Bowls England Update on National Competitions 2021

Bowls England published this on Thursday afternoon.  I know not all our bowlers are involved in National Competitions but Bowls England have stated they will update their guidance for “bowls at grassroots level” very soon.  It will be published on here as soon as we have it.


25th March, 2021 by Matt Wordingham

Whilst 2021 will look a little different, the feedback we have received since we shared our outline plans with counties, clubs and players has been understanding and positive. There is a recognition that we have to adapt and our conversations have confirmed that we share a common goal – getting the maximum number of people participating and competing in a Covid-friendly manner. We will review the experience of competitive bowlers over the summer in any future planning.

Our work in developing the revised domestic competitions programme for 2021 took into account the following key factors:

• Covid guidelines
• Government roadmap
• Player and official safety

We also wished to ensure the greatest possible flexibility for counties and Bowls England to:

• Respond to changes (or delays) to the roadmap
• Enable additional rounds to be played in a single day if necessary

The national finals will run from Thursday 19th August to Sunday 5th September inclusive. The change for 2021 will provide additional time for the county/area qualification rounds to be completed and provide flexibility should there be any delay in the relaxation of restrictions.

The Commonwealth Games format will be utilised in all rounds of all events excluding inter-county fixtures. This will provide greater flexibility for match arrangements in the qualifying stages and enable the national finals to take place over a shorter period.

We thank all counties who provided feedback regarding the inter-county events, which whilst varied proved that there was appetite to host the events in 2021. We have developed a programme that includes provision for all inter-county competitions to be held later in the season on a knockout basis, with all rounds over the traditional 21-end format.

We are now pleased to share with you in full our plans for the 2021 domestic competitions programme:

• Summary of Events
• National Finals – Daily Schedule
• National Championship Qualifiers by County
• National Competitions – Play-by dates

• Inter-County Events – Planned Programme

We have prepared a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document to help answer some of the questions that you may have.

National Competitions
When will the draws be published?
The draws for all National Competitions will ‘go live’ by Friday 9th April in order to give participants time to organise their fixtures. Click here to view play-by dates.
Inter-County Events
What is the plan for the Middleton Cup & Johns Trophy?
We thank all counties who responded to the request for feedback, which whilst varied proved that
there was appetite to host the events in 2021 if possible. The majority of responses favoured a
knockout event utilising the traditional six rinks, and we have allocated dates for each round
accordingly. Matches will be played at a neutral venue, however to assist with match arrangements
rounds can be played on a three home/three away basis should the two participating counties
mutually agree. The semi-finals and final of the Middleton Cup and Johns Trophy will be held on
Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September respectively – venue TBC. All inter-county events will be
held over 21 ends in recognition of the increased travel time likely to be involved. We shall contact
counties w/c 29th March with further information.


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