they have met the criteria laid down by the ESMBA, and approved to do so.

 5. (October 2020) Clubs will be able to increase their participation from four to six per mat, if they can comply with the then social distance guidance.

 6. (November 2020) Inter club activities will be permitted. (guidelines will be issued nearer the time).

 7. (December 2020) County Open competitions will be permitted (guidelines will be issued nearer the time).

8. (January 2021) The ESMBA will look to run knock out and open Competition based at Club level.

 9. (January/February 2021) Counties will be able to run National Over 55s and Mixed Fours qualifiers.

 10. The ESMBA membership will remain due for the Association. There will be a reduced playing diary at National level but the Administration of the Association will remain the same. Both the ESMBA and County Associations will be there for the support of their members. The Personal Accident insurance will still cover personal Accidents whilst playing and in official capacity of Short Mat Bowls.

11. The ESMBA is to allocate a large proportion of the coming seasons membership fee to a Covid19 fund and invite applicants to apply for funding to ensure their clubs are compliant and remain active. (Details below).

Full details of the ESMBA COVID-19 Action plan, Compliance checklist, Risk assessments and the associated documents can be found below:

Reminder: All the relevant documents must be approved by the club Safeguarding officer and counter signed by the County Safeguarding officer (Eric Pavey: before a license is issued.

In addition the ESMBA have announced and produced guidance on the ESMBA Community Emergency fund which has been set up to aid clubs for the extra expense incurred in plating bowls in this Covid-19 world. The aim of the fund is to sustain and grow registered bowlers. The fund will help fund the following:

a)Expenses essential to the maintain the operational viability of the organisation in playing short mat bowls such as the hire cost of extra sessions to enable all members to participate, hygiene essentials, and bowls lifters 

b) Activities to kickstart short mat bowls in your local area for example advertising costs and if practical open sessions

c) A contribution to your local club, league or County Association membership fee. To be eligible you must be able to demonstrate that your ESMBA registered player numbers are at least maintained at the 2019/20 level. This would be measured after the deadline for registrations i.e. end of November. This is likely to be in the second phase of funding based on the measurement point

d) Other ideas and expenses that are as a result of the Covid pandemic e.g. completion of a risk assessment.

More information on this fund can be found on the link below:

21/07/20 ESMBA New Statement Confirms Clubs Remain Closed Until Guidance Is Approved

The ESMBA have made the following statement regarding the starting of Short mat Bowls

“Following a meeting of the Management Committee this weekend, a ‘Route Map’ to bowling again and the basis of our guidance notes was agreed. These documents are being updated and prepared for sending to Sport England for approval as per Government guidelines. It is hoped that these will be sent over in the next week.

Until such time as these documents are approved and the Government give us the consent to start bowling again. The recommendation to clubs and association is to remain closed for the safety of its members. The ESMBA does not support clubs resuming at this time.

Once these documents are approved they will be uploaded to the ESMBA Web site with full instructions of how to progress with getting your club Covid-19 safe and approved for opening again.

Barry Hedges

 ESMBA Chairman on behalf of the ESMBA Management Committee”

A hard copy of this statement can be found here.

The DCSMBA support the ESMBA and would like to emphasise that Short Mat Bowls clubs throughout the County should remain closed until a roadmap and guidelines have been approved, published and followed.

01/07/20 Latest ESMBA Statement Regarding Covid 19

The ESMBA have issued the following statement with regards to the continuing Coronavirus outbreak

Dear County Secretary, Back in March when the decision was taken to postpone events due to the Coronavirus outbreak, no one imagined four months on our lives would still be so affected by it.

 The Government is slowly allowing activities to start again, albeit with restrictions. But indoor activities like Short Mat Bowls are still being advised to stay closed as are many of the venues we all use. As such the ESMBA strongly recommends that all its Counties and clubs follow this until it is safe to do so and remain closed.

01/07/20 Latest ESMBA Statement Regarding Covid 19

The ESMBA have issued the following statement with regards to the continuing Coronavirus outbreak

Dear County Secretary, Back in March when the decision was taken to postpone events due to the Coronavirus outbreak, no one imagined four months on our lives would still be so affected by it.

 The Government is slowly allowing activities to start again, albeit with restrictions. But indoor activities like Short Mat Bowls are still being advised to stay closed as are many of the venues we all use. As such the ESMBA strongly recommends that all its Counties and clubs follow this until it is safe to do so and remain closed.

The ESMBA is having ongoing conversations with its various partners and venues to try and find a safe way to start playing again in line with Government guidelines. We can now see that with the cap on the number of competitors within a confined space, that National and County events will struggle to happen at least in the next couple of months. It is expected that there will now be a gradual restarting of our sport, likely to be around September/October with clubs going back to practice before leagues, county and National events start to happen.

 The ESMBA management committee are looking at possible guidance for clubs and then Counties but are waiting for Government information to be issued, so that we are in line with these. We understand it is going to be a very difficult time for members to continue so the ESMBA are looking at ways to help both professionally and financially to its members via its County set up. We are also looking at the diary ahead and areas where changes can be made to allow for a later or reduced start to the season. Information will follow as details are confirmed.

