Eager lawn bowlers, who aren’t ready to give up the sport when the snow starts flying, are winding down their season in what is usually known as a sleepy little town in Canada, Niagara-On-The-Lake. But here in “the most beautiful town in Canada” is a very exciting place – the Community Centre on Platoff Street. It is here where residents have kept the sport alive even during the months when it’s not possible to take it outside. And it’s a trend that thousands of bowling clubs have taken up around the world. It’s indoor bowling!
At the Niagara-On-The-Lake Community Centre, residents meet three times a week during the winter months to hone their skills and keep their passion of the sport alive. With five different bowling carpets, 40 people can bowl at once and it provides reprieve for this town made up mostly of locals that are seniors. Membership costs only $60 for the entire season, and members are free to come on as many of the three days as they choose.
The rules are a little more lax at this club, with no real dress code or etiquette rules applied, although members always follow the “unspoken” rules of lawn bowling, even when they’re inside. The indoor season for the club begins in October and is set to come to a close on April 12, around the same time that most clubs start to bring it indoors.
Those that live in the area and are interested in joining a league can sign up for the summer season, starting on April 14, or they can already sign up for next year’s indoor season. Those that aren’t in the area, contact your local lawn bowling club. There’s a good chance that they have indoor and outdoor leagues, so that you too, can enjoy this wonderful sport all year around!
One of the most common criticisms about lawn bowling is that it could use some more excitement and spicing up. But those who were at the Tauranga South Bowling Club in New Zealand last week for the Twilight Business House Bowls know better, and once those critics hear this story, they will too.
It was well into the tournament when spectators heard shouting and yelling and looked up to see what the commotion was about. Seeing a man running across the field, they thought that a ball had gone horribly awry, and that the man was trying to run after it to catch it. While that undoubtedly would have been excitement enough for the tourney, things turned even more intense when those same spectators and players realized that it in fact, wasn’t an enthusiastic participant, but instead a criminal trying to escape from the police. While he startled one woman, who literally fell back into her seat when the man ran past her (and later found the man’s cap with what “looked to be marijuana” in it,) it was another player in the tournament that really got involved.
That was a young man who left the game to chase after the man onto 11th Avenue. It was on that