We’ve been waiting and waiting all year for it. But the fact that ticket sales for the 2012 World Championships are now on sale just makes the greatest bowls championship of the year seem all that much closer.
The Worlds will take place from November 24 – December 9 and over the course of those two weeks 28 countries will be represented at Holdfast Bay and Lockleys Bowling Club. And of course, putting only their very best athletes forward, and giving us all a very good show in the meantime.
Ticket sales are divided into different categories including individual day passes; 16-day tickets that will get you into any event on any day; or a 10-day pass that will get you into any event on any 10 days that you wish. Corporate and travel packages are also available for those who want to come as a group and let everyone get in on the fun!
Lockleys Bowling Club has been around for nearly 100 years and is home to some of the best greens in the world. It has been a part of the bowls World Championships since 1996. Holdfast Bay Bowling Club played host to the Australian Sides Championships this year as well as in 2010; and alongside the ocean, it’s also known to have some of the most pristine views.
Bowls fans wait eagerly every single year for the World Championships, and with many countries already registering their entrants, this year promises to be one of the best! For more information on this exciting event, you can visit the World Bowls official website here.
In 2009 a weekly lawn bowling event called “Lawn Summer Nights” was begun in Vancouver. The event, originally co-organized by Eva Markvoort, was meant to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis. This fundraising event turned into what fundraiser organizers all around the world hope for – people from all walks of life coming together to support a great cause and mostly, have a lot of fun while doing it. That’s what “Lawn Summer Nights” is more about today. And the fact that it’s raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for a great cause? That’s just the icing on a bowl-shaped cake.
“Lawn Summer Nights” has grown from a place where dozens of people once gathered to share stories and throw a few bowls along the way has turned into one of the biggest social events of the year in Vancouver. Business men, socialites, lawn bowlers from all around the city and beyond (and some that have never picked up a bowl) now congregate to discuss serious topics in a lighthearted tone and atmosphere. All while building relationships that extend far past the summer months.
While word has quickly spread around Vancouver, the event made an even bigger name for itself when it participated in its first tournament in Toronto this year. Now, while trying to change the acronym of “CF” from meaning “Cystic Fibrosis” to “Cure Found,” the organizers of the event -and all those who attend every week throughout the month of July – hope to get the same event happening around all four corners of the globe.
It’s a problem in any big city around the globe that has even just one lawn bowling club: membership is dropping, and managements all around are trying to drum up business by bringing in a younger crowd. And while all kinds of strategies have been tried all around the world, there’s one that Toronto, Canada thinks will be a surefire hit – bringing beer and spirits onto the greens.
The motion to let lawn bowling clubs that are owner and operated by the City will be put to a motion next week and then in July, to City Council. Those who are in favour of the motion are hoping that lawn bowling while having a few will have the same kind of allure that regular bowling and having a few will.
“The idea of somebody on a hot summer’s evening tossing a few bowls and sipping a gin and tonic is not a bad one to me,” said Councillor Gord Perks, who seconded the motion after it was put on the table by Councillor Adam Vaughan.
But Steve Shallhorn, who is vice president at the West Toronto Bowling Club, says that there would need to be limits imposed on when participants could actually imbibe, saying that he wasn’t advocating lawn bowling beer fests but rather, “it would help attract new members if it were possible for people to have a glass of wine after the game.”
The new proposal comes after a particularly hard year for Toronto clubs, leaving some unable to pay their fees for next year. Other measures, such as waiving membership fees, are also being discussed as ways to get membership up at the local clubs.
Lawn bowling is a very polite sport full of etiquette and courtesy, and never to be tarnished. But as the Highworth Bowls Club in North Wiltshire knows all too well, sometimes even the nicest game in the world can turn a little ugly.
It was on Monday morning when those at Highworth Bowls Club realized that a portion of their green was entirely ripped up and missing. Who would steal a lawn bowling green?
“It’s obviously someone who doesn’t know the difference between a bowling green and a lawn and wanted a bit of turf,” said Club Chairman Ian Thomas. The dry conditions of both the ground and the turf made it impossible to roll up and just take away, as it was obvious the thieves intended to do. Now, the damage leaves chunk of broken turf and areas where turf is missing altogether, where the green once lay.
