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Bowls England's current Covid-19 guidance for clubs and players: https://bit.ly/2VUzID3

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21/9/2020: EXTENSION TO SEASON

ABINGTON GREENKEEPER Martin Trasler has given his blessing to an extension of the 2020 season by one week, leaving the club open for casual play until Saturday 3rd October. An extra event has been scheduled for that day itself, involving a rotating Australian pairs format. Please contact Saturday captain Phil Reeve if you would like to be involved, though numbers are of course limited.

This Saturday just gone saw Abington pay its own personal tribute to the man considered by many to be the greatest (and certainly the most recognised) bowls player of all time, David Bryant, who died last month aged 88. Clubs and players all over the world have been marking his passing since the sad news was announced. Abington joined in the tributes in the way we know best - by getting out on the green and having a jolly old game.

Thank you to all members who took part and ensured the day was one long reminder of why we all took up this sport in the first place. Memories of Bryant's fleeting visits to Abington were shared before and after by those long enough in the tooth to remember. Both times that the great man bowled on our green, in 1979 and 1982, were exhibition events, the latter as part of our club's diamond anniversary celebrations. For all his medals, fame and forensic dedication to winning, he was above all the best ambassador bowls has ever had, and a champion of the sport's inclusivity. He may be an historical figure now, but it is in his example that Abington feels we should still look to the future.

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Held over from the previous weekend's packed schedule, the remaining club comp final was played on Sunday, 20th September. Husband and wife duo Peter and Lis Milburn edged a competitive mixed pairs match 18-16 over Alan Mann and Debbie Bradshaw. Considering their multiple achievements over the years, it's surprising that the Milburns' triumph was their first in this competition, but it is very unlikely to be the last.

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16/9/2020: CLUB COMPS CLIMAX

THE ABC finals weekend turned out to be a masterstroke of timing. Designated many weeks before, the 12th and 13th September were two days of the most glorious sunshine. And as far as the bowling itself was concerned, most of the glory lay with Tony O'Leary and Lis Milburn.

Our men's and women's club champions for 2020 have both held those respective titles a few times before, this being the fourth major title for each. Having ended waits of five and six years respectively since their third, it's also been a joint triumph of patience and perseverance along with the high standard of bowling we've come to expect.

O'Leary defeated John Freeman in the men's final, recovering from nearly surrendering a 17-9 lead in just two ends to finish the job at 21-16. The two of them went on to dominate the weekend, sharing the honour in the pairs final with a dominant victory over Dave Vernon and new member Stuart Johnston, and cleaning up the rest of the singles competitions between them.

O'Leary made his superiority definitive by adding the handicap and veterans cups to the main one. Phil Reeve requiring some speculative efforts to stay in the former and fellow vets debutante Jonathan Brown beaten in straight sets in the latter. Only the 2-wood evaded O'Leary, which instead was claimed by Freeman, comfortably beating Adam Brown 18-5.

There were just two men's finals that didn't feature either O'Leary or Freeman. Alan Coleman, Jonathan Brown and Dave Fage took the Toms-Knight trophy, presented to the triples winners. (Surprisingly, for a set-up that did reach the national championships once - albeit in 1996 - this was their first such success for a decade.) Meanwhile, Reeve required a turnaround from 3-14 down against Stan Breach, but he made it to claim the club vase, the tournament played between those defeated in their first club cup match.

The pattern of the ladies club cup final was established on the very first end, where all four of Milburn's woods were in the count. She never looked back after that, not allowing Debbie Bradshaw to get to double figures before hitting the magic mark of 21. Following that though, there was a curious merry-go-round amongst Abington's three top female players. Milburn was in turn stuffed 21-10 by Gill Crossley in the handicap, while Bradshaw got her hands on the 2-wood cup by beating Crossley.

Diana Brown came very close to skipping a pairs and triples double over Crossley, but ultimately only won the former. Both finals were claimed by a late flurry of shots from the winning team. Seven on the last four ends won Brown and Christine Ball the pairs. But Crossley claimed some revenge in the triples, where six across the last three ends snatched a 16-15 victory in the most tantalising manner.

Regardless of the results though, the biggest success was the event itself, which attracted a spectator turnout rarely seen at the club for finals in modern times. It seems likely this format will be replicated in future seasons, even once bowls has regained some normality. Thank you again to the organisers and club staff for their time and effort, and to all members for continuing to obey the Covid-enforced guidelines and keeping each other safe.

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10/9/2020 UPDATE: Despite the UK government's 'rule of 6' on social gatherings coming into force from Monday 14th September, we have received assurance from Bowls England that this will not affect our plans to finish the season. Our President's Day event will take place as originally planned, with four games of triples on a 7-rink layout. For all members, this serves as another reminder to please follow all the distancing guidelines. Only by doing so can we guarantee that Abington Bowling Club remains a Covid-safe environment.

