June 2020Volume 4, Number 7



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The Impact of Covid-19 On The 2020 Lawn Bowling Season

Wayne Daley - Editor


We have all felt of the sting of Covid-19. Some of us have felt that sting more than others. In a normal season we would have our clubs open and our greens in good bowling shape. We would already have been out to practice. Our game would be back where we want it after the long, winter layoff. We might even have had a tournament or two. Not this year.

This year we have an illness that is stalking the land. It is highly contagious and has been termed ‘novel’ by some. This is not a Spring cold or a form in influenza. This is something we have never seen before. It is being felt in all corners of the globe and has killed hundreds of thousands of people. In a situation like this what are those responsible for our safety to do but try to protect us from the sting of the virus.

As with the other provinces across Canada, the Ontario government has laid down some stringent Emergency provisions to try to limit the spreading of the virus from one person to another. For that we have the social distancing provision, and the requirement to cough into your elbow or into a Kleenex. We have the wearing of masks provision to protect each other. We have the provision of washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. Mostly, we have the provision of not gathering in large numbers. In fact, gatherings should not be more than five. That provision alone has almost killed the social sport of lawn bowls.

However, we are not dead yet.

Bowls Canada Boulingrin is, as you know, our national authority for lawn bowling. When it became obvious how wide the spread of the Corona Virus was and how long it could last, BCB went to work to develop a response. The purpose of this response was two-fold. The first is to protect the average bowler from catching the virus. The highly contagious nature of the virus and its effect, particularly, on senior citizens was incentive enough for BCB to produce a particularly good response.

The second purpose of the response was to protect the National and Provincial organizations, individual clubs, and its players from the legal implications of the unintended spread of the virus.

The protocol limits the number of people in the club. The Ontario Government sets that limit at gatherings of not more than five in the first phase of the emergency response. In the next phase that limit increases to not more than ten people. The protocols also suggest that clubhouse facilities not be used, that general use equipment such as rakes, or mats not be used, and that sports equipment not be shared. It also stipulates that equipment used in the sport such as jacks and club bowls and lifters be disinfected by washing both before and after use. All of this is to limit the spread of the virus as much as humanly possible.

BCB has helped us out with three documents. There is a declaration document that must be signed each time a bowler comes to the club to play. The declaration identifies the individual and what exposure he or she has had to the virus. In this way the club knows who has been at the club and when. There are also waivers that must be signed when the season starts, and which will stay in effect through the season. These are legal documents and will protect the individual, the club, and the organization in the event of legal challenges.

Have you seen the material produced by BCB? If not, you can go to the OLBA website and finds a link that will bring you to the five documents you need to look at.

You will also see that the return to play is in four phases. Phase 1 is for those who wish to practise. Phase 2 allows for some competitive games but is only used in those areas where the risk of contracting the disease has been reduced. Nothing has yet been planned for the instigation of phases 3 and 4, but you can be sure that those phases will not be used until the threat of the Corona Virus has disappeared.

The impact of Covid-19 on the 2020 Lawn Bowling season is clear. It has taken a good deal of the fun out of the sport for this year. However, we can see it through if we play it safe and are kind to each other. Let us try and make it work.


Bowls Canada Releases Phase 2 of Return to Play Framework

Ottawa (ON) | May 29, 2020


As restrictions begin to lift in various provinces across Canada, bowls clubs will be turning their attention to how they might continue to return to play. Every province is at a different state of readiness and will have different guidelines or requirements from their local health authority. Phase 2 of the Return to Play Framework offers some suggestions on how clubs may be able to begin to return to modified games while still adhering to health and safety precautions.


“Although the Phase 2 protocol is now available, I can’t emphasize enough that clubs take the time to work slowly through the phases at their own pace,” said Bowls Canada Executive Director Anna Mees. “We know that clubs are all at different stages of readiness to implement these safety protocols. Each club must be confident in their ability to offer a safe environment and that their members have been educated on the how’s and the why’s of the Return to Plan protocols.”


The Return to Play Framework in its entirety represents a national standard by which bowls clubs across the country may consider reopening their doors. While each local and provincial public health authority will have specific standards that must also be followed, clubs will want to assure their insurance providers that they are implementing the recommended standards by their national governing sport body.


In addition to implementing scheduling, sanitization and movement flow protocols onsite, club directors across the country will also want to pay particular attention to the increased needs for documentation. Daily waivers, declaration forms and acknowledgement of risk prior to play are fast becoming the new norms in this current environment. Documentation on when people arrive and when they leave, as well as proof that you are following your protocols (such as who cleaned an area, when it was cleaned, how it was cleaned, etc.), will prove critical should someone from your club test positive for COVID-19. This documentation will be the first thing asked for by public health authorities and your insurance provider. To help ease this burden, Bowls Canada is currently working on template forms that clubs will be able to adapt for their own use.


