As we all know, snooker clubs are struggling as a result of COVID-19.
Having been shut since March and after some of the lockdown restrictions were lifted, many clubs started to open from 4 July. However, this was only for the social side and not for snooker and pool. Even that was confusing as some local authority Health and Safety offices were saying snooker and pool was ok to play, some said not.
The WPBSA and the APPG for Snooker put together guidelines for the safe opening of clubs and the government then announced that it was ok to allow snooker and pool to be played.
One would have expected a flurry of activity at snooker clubs but for many this just hasn’t happened.
Suny Singh of Dunstable Snooker Club, rated by many to be one of the best clubs in England, said on Facebook that if the situation didn’t improve then they might well have to close.
We simply can’t afford to keep losing snooker clubs and the support on Facebook for DSC has been immense. But it needs to be in the form of people through the door or it doesn’t help.
One school of thought is that local snooker leagues should be allowed to start up again to help ease the situation.
There are thousands of league players across England and many simply won’t be bothering playing until the leagues start.
The current guidance advises against league snooker but allows for singles tournaments to be played.
I emailed the EPSB to ask if they, as the National Governing Body, could do anything to help league snooker to be started up again.
It was shortly after I emailed (very shortly so pure coincidence) that the article about junior clubs was published by the EPSB.
There is a line in that article that says –
We intend to release further guidance next week focused on a format and timescale for the return to local league competition.https://snookerhub.co.uk/guidance-from-the-epsb-regarding-restarting-junior-clubs/
In reply to my email I was also told by the EPSB –
“We’re working hard to produce guidelines that support clubs to provide a safe return to snooker and billiards. These take time and consultation because we want to be absolutely sure we’re aligning with government advice.EPSB
We’re working hard to find the right approach for activities to return and we know that local leagues are a vital part of this, as they support clubs and encourage participation. They are a source of great enjoyment for many amateur players.“
It’s nice to see that the NGB are fully aware of the situation and will be doing what they can to help.
Local league committees will be able to assess their clubs’ commitment to the guidelines and get the leagues started again if it is possible.
We all need to work together in these difficult times and support the clubs and the leagues to get amateur snooker back to where it was before lockdown and build from there.