Mr. Thomas says that it won’t interfere with play or tournaments at all, as the club has at least nine other rinks available for use. However, the damage done is probably going to cost the Club about sixty pounds, and it will be months before the area where the green once was is able to be used – something that could take all season.
The Wiltshire Police issued the statement that “CCTV coverage of the area was checked as was the possibility of forensic evidence. However, no new lines of inquiry have been established.”
Mr. Thomas said that he had asked the investigating police if they had ever seen anything like the incident happen before. Their response: “Never.”
Young people are needed in the world of lawn bowling and it’s becoming more than just a matter of promoting an old sport to a new generation. Many clubs are now starting to aggressively encourage and promote the participation of young people at their clubs because they’re afraid that if they don’t, the sport – and their clubs – will become lost.
The Broadstairs and St. Peter’s Bowling Club is getting ready for their opening weekend to be held on June 11 and 12 and in addition to the leagues that the club always plays host to, this year they too, have a particular eye on the area’s young people. Club president Frank Webb said in a recent interview, “It’s important to encourage young people to come, and to make them see that it’s not an older person’s sport.” Webb is particularly concerned that with a majority of the club’s membership being made up of elderly people, fewer bowlers are coming to the club. That means fewer dollars and fewer profits for the club – a big concern for this specific club, which has pristine greens and some of the highest maintenance costs in the area.
For the Preston Blind Bowling Club in England, it’s also important to attract a younger generation – but this time, it’s not strictly for profits; although all clubs recognize the need for younger people. At Preston though, there’s a special program for youth such as Caitlin Balmer, who can only see out of the right side of both of her eyes. Caitlin was part of the program that was held this past Saturday to help introduce more of the area’s blind youth to the wonderful sport of lawn bowling.
But even here, the dark cloud that is lawn bowling existence can still be felt, if not yet seen. Barry Walsh, manager of the England blind bowling Team, also admitted, “We can see the club just disappearing if we don’t get some youngsters.”
It’s a lesson that Ontario native, James MacGowan, first learned when he was very young and his sister took up lawn bowling. Teasing her at first about playing in this “elderly” game, it wasn’t long before James joined his sister on one of her games; not so much to see what the fuss was about, but to prove his point that his sister was far too young and stealthy to be playing a game that’s known to be reserved for the older crowd. But James didn’t prove anything to his sister that day. Instead, he learned a valuable lesson himself and is now one of the best lawn bowling champions in the world.
It was on that day that James figured out just how much fun lawn bowling was and, already being an athlete himself, decided to commit more time to the sport. Today, James MacGowan is ranked as the 32nd-best player in the entire world; and he landed himself in the Scottish International Open, in which he made it all the way to the fourth round. Next he’s headed to two major world championships – the Tiger Bowls and the World Invitation, which are held in Hong Kong and China, respectively.
So what changed James’ mind? What made him go from mocker to serious contender?
Apparently, it’s the mental challenge of the game that James loves so much. He says, “It’s testing mentally. You have to have an even temperament, patience and confidence. You have to be able to brush off adversity, you can’t let things get to you.” Perhaps it’s those very qualities of maturity that make this game so attractive to those of older generations. But organizers in the sport have wanted to intrigue younger players over the past several years too. And the story of James and his sister certainly prove that younger people are starting to appreciate not just the physical aspect of the game, but the mental side of it too.
There’s a big problem brewing at the Sun City Center in Florida that has got a lot of lawn bowlers pretty upset. The Center needs to be expanded in order to include an entertainment building that would fit the needs of the community and others who use the centre for purposes other than lawn bowling. While this sounds like a great project at first, the expansion also means that one of the three greens the Sun City lawn bowlers are now using would need to be destroyed – so that the entertainment building could be built right over top of it. This news has the 1,500 bowlers that use that green pretty upset. But what might be even more upsetting is that no one was consulted about the new project.
John Bailiff, president of the lawn bowling club said that there are two big problems with the centre’s new project. The first is that the lawn bowling club uses all three of its greens when outdoor tournaments are held – a regular occurrence in sunny Florida. And the second problem is that by taking away one of the greens, bowlers will need to rely only on the other two, greatly adding to the wear and tear and soon rendering the two remaining greens useless, as it won’t take long for them to become destroyed simply from overuse.