7/9/2020: CLUB COMPS - FINALS SCHEDULE

REMARKABLY, despite all the obstacles thrown our way, Abington Bowling Club can proudly announce that every single one of its knockout competitions has reached the final. Below is a complete schedule of matches for the weekend of 12th & 13th September, as planned from the outset.


Well done and good luck to all who may still walk away with honours, and thank you to all competitors who have obeyed the restrictions and kept yourself and other members safe. A very special thanks is extended to competitions organiser Jonathan Brown and bar chairman Dave Fage. Their efforts are tireless in any year, but in the current circumstances, and all the extra responsibility entailed, especially praiseworthy this time.

And in further good news, the season looks set to climax with a welcome return for friendly bowls. The usual President's Day finale has been penciled back in for Saturday 26th. Please contact Jonathan Brown if you would like to be involved, though note that we are restricted by Bowls England to 24 players and six spectators. Nonetheless, it will hopefully provide a measure of reassurance. At least some of the 'old normal' will return one day.

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2/9/2020: A NOTE FROM THE SECRETARY, RE: PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS

Despite the constant overhanging threat of a local lockdown, Abington Bowling Club has managed to stage club competitions for 2020. Almost all are down to the final, and watch this space for an announcement on their scheduling. However, club secretary Peter Milburn has been notified of a few disputes regarding the current restrictions that currently make any bowling at the club possible. He would like all members to note the following message:

Abington Bowling Club is a 'members only club' and during the Covid-19 pandemic this is to be adhered to at all times. However if a member wishes to invite a close family member (son/daughter/etc.) to watch and use the bar facilities as a guest, this will be allowed providing that member informs our bar chairman Dave Fage in advance and he agrees they can come in. Generally he will give a pass but his decision is final.

The personnel gate entrance to the green should be kept locked at all times and only opened by a club member, so to stop any unauthorised persons from freely entering club grounds.

All members are to make themselves fully aware of the one-way system in place and to please keep to it.

We closed the changing rooms and stated that all members are to bring their bowling equipment/clothing with each visit, and take it away with them afterwards. It has become apparent that some members have started to use the rear lounge as an ad-hoc changing room and leaving bags and clothing hung up on the windows. This is totally unacceptable and said bags and clothing will be removed and locked away on the morning of Friday 4th September if still there. The items can be  picked up on request of any committee member available at the time.

I respectfully request that these rules are adhered to, in the best interests of all, in our attempts to keep each other safe and well.

We have now installed a thermometer which will be moved around to any first entry point of the clubhouse we designate. This is purely an indicator of raised temperature beyond the normal range. Anyone displaying a temperature equal or greater than 37.5 degrees centigrade should turn around and leave the club immediately. Please be aware though that a normal range temperature still does NOT mean you are Covid-19 negative. Any member feeling at all unwell or displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 should NOT journey to the club.

Regards, Peter Milburn

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29/7/2020: COMPETITIVE BOWLS RETURNS TO ABINGTON

Abington's competitions got underway yesterday evening. We decided to forego an opening ceremony and get straight to business. There was just the one game on day 1, Alan Mann making good use of a six-shot headstart to remove former club champion Peter Milburn from the men's Handicap Cup. 21-11 the final score.

From this point though, there will be up to three games every evening, and more on the weekends. The competition pages will be updated daily, so make sure to check those for all the latest results. The bar is now open every weekday evening from 7-10pm, and throughout Saturdays and Sundays when comps are being played.

Hopefully, the schedule will run without interruption through to mid/late September. If there is a significant safety issue, the organisers will not hesitate to take the necessary action, but as long as everyone follows the guidelines the chances of this will be minimal.

Good luck to everyone taking part, but more importantly, good health to all.

*Note on equipment sharing: The marker (or a lead in a pairs/triples match) has the duty of cleaning the mats/jacks before and after the game. The 2-metre sticks will NOT be used, so full-length jacks will need to be paced out. A player may request use of a scoreboard, but these will only be touched by the marker/skip who is not filling out the scorecard.

Specific rinks will be drawn on the day by comp secretary Jonathan Brown. Please see him for scorecards. Make sure to bring your own pen(s)!

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25/7/2020: Please note that the distancing restrictions for Northampton have been tightened slightly, following a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases. The 2-metre rule has been restored across our town. Members and guests not from the same household are advised to keep that distance apart in all circumstances.

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20/7/2020: CLUB COMPETITIONS ARE GO!

Abington's competitions committee have agreed that all the traditional cups and leagues will go ahead this year.