“The Return to Play Framework may seem complicated, but that is because COVID-19 is complicated. If Italy and the UK are any indication, 80% of people who die from COVID-19 are over the age of 70, which puts our bowling members at a much higher risk than the rest of the population”, said Ian Howard, President of Bowls Canada. “Clubs in Canada must be confident in their abilities to implement and maintain return to play protocols to ensure the safety and well-being of their members.”


Each club will need to assess the risk in their respective areas and evaluate whether or not they are able to open. Some clubs may feel that given their circumstances, the risk may be simply too great to allow members to return to play at this time. Bowls Canada has prepared a checklist tool to help clubs assess their ability to implement the Return to Play protocols and create a plan to return to play. This checklist is available through provincial bowls associations.


Says Mees, “While many bowlers in Canada are eager to get back on the greens, the reality is that it may not be in everyone’s best interest to do so just yet. We are cautioning clubs that slow and steady wins the race here. We want to make sure that all of our bowlers are able to enjoy the game safely.”


If your club is ready for Phase 2 of the Return to Play Framework, you can access it here. The remaining phases will be released in the future as plans across the country continue to evolve.

For more information, please contact:Anna Mees, Executive Director, Bowls Canada Boulingrinamees@bowlscanada.com


So, You Want Get Out and Practise, Do You?

Wayne Daley, Editor

So, you want to get out and practise, do you? That is a worthwhile endeavour. Of course, you will need to make a reservation at your club. What with the Corona Virus, there is a limit on the number of people allowed on the greens. You do not want to arrive there unannounced to find that the limit has already been reached.

You will enjoy the game more if you get out at the beginning of the season to rebuild your muscle memory and re-establish your sense of direction. Here are some tips you might be able to use.

Dave Burrows, OLBA Board Member

Individual practice is always helpful to get your game back into shape. A typical practice is usually practicing the easy shots first (4 forehands & then 4 backhands to a specific length (perhaps begin with 90 feet and then work backward and forward.


Then perhaps a drill, where you try to lengthen each bowl by as little as you can, and then shorten it as little as you can.


If the green speed permits, perhaps try to play to the ditch board without going in. If the greens are still too slow, you can still try this by placing a mat up at the hog line.


Then play bowls as close to the jack as possible. Count 1 point within a meter, 2 points within a foot.


This should tire you out within an hour at the most. If you do not want to sanitize the mat each time, and your club allows it, just bring your own towel, which you can take home after you finish.


Lachlan Tighe, Gold Medal Australian Coach

“Winning Becomes You in Lawn Bowls” by Lachlan Tighe

Elite bowlers are consistently better than the average bowler because they have a heightened level of visualization ability. The acquire this through a pre-delivery routine, which is a constant mental and physical preparation before the execution of a delivery. Here are some things you may consider in a routine:

  • Standing behind the mat loosen your body, clear your mind and begin to plan your shot.
  • Project a line from a chosen bank mark at the far end of the rink.
  • Visualize the turn of your bowl to the jack.
  • Recall the flight path of your bowl.
  • Take one step onto the mat with your right foot aligned to the middle mat line and your left foot slightly in front of the right. Aim both feet out along the draw line.
  • Use your cloth to rub the bowl and then move it from your left hand to your right hand, checking the bias and ensuring it is correctly gripped.
  • Decide on the weight and pendulum height for this delivery.
  • Breathe easily.
  • Execute a slow, easy delivery.
  • Bend your knees to ensure you take your body low and through.
  • Deliver the bowl with the focus of eyes, mind, and body on that ‘spot’.
  • Know how many seconds it takes to do your routine.
  • Follow this routine every time you execute a shot.


Setting up a practise routine like this at the beginning of the season is a great idea. But the routine should be something to continue doing throughout the season. You should try to get in a practise session at least once a week or oftener. Do not rely on tournaments, in club or away, to take the place of your practise routine. Keep your game sharp. You will have more fun when it is game time.


New Horizons Grant Timing

Ralph Ellis 

The Ministry of Seniors to my enquiry regarding New Horizons grant application timing.

Key Points

The call for applications for the New Horizons program up to $25,000 will occur later this year but the timing has not been determined.

I will keep watching the New Horizons page on a daily basis for an announcement.

Anyone who was turned down for a grant this year is being invited to apply for a New Horizons program to support Seniors during Covid-19. If you have not received this invitation, contact New Horizons for Seniors Program, PO Box 538, Station Don Mills, North York ON M3C 0N9, by calling, toll-free, 1-866-945-7342, or by emailingON-PD-EP-NHSP-PNHA-GD@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

Items that you could apply for would be - signage for your club related to Covid-19, PPE, cleaning materials, video conferencing expenses, and costs related to educating your members about the return to play.

The deadline for this is June 15. You do not have to do a full application at first. You answer a series of questions and the ministry will select interesting proposals for a full application.

Move quickly.

Ralph Ellis



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OLBA Town Hall on Return to Play


When We Move to Phase 2 --- Now What?

