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Hello everyone, the year 2020 has been unprecedented and one that no one could have envisaged.

Because we could not speak to you at an AGM or our usual Christmas functions, we thought it prudent to send this message to all members of Connaught Bowls Club.

Sadly, during the past year, we have lost valued members and very dear friends, unfortunately we could not say goodbye in the manner which we would have liked, but rest assured they will be sorely missed. Our sincere condolences and thoughts are with all the families and friends at this time.

When this terrible virus hit, we were in the closing stages of the short mat season which came to an abrupt halt, and as a result all external and internal leagues were cancelled. The trophies that we had bought will be held over until next year. Given that we had reached the short mat finals stage we have decided that these will be played when it is safe do so.

We had hoped that the lockdown wouldn’t last long, and that we could start the outdoor season, but unfortunately that was not to be with all external and internal leagues being cancelled. County games and the visits of touring teams also fell by the wayside.

We also had a full social program which had to be cancelled.

Despite all of this, the work party and gardeners continued to maintain the green and surrounding areas, many many thanks to them all it looks really great.

When we were eventually given the go ahead to start bowling again a small number of people got the club Covid safe, installing sanitisers, notices, and the like, our thanks go to them.

We started with roll ups on a pre-booked system, which worked very well. With bowling underway and proving to be a success, we were able to organise pairs and singles competitions which proved to be very enjoyable for both players and a limited number of spectators.

We were also able to open the bar on a number of occasions always following the safety advice from the relative organisations.

The short mat season was then upon us and we had to complete a risk assessment for the ESMBA who then granted us a safe Covid certificate which enabled us to start roll ups albeit on one mat and playing only pairs, this operating on a pre-booked system as we did outside. With this up and running and when we thought we could begin playing triples, thoughts turned to beginning the afternoon and evening leagues and also starting singles and pairs competitions, the virus had other ideas and yet again we were forced to put our plans on hold.

However we will be back ASAP and this club will survive thanks to all the members who have put in so much of their time and effort to keep it going.

Our thanks go out to each and every one of you.

In closing we would like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year and we look forward to seeing you all at the club in the very near future.

In the meantime, STAY SAFE.

Presidents Bob Oatway and Annabelle Sopp and Chairman Mick Utting

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