SLOW and steady proved the way forward as bowlers returned to Victoria Bowling Club.

The club has taken no chances despite being one of the first sports to return following the coronavirus lockdown – with their steady and careful progress paving the way for members to get back on the green.

The east end-based club have been following the guidelines set down by the government and Bowls Scotland.

Vice-president Mark McKechnie has been delighted at the response from the members.

He said: “There have been lots of smiling faces as our bowlers get back to playing on our impressive green.

“A lot of restrictions have now been lifted and we are able to use all six rinks, so with our very effective booking system, players are regularly enjoying playing - especially at the weekends when we can have a 'bowling bubble' of 30 players on the green.”

Mark's son Astyn McKechnie, 11, who is a young Greenock and District junior champion, was all smiles when his dad told him that the green was open for play.

Astyn said: “I was really happy. I missed it at the beginning of the season because I love playing - now it’s good to be back on the bowling green!”

The club started the annual Monday night wappenschaw mid-season. In the tournament members could come along and get drawn with a partner on the evening.

The final was due to be played last night, with club members Billy Simpson and James Sherriff playing each other for the title.

Mark said: "The wappenschaw has been good for many of our members.

"It gives them a chance to get out the house for a couple of hours for a game of bowls.

"We know and understand some members prefer a more competitive edge, but with the restrictions in place earlier in the season it wasn’t possible to run any internal championship games.

"This was disappointing, but we had to make sure we had strict Covid-19 safety procedures in place to keep everyone safe.”

The return to the green has been a lifeline for so many during these exceptionally difficult times and with the season winding down to the last few weeks of play young Astyn said he’s going to make the most of it.

He said: "I’ll be playing until the last day! The bowling club is great, the committee have made it as safe as possible. I feel safe when I’m at the club, so I’ll be playing bowls until I’m told that’s the green closed!”

Mark added: “Everyone has been great - members, friends and visitors who have visited the club have followed the rules accordingly.

"Their support doesn’t go unnoticed. They have kept this club going during a very difficult time.

"The club recently played the annual Nicol McNair Memorial Day last Saturday, which was really pleasing as we host these annually.

"We had 28 members playing, with the winning pairing of Robert Davidson and Jim Sherriff Snr.

"We intend to run another day this Saturday to honour past Renfrewshire and club president Robin Kyle who died suddenly in July this year.

"We will make sure this day is in remembrance of not only a good bowler and committed club member but a highly-sought gentleman on and off the green - we miss him dearly.”

The club has extended the season into late October to give members a chance to enjoy the outdoors and get some more green time.

More information about opening times can be viewed on the Victoria Bowling Club Facebook page.