But the director of the board, Al Alderman has other arguments. He says that the committee who made the decision did in fact consider all other options before deciding to use the green. And the fact is, there’s no where else to put the new entertainment building. Placing it on the property, away from the third green that’s now in danger, would take up valuable parking space and would soon create a parking shortage. And that would be a huge problem. Alderman has also said that the committee considered putting the building off-site at a nearby intersection, but in fact, that proposed site isn’t so nearby after all; it would leave members walking almost an eighth of a mile.
But the site alone isn’t the only problem Bailiff has with it. One of the biggest problems is that the lawn bowling club was never consulted or asked about the move. Bailiff says, “We were called and told this is happening. That was it.” But that might not be it. Bailiff, along with others at the Centre, have now created their own committee to petition against the new entertainment building and try to stop it from ever crowding out their greens.
When it came time for countries to place their bids for the European Bowls Championship, one of the most prestigious bowls event there is, and an event that only comes once every two years, Spain was one of many that threw their hats into the ring. Germany, Holland, Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, Switzerland, and Portugal were just some of the countries that placed a bid to be named host of this year’s event. After a great presentation, backed by professionals and experts in the sport, and facilities that are up to the task, Spain won it by a landslide. In fact, they won it before it was even announced!
John Muldoon, National Director of Lawn Bowls Spain outlined the initial bid, and the reasons why Spain was the perfect choice to host the event. Sr. Jose Luis Boto, the President of Federacion Espanola de Bolos, then went to Madrid to make the presentation, based on Muldoon’s bid, and while there, also enthusiastically backed the bid. Bob Donnelly, Regional Delegate to the Federacion de Bolos de la Comunidad Valenciana, then outlined the facilities that would be used during the event, and showed how they were more than capable of handling the event.
In addition to showing that Spain was able to host the event, they also showed how it would help the local economy. The value of Spain’s bid, and the way it outlined everything that Spain had to offer, was so appealing and powerful that the other countries withdrew their bids, giving Spain the event.
With so much momentum already building towards such an elite event, Spain has people talking about it this year now more than ever!
In Cabramatta, they care about their bowlers! Taking note of the fact that breast cancer is the leading disease among women lawn bowlers, the Cabramatta Bowls Club is hosting an event to raise awareness – and money – for breast cancer research and of course, in the hopes that one day there will finally be a cure.
The Taylor Bowls Corporate Celebrity Bowls Day will take place at the Cabramatta Bowls Club on November 22, at which time there will be a 16-game tournament to declare a winner. Proceeds from the event will be going to support the McGrath Foundation, an organization built by Jane and Glenn McGrath after Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, Jane lost her fight in June 2008, but the name of the foundation is now one that’s common around households in Australia, as it’s done incredible work in helping with the fight against breast cancer. Hosting events like the one at Cabramatta is just one example of the work that the McGrath Foundation has done. And the event’s not just all for a good cause, there’s some real star power behind it too!
A celebrity skipper will lead every team and names such as Craig Lowndes, V8 supercar driver; Kevin Sheedy, AFL Coach; and of course, world champion bowler, Steve Glasson. If you want to be one of the lucky players who gets to compete alongside one of these big names, it costs $2500 to register and you can do so by contacting Taylor Bowls Australia general manager, Tim Howard, at email@example.com before November 15.
Ever since Glasgow won the bid for the Commonwealth Games in 2014 Kelvingrove Park, the park that will be hosting the bowls competition and will undoubtedly have some of the best step onto its field, has been busy preparing for the event. And recently they’ve gotten the stamp of approval from Gary Smith, World Bowls chief executive himself, when he visited the field to see what preparations had been done .
“Seeing how advanced Glasgow 2014 are in their planning and preparation, we are confident the city will stage the best lawn bowls competition the Commonwealth has seen,” Smith said after visiting the field. So far the greens have just finished their construction phase, and new turf has recently been put down over those top-notch greens. Over the next three years building up to the Games, there is still more work that will be done and Smith said that he’s excited to see what those changes will be. The City Councillor’s executive member for the Commonwealth Games, Archie Graham, concurred with the chief, saying that “very pleased with the progress being made at the Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre.”
Smith also said that he thought Kelvingrove Park was just what was needed in order to bring the international lawn bowling community together. He’s also looking forward to showcasing Scotland, where World Bowls is based, with some of Scotland’s most famous and most beautiful landmarks thrown in as a backdrop to the field to boot!