This is a first in all our lifetimes and has been a very testing time for many of us. Hard mentally for many of our members that rely on our sport for social interaction. But after making such a sacrifice with social distancing and shielding as we have so far, we owe it to ourselves and others not to rush back now. The positive selling points of portability and relatively small space required to play Short Mat Bowls, together with the Government guidelines make the situation of managing a safe return very complex.

Barry Hedges ESMBA Chairman on behalf of the ESMBA Management Committee.

A hard copy of this statement can be found here

26/06/20 DCSMBA Statement Regarding Registrations

We have been informed by James Smith the ESMBA Registration Secretary that the ESMBA are currently holding off sending out registrations for the coming season. At present government guidelines do not allow for the return of Short mat bowls. Once it becomes clearer and it is known when the new season will start the ESMBA will provide us with more information

19/05/20 Coach Bowls Launch Online Adult Safeguarding In Bowls Course

Coach Bowls have launched a new online Adult safeguarding in Bowls course. The sessions are priced at £25 each and there are several dates at the end of May and throughout June.  A flyer has been produced by Coach Bowls with more details and can this be found here. Spaces for these courses are limited and can be booked on the Coach Bowls website

19/03/20 ESMBA Rearrangement Of Nationals & ICC

The ESMBA have issued the following statement with regards to the rescheduling of the Nationals and the ICC Semi Finals and Finals.

Following the decision to postpone all events due to COVID-19. The ESMBA have explored the various possibilities to re arrange these games. To prevent major disruption to the County diaries, it has been felt best to use the ESMBA allocated weekends. So, re arranged dates are as follows:

The National Finals will now be played on the 3rd/4th/5th/6th September 2020 at Melton Mowbray IBC.

The ICC Semi Finals will be played on 12th September 2020 at Melton IBC and one other to be confirmed. The ICC Secretary will be in direct contact with Counties involved as to their playing venues.

The ICC Final will be played on Sunday 13th September 2020 at Melton IBC.

We understand that playing a Semi Final and Final of a County Championship on the same weekend is not ideal but unless we start playing in the summer months or rearranging an already congested diary to accommodate it with major disruption there is no other alternative. Most of the budget hotel chains offer rooms that you can cancel up to 4pm, so there are accommodation options available for these wanting to prepare to stay over.

The majority of the hotel chains have amended their cancellation policies, and most should have no problem changing or refunding their dates.

We are currently looking at possible dates for the U18s National Finals and England Trials, and will update you all shortly.

AGM paperwork is not due to be distributed until 1st June 2020, so a decision on the July AGM will be taken mid May, when hopefully we will have a better understanding of things.

Barry Hedges ESMBA Chairman

A hard copy of this statement can be found here.


16/03/20 DCSMBA Statement

Tonight the DCSMBA would like to make the following statement.

Following the advice from the ESMBA and the current government recommendations with regards to the Coronavirus, the Devon County Association is postponing all county events for the immediate future, this in the short term effects the County 5’s which is now suspended.

In addition the association is recommending that short mat bowls at all levels within Devon is suspended until further notice. This decision is obviously not made lightly however the safety of our members are at the forefront of our minds.

Our members are advised to follow governmental and NHS advice which can be found at

A further announcement will be made with regards to the AGM once known.

A hard copy of this statement can be found here.

13/03/20 Coronavirus Statement

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the ESMBA have made a further statement to the one that was posted earlier this month. It states:

"Dear County Secretaries Based on UK Government policy and NHS guidance the ESMBA Management Committee has decided to postpone all forthcoming events until further notice starting with the ICC semi finals on 14/15 March.

The ESMBA Management Committee has also taken into account the ageing player population and that the events will be held indoors in a close defined area. The current thinking is to re-arrange the diary for September 2020 and play the ICC and National Championships in the first two weeks of September.

The ESMBA Management Committee is also advising County Associations to postpone events where numbers exceed 100 attendees.

Barry Hedges ESMBA Chairman"

A hard copy of this statement can be found here

We would like to reiterate to our players that the National championships have been postponed and once we have more information this will be passed onto players. In addition we would like clubs to take note of the advise on postponing events and tournaments where numbers exceed 100 attendees.

The 2020/21 diary is being worked on but with this announcement, the fact that this is an ever changing situation and the ESMBA diary will be changing, the announcement of the DCSMBA diary will  be made when the situation is clearer.

09/03/20 National Mixed Fours & National Over 55 Pairs Review

It was disappointment for all the Devon teams at this weekend’s national events. On the Saturday the National Mixed Fours took place with Devon having 4 teams involved. Unfortunately, Musbury (Kirsty Jordan, Michael Ivings & Emma & James Trott) and Sidbury (Carol Osbourne, Kim Wright, Colin Palmer & Eric Pavey) both failed to get out of the group stage. In the first knock out round Wonford (Maggie Smith, Adam Perris, John & Shirley Parnell) were knocked out by Hertfordshire. The remaining rink (Pam & Marie Toleman, Richard Williams & Nick Wyatt) made it to the quarter finals before being knocked out by Avon. The National Mixed Fours was won by Herefordshire who Beat North Yorkshire in the final.

