Email from the league’s secretary

This is the email that each team captain received this morning explaining the committee’s decision to null and void the current season.

Hi Everyone,

I apologise for sending you another email so soon after the last one.

Unfortunately the decision by the committee to make season 2019/20 null and void has been brought into question. Some teams have stated that we made the decision too early.

So I would like to make the following points: To finish the season we would need at least eight weeks, that is three weeks to finish the league and then the other five weeks to complete all the competitions and then hold a presentation evening. I hope that if teams wanted to finish the league it was the entire season not just the league fixtures that would need to be completed.

Also the committee understand that we as a league want to support the pubs and clubs involved in the league and the lock down. But we have been informed that the hospitality section will be the last to be allowed to re-open and even that section want three weeks notice of when they can re-open. Which does mean that pubs and clubs may very well not open for at least another six weeks probably more.

We feel that to run the league on into the summer is not possible as some teams may well be able to get 8 skittlers but a number may not be able to get 8 players as during the season they struggle to fulfil fixture with 8 players. Surely this would be unfair on some teams and with social distancing which I suspect will be in place for many months to come it will not be possible.

With regard to next season and also if anything was to happen in the near future then the committee will of course look at all the possibilities open to us. But be assured that we will do our very best to make sure that Dorchester skittle league will return, hopefully commencing in September, stronger and just as large as it is now.

Below is our reasoning for null and voiding the 2019/20 season

Reason to Null & Void the League now

The lockdown is in place for at least another 3 weeks from 16 April 2020 and it would be naïve to think that life will return to normal at the end of that period. Even when the lockdown is relaxed and this may only be a temporary measure, social distancing will remain in place and it has been intimated that some form of social distancing will be in place until a vaccine has been developed tested and made available to the general public. This is months away. There is also the situation where vulnerable people and those over 70 years old are subject to a 12 week lockdown.

Comments made by the leaders of other countries over their exit strategy give the re-opening of licenced premises a very low priority and it is expected that the same will happen in the UK. The longer our pubs and clubs are closed the greater the chance of some not reopening at all.

The Committee therefore decided that it was better to end the uncertainty as they believe there is no chance of skittles being played for some time.

Decision to Null & Void the League

There is no guarantee that all teams would be prepared to fulfil their remaining fixtures particularly those who struggle to field eight players during the winter let alone in the summer months. Some teams contain farmworkers who work long hours during the summer to keep us fed. As mentioned above there is the issue if we lose an alley. The Frampton Arms alley is already shut and The New Inn is probably no longer available.

Apart from section A of the Open League there are byes in each section meaning that some teams have played more games than others. You cannot penalise teams because of the way the fixtures work out particularly where it could have a bearing on promotion or relegation.

Options such as head to head records, points average per game, could not provide a single solution which would fit all sections and there is no way of arranging play offs, if we declared the leagues complete at this time, as required by the Rules..

The decision by the Committee was supported by members whose team had a chance of winning their section or gaining promotion. We have looked at the bigger picture and taken a pragmatic view that the only way forward was to null and void the season. We were aware that any decision would not please all but we sincerely believe that any poll of team secretaries would have led to the same result.

I hope that the above will answer any questions you may have regarding the committee’s decision.

If there are any teams with very strong views about the decision then please get back to me and I will pass them onto the committee. Also views can be heard at the next AGM when it is held.

Kind Regards,

Brian, Secretary, D&DSL