Draws for the men's and mixed comps have now been made, and posted to the men's and women's club comp pages respectively. (The drawn pairs league has become an open tournament, so is now listed on the women's page). The women's comp draws will be posted ASAP.

Due to the Covid-enforced restrictions on opening hours and rinks available for use at any one time, there will need to be some changes to how the comps are organised, for this year at least. Matches will not be arranged on the traditional ad hoc basis - all will be played on fixed dates. The schedule begins on Tuesday, 28th July, with the opening game of the Men's Handicap Cup. Knockout comps will climax with the usual finals weekend in mid-September, the league continuing until the end of September.

Entrants need to familiarise themselves with these rules in the document below (open in new tab if not clear). Please also note: those designated as the 'home' player in a singles game still need to arrange their own markers.


And there will be NO deferrals or postponements. If a member cannot play on the date scheduled for them, their place in that competition will be automatically forfeited (or the points will if it's a league game).

Many thanks to competitions secretary Jonathan Brown for devising a complex schedule of events. We're very grateful for all the hard work that has gone towards salvaging the vestiges of a blighted season, and (hopefully) ensuring that there will not be any dirty, great blanks on our honours boards. To enable the schedule to run smoothly, our secretary Peter Milburn has removed the online rink booking system. If you would like to reserve a session for a roll-up, you will now need to contact him by phone or email.

Protocols around distancing and equipment sharing, both on and off the green, remain unchanged. Good health and good bowling to all members!

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7/7/2020: Following the reopening of pubs across England at the start of July, Abington BC is pleased to confirm our bar will resume from this Friday, 10th July at 7pm.

No doubt this will be to the relief of many members, although obviously it will still be some time before we can go back to 'business as normal'. Open hours will be initially restricted to Mondays and Fridays. This will give space to allow the new rules to be analysed. Once our committee has deemed them fully satisfactory, and members have confidence in purchasing their usual refreshments, further open days will follow.

9/7/2020 UPDATE: We can now confirm the new rules, subject to an initial trial period. First, please take note of the diagrams secretary Peter Milburn has drawn up (click to see fully), showing the adjusted layout of tables and chairs. Plus the direction of the new one-way system.

The one-way system is the first key difference to note. Anyone coming into the clubhouse will now enter through the middle doors in the rear lounge (dining room). The usual front door entrance is now an Exit only, and you MUST exit through that door. All members are expected to stay at least 1 metre apart from those from different households at all times.

To order a drink, you either need to fill out a pad and take it to the bar, or send a text message to whoever is serving at the bar. You may go and collect it from the end of the bar, or you may have it delivered on a tray to where you are sitting.

It is expected that most members would prefer to drink outside in the current circumstances. However, for those who would prefer to sit inside, please note the new positioning of the tables, including two that have been moved into the dining room. All doors will be propped open to reduce the need to touch, and most windows will be open to increase clean air circulation. Please do NOT move the tables or close the doors/windows.

The bar person will wear gloves and a clear plastic visor at all times. As we do not yet have a machine to take card payments, cash is still being accepted. All money handed over will be taken for sanitising.  All change will be pre-sanitised.


The one-at-a-time rule on the toilets remains, and the ladies toilets are now open again. All toilets will be cleaned before first use, with plenty of access to hand sanitiser throughout the clubhouse. A full risk assessment will also be displayed near the rear lounge entrance.

It's a fair bit to take in, but all these changes and regulations have been put in place to protect the health of members while this novel (and potentially fatal) virus remains a significant threat. And considering the average age of the sport's players, we believe that all bowls clubs and associations should devote an especially high level of care towards their members. Abington Bowling Club looks forward to welcoming back its absent members, so we can return not only to bowling, but also to socialising, in a way that remains safe during these difficult and unprecedented times.

Keep Safe, and Cheers!

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5/6/2020: In accordance with the UK government's latest easing of the pandemic lockdown, and Bowls England's guidance amendments, Abington BC can now announce a slight increase in the number of people we are allowing to play bowls together.

From the date of this posting, individuals from up to four households may now use the same rink, allowing for games of pairs between friends - as long as they continue to obey the instructions on distancing and equipment usage, as outlined in our 'Covideo': https://bit.ly/36gRR1U. Although the BE guidelines do permit games of triples between people from as many as six households, our management committee feel it would be safer and easier to keep it to four for now.

Play will continue to be kept to alternate rinks, and to the previously allotted sessions. For those who wish to play pairs, the so-called 'Australian' format is better for keeping equipment sharing to a minimum. Spectators are also now allowed into the grounds, as long as they are a member or social member, and can keep the required distance from those outside of their household.

A reminder - all members who would like to bowl on our green have to book a session in advance, via this online form: [link removed as of 20/7/20]. (Or contact club secretary Peter Milburn.) Good health and good bowling to all.

