CHAIRMAN Lillian Payne admits she’s concerned three teams have dropped out of the Flowfit Ludlow and District Bowls League, writes DANIEL WILKINS.

Ludlow Town will not be competing in the league the new season, which gets underway on April 3. Brimfield and Bishops Castle have also left the competition since last term.

League chairman Payne says it’s vital that more young people get a chance to play bowls to safeguard the sport’s future.

“Bowls is a great game and if there is a declining interest in bowls in this area, I think it is more to do with finances and transport than the sport itself,” said Payne, who plays for Clungunford,

“Perhaps there are too many formats in the league and transport costs are also high at the moment and people can’t afford it.”

She said attracting younger people into the sport was essential to keep the bowls flourishing and added that some clubs were doing their best.

“Craven Arms have done some renovation work on their clubhouse and made the green more wheelchair accessible,” she said.

“They have a young lad who plays skittles in the winter in a wheelchair and has expressed an interest in playing bowls, too.”

The Flowfit Ludlow and District Bowls League contains 13 teams this season and league secretary Steve Burmingham believes the competition is flourishing.

“Many of the clubs in the league are attracting players and it is great to see,” he said.

The league will be entering teams this season into the Senior Interleague, the Junior Interleague and the Veterans Interleague.

They will also be hosting the 2014 Veterans event with qualifying rounds taking place at Ludlow Castle and Burway. The final will be at Craven Arms.

Meanwhile, Keith Rudd has made the draw for the first round of the knockout cup. Clungunford, Linney and Corve have been given byes into the second round.

First round draw: Burway v Ludlow Castle at Burway on June 5, (Burway need to win by 57 shots or more to proceed); Mortimer v Stokesay at Mortimer on May 8, (Mortimer need to win by 68 shots or more to proceed); Bylet v Cleobury at Cleobury on June 19, (Cleobury need to win by 69 shots or more to proceed); Bromfield v Temesters at Bromfield on May 29, (Bromfield need to win by 13 shots or more to proceed); Chelmarsh v Craven Arms at Craven Arms on April 17; (Craven Arms need to win by 95 shots or more to proceed).

The league annual general meeting will take place on November 3 at Burway at 7.30pm.