Shropshire

Women barred from Shropshire bowls league

Burway Bowling Club Image copyright Burway Bowling Club
Image caption The Burway team, including Claire Williams (front centre), won promotion to the Premier League

A bid to include women in a men-only bowls league has been rejected.

Burway crown green bowling club, in Shropshire, gained promotion to the county's Premier League thanks in part to the performance of Claire Williams last season.

While she has since moved away, the club said it had lobbied for a rule change as a "matter of principle".

The club's proposal was defeated at league meeting on Tuesday evening by 10 votes to three.

Steve Rogers, from the Burway club, said he was disappointed but "not surprised" and would continue to lobby for the change.

"Our point of view is that it is the Premier League, so it should contain the best players regardless of gender," he said.

Mike Hinton, who stepped down as president of the league at the meeting, said it had been a male-only competition since it was set up 21 years ago.

He said the league had followed national guidelines in putting the proposed rule change before a vote.

Like a number of other sports, he said there was a separate women's league that did not allow entry to men.

Shropshire Premier Bowling League rules

Point seven of the match rules states: "Each team shall comprise 12 male bowlers and the draw for each game shall be made by the captains exchanging the names of their players in playing order prior to the commencement of the match."

Mr Rogers said the county ladies league was much smaller.

Chris Hasselby, President of the British Crown Green Bowling Association, said county premier leagues were almost entirely male only, but mixed leagues were becoming far more popular below those.

He said it had to be for leagues to set their own rules.

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