Video transcript:

Abington Bowling Club is reopening to social bowls, under a new order of restriction, and within government and Bowls England guidelines. All members who wish to play may enter the premises through the main gate, after booking a session through the club secretary.

On entering, please close all gates behind you. Mats and jacks will be set out on every other rink, or as required. Members may sit on benches to get ready as long as 2 metres (6 feet 7 inches) apart.

Each player has a mat and a jack for their use. If playing with another person from outside your household, please DO NOT handle their mat or jack.

Set the jack – with feet if possible, although as it is your own jack, you may handle if preferred. Make sure you alternate setting mats and jacks each end, so you are only handling your own mat/jack.

When changing over, always make sure you are at least 2m apart.

There will be access to the toilets. One at a time, obviously.

Once you have completed your session, please leave all equipment at the end of your particular rink. We have supplied anti-bacterial gel for any member’s use, after any toilet use, and before leaving the premises. All equipment used, and any surfaces/handles/etc. will then be cleaned and dried, minimising any risk.

Remember, if bowling with those from your own household, then the social distancing rules do not apply. But please note, bowling with someone from outside your household is restricted to one person [and the same applies from their POV - so in those instances, no more than two individuals are allowed on a rink]. A household cannot invite anyone to join them on their rink.

If a member has been asked by a doctor to self-isolate, they should not play until that restriction is lifted. Any member who books to play should be fit and well i.e. NO temperature or persistent cough.

A full copy of the guidelines is stationed at the inner gate.

Please remember, if no member playing has the virus, it CANNOT be caught. The measures introduced are there to protect each other from the chance that a member has Covid-19, but are not displaying any symptoms. It is therefore incumbent on all players to follow the rules, to minimise any risk.

And please – enjoy your bowls! Keep Well and Safe.

Peter Milburn, secretary of Abington Bowling Club

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Meanwhile, for attendees of Chris Nightingale's regular exercise classes, she is continuing to offer these via Facebook Live streaming. Please contact her via her page Pilatesnorthampton or her new email address Bodyinbalancenorthampton@gmail.com.
Pilates Online Courses
Wednesdays - 9:15am - £5.50 per session
Strength and Balance Classes - Otago for Older Adults
Mondays - 2pm - £5.00 per session
Get Up and Go - Gentle Aerobics
£5.00 per session
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ABOUT US: Abington Bowling Club is one of Northampton's sporting institutions. Based just south of Abington Park, we are in close proximity to the Old Northamptonians Sports Ground. Just a short way east of the town centre. We provide a competitive but welcoming environment for anyone who fancies taking up outdoor flat green bowls, the most popular form of bowls, and the most inclusive of all sports.


We also boast one of the biggest and most furbished clubhouses in the region, complete with lounge area, dining room and boardroom. We offer usage of any of these to interested parties. Click on 'Hire our Facilities' above to see what we can provide.
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19/4/2020

UPDATE: 100 CLUB DRAW - STAY SAFE

THESE ARE unprecedented times. Yesterday, Saturday 18th April, was scheduled to be Our Day, the traditional opening of Abington Bowling Club for a new season. A new decade.

By now, you don't need a reminder as to why, for the first time in our club's near-century of existence, that had to be cancelled, nor why all bowling is off the agenda for the foreseeable future. But it doesn't mean activity has entirely ceased.

Bowlers have been contacting each other online to keep spirits up from a distance. Particular mention should go to former secretary Chris Beck, who has been busy contacting and monitoring our most vulnerable members.

Meanwhile, current secretary Peter Milburn has conducted the 100 Club prize draw behind closed doors. Since being founded in 2012, this has been Abington's curtain-raising event. Results are below. As to whether anything else of the 2020 season can be salvaged, all we can do is wait for the authorities to declare it safe to resume.

In the meantime all readers are encouraged to follow the government guidelines on lockdown and distancing. Please remain indoors unless it's absolutely necessary. One link that may be helpful in passing the time is Bowls England's new YouTube channel. This includes exercise sessions that can be performed with your woods, and a podcast interview series called 'The Extra End'.

Until we are able to meet and bowl again, best wishes and good health to all.

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100 Club Draw Winners

Video of the draw being conducted - https://bit.ly/2xEKG6I

£200 grand prize:
  • 26 - Peter Boulden
£100 each:
  • 21 - Mick Taylor
  • 18 - Bill Shelton
  • 99 - Debbie Bradshaw
£75 each:
  • 14 - Alan Mann
  • 8 - Lynn Smith
  • 41 - Dave Vernon
£50 each:
  • 30 - Trevor Aston
  • 16 - Bill Roberts
  • 58 - Diana Brown
The draw board
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