The National Pairs on the Sunday was equally disappointing. Both Hilary Iley & Robert Ivings (Exeter Nomads) and Brian & Elaine Clemants (Great Torrignton) both failed to get out of the group stage. The remaining Devon pair of Graham James and Lorraine Axtell (Winkleigh) made it to the first knockout stage before being knocked out 10-5 by Cornwall The National Over 55’s was won by  Northamptonshire who beat Hampshire 8-6 in the final.

04/03/20 National Clothing Reminder & Preview

With this seasons National Championships starting this weekend with the Mixed Fours and Over 55 Pairs, the ESMBA have released a statement regarding clothing.

"The ESMBA Dress Code is in force at all stages of the National Championships. In the pairs, triples, fours, Over 55s and mixed fours must be dressed in the same attire.
 Men • White shirt with collar, county or club tops or matching polo shirt, MID GREY or Black trousers will be permitted. All players must wear the same colour (no jeans or combats)
 Women • White blouse with collar, county or club tops or matching polo shirt,• MID GREY or Black skirts not split above the knee, crop or tailored trousers will be permitted. All players must wear the same colour (no jeans or combats)
 Footwear • Only footwear manufactured by recognised bowls manufacturers must be worn on the mat and they must be changed into at the venue
 Club Colours • Shirts, blouses and polo shirts may be in club, league or county colours – England shirts may not be worn. • No names, initials or logos will be permitted on the back of any garment, unless previously approved by the ESMBA • Any names, initials or logos must be in keeping with the size of the ESMBA logo and no bigger than the breast pocket on a shirt, unless previously approved by the ESMBA • In disciplines with more than one player, ALL players must be dressed in the same Colours

Please be aware that non-compliance with the Dress Code may result in the offending player being asked to leave the bowling mat"

A hard copy of this statement can be found here

As previously stated the Nationals start this weekend with the National Mixed Fours on Saturday and the National Over 55 Pairs on Sunday before concluding with the remaining events in April. A list of teams from Devon in these events can be found here

03/03/20 Coronavirus Statement

Following the spread of the Coronavirus, the ESMBA have issued the following statement.

"3rd March 2020 ESMBA and Coronavirus – Please read and be aware of your responsibilities.
The ESMBA is about to enter into its busiest time of the season, with multiple events where members throughout the Country will travel and meet for the game of bowls.
This period of time is when the Country and the World are facing probably the Virus of a generation. COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is affecting many people throughout the World. It will no doubt at some stage touch someone we know or within the Bowls family.
The ESMBA has a duty of care to its members and we take this very seriously. We therefore will be supporting and following the guidelines as laid out by Public Health England. These will obviously be changing as the national situation changes and we will monitor these closely.
At present advice is to take basic hygiene measures, individuals should be washing their hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap on a regular basis. To cough and sneeze into a tissue and dispose of it, if a tissue is not available, the crook of your arm should be used. Many people also feel safer wearing face masks and avoiding personal contact (like shaking hands), so please at this time don’t be offended by this. Individuals are only trying to protect themselves and others from the spread of the virus but to continue with a normal daily life
If you have been in contact with someone that is suspected of having the virus or have travelled from one of the listed affected areas in the last 14 days, then you should be self-isolating for a period of 14 days. Please see the following link for areas affected
The ESMBA must insist that for the protection and precaution of all its members that the Public Health England guidelines are followed. If anyone has been in contact with or travelled back to the UK in the last 14 days please email so we can make the necessary arrangements for replacements.
There will be no repercussions for anyone withdrawing from events due to COVID-19, but individuals that knowingly break Public Health England Guidelines and risk others safety may face disciplinary action.
The ESMBA Management Committee appreciate your cooperation in this matter.
Barry Hedges  on behalf of ESMBA Management Committee"

A hard copy of this statement can be found on the ESMBA site here

02/03/20 Devon v West Midlands Review

The Devon Premier team travelled to Solihull on Sunday where they took on the West Midlands in the ICC Quarter finals. Devon started off very slowly in the first session and were beaten on all four mats in the first session. Devon were better in the second session where Devon won of of the Triples and one of the Fours but lost on the other two mats. This meant a Devon trailer 12-4 at the half way stage.

The third session was again dominated by the West Midlands with Devon only picking up a win on one of the Pairs matches. However due to the  West Midlands dominance they secure the bonus points in both the Singles and Pairs. The last session saw Devon again struggle and they only won one of the Fours losing on all the other mats. With Devon only winning the bonus points in the Fours the final score was West Midlands 30 Devon 10.

27/02/20 Devon  v West Midlands Preview