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Sutherland bowling clubs will not open this weekend

By Will Clark

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Golspie Bowling Club doors remain shut.
Golspie Bowling Club doors remain shut.

BOWLING clubs in Sutherland will not be opening up their greens this weekend, despite the Scottish Government being expected to lift some restrictions on the sport being played.

Brora, Dornoch and Golspie have all confirmed they will remain closed on public health grounds.

The Scottish Government was set to announce an extension to public health exercise guidelines yesterday, which allows certain sports like bowls, golf, tennis and golf to get back under way, albeit with strict social distancing and hygiene measures in place.

But bowling clubs in Sutherland have said they will remain closed until at least phase two is implemented across the country.

Golspie Bowling Club vice chairman Dylan Murray confirmed the club will remain closed and will inform members if the situation changes.

“We’re not opening as a result of the committee’s decision as we have elderly players and the regulations say there could only be six to 10 players playing,” he said.

“We did not think it would be worth it at this moment in time. We will wait for phase two to be implemented and more restrictions could be lifted so we can get further on.

“The clubhouse isn’t allowed to be opened and we were concerned with issues such as toilet facilities.

“The guidelines only allows four players for each rink and you are only allowed to use three rinks at a time.”

Dornoch Bowling Club president John Bonthrone says that their club have taken a similar stance following guidance from Bowls Scotland.

“Regulations include mats and jacks being disinfected and we have to social distance only using three rinks at a time,” he said. “We can’t organise competitions and only allow local players.

“The advice is also for players over the age of 70 to still stay at home and we have a few players over that age.

“Our clubhouse and toilets are closed and our players can’t use pushers.

“We are not opening the bowling greens until we get further information from the government on how things can be worked better after lockdown.”

Brora Bowling Club have also said they will stay closed until at least the Scottish Government implements phase two after lockdown.

A club spokesman said: “Having reviewed the guidelines for getting back on the green to play bowls, the committee have taken the decision to keep the green and clubhouse closed until further notice.

“We feel the health of members is more important at this difficult time

“We will reassess the situation in a couple of weeks time.

“Once we have worked out a way of implementing these guidelines, hopefully by then phase two will be released giving us more leeway.”

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