Wayne Daley - Editor

All clubs in Ontario are starting with the Phase 1 Protocols. This gives your members time to get used to the new practices that are designed to prevent disease transmission. The OLBA board will announce when our clubs are moving to Phase 2.

As the corona virus emergency restrictions are gradually being lifted lawn bowling clubs in Ontario will move to Phase 2 of the BCB protocol for Return to Play. This is the phase in which we can back to competitive bowling. But in terms of the fight against the corona virus, what does this change mean?

The first thing it means is that we are not in the summer of 2019 again. It is still the year 2020 and we are in a new world as far as our lawn bowling season is concerned. The corona virus is still amongst us either to a large or small extent.

The second thing it means is that many of the restrictions that have been keeping us safe and healthy are still in place and must be followed. That means that social distancing must be observed; personal hygiene such as the frequent washing of hands must be done; and we must protect others when we cough by covering our mouths. We may even need to wear a mask.

Both the national Board and our provincial Board have one purpose in the face of this emergency. Both want to ensure that no lawn bowler in Ontario gets ill with Covis-19 while lawn bowling. To do that every single lawn bowler must take on the responsibility to follow the rules laid down to keep him or her safe and healthy.

In Phase 2 we can begin to go back to competitive bowling, which is something we all enjoy. However, we must still do those things listed in the BCB protocol designed to keep us safe.

The number of people on a green is limited to ten. Later, if the number of new cases continues to drop in Ontario this number could be increased to thirty. Still, there is a limit on the number of people on club grounds either engaged in playing the sport or in assisting those who are playing the sport. Any additional people who arrive at the club should then be turned away. Of course, spectators inside or outside the fence should be asked to leave. A system of reservations would seem appropriate. Clubs should look at creating either a Public Google Calendar or use a system like SignUpGenius.com.

There are a number of other regulations which continue to be useful such as the closing of the clubhouse and its facilities, that there be only two people on a rink and each must maintain social distancing, that each rink in use must have unused rinks on either side, that some equipment such as rakes and mats not be used because of the difficulty of disinfecting them, that there be no sharing of equipment, and that each piece of equipment used be disinfected before and after use. This last stipulation can be handled readily with a bucket of soapy water for washing and a supply of paper towels to be discarded for drying. These and other regulations are meant to do only one thing and that is to keep a very contagious virus at bay. These regulations are not a welcome addition to our sport. However, each bowler should accept and follow the regulations or other club members may not be safe. Still, as the fight against the virus continues and the virus begins to disappear, we may be able to eventually discard some of these regulations.

Besides making full and continuous use of the regulations designed to keep the virus as bay, each bowler, each club, the provincial authorities, and the national authorities have a legal responsibility to do whatever is necessary to keep lawn bowling facilities virus free. Not to do so may involve court action and legal consequences.

Three documents have been developed to protect both the clubs, the provincial and national authorities. There are two waivers that must be signed at the beginning of the season and a declaration that must be read, understood, and signed each time a member visits a club. The declaration may be digitally signed online, or club members can print the declaration and bring it with them to the green. This will help avoid transmission. The waivers define the responsibilities of the authorities in the sport and those engaged in it. The declaration will serve two purposes. In the first place it will ensure that each club member knows the risks involved in the corona virus and says that the risks are acceptable. Secondly, it will assist in the tracing activity that would follow if one or more club members become ill while at the club. Currently, there is no effective tracking app for smartphones outside of Alberta. Individuals will initially need to personally track their movements and contacts.

BCB has come out with five documents, which have been approved by OLBA for our use. Copies of these documents are available on the OLBA web site for clubs and bowlers to download. These documents are well worth reading.

One of the BCB documents is of importance as we move to Phase 2. That document describes a series of games we can play allowing us to be competitive while still staying within the regulations. The games look to be challenging and enjoyable. The selection is broad. If one game does not appeal there is another one to try. Each bowler taking part will need all the skills that he or she has developed. It seems we can have some fun even while we continue our efforts to reduce the impact of the corona virus.

Even as we move into Phase 2 of our Return to Play protocol each of us must do what we can to keep ourselves safe, to be kind to one another, and to stay healthy. It is a team effort. Let’s get with the team.


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Letters to the Editor:


Comments and questions are welcome. (ellis@OLBA.ca and daley@olba.ca)


Disclaimer:The information and articles provided in this email represent the opinions of the articles author and should not be considered as endorsed by or policy of the Ontario Lawn Bowls Association OR it's Directors.

Ontario Lawn Bowling Assoc.

Box 1093
Tilbury, ON ​Canada
N0P 2L0​

​John Fantin

Susan Newsham

Steve Schuknecht
​Director at Large

James Rimmer
​Director at Large

Charles Roach
​Director at Large

Nan Hendren
​Director at Large



Phillip Francis

Ralph Ellis
​Vice President, 

Dave Burrows
​Director at Large

Wayne Daley
​Director at Large

Jason Currie
​Director at Large

Mary Lou Richards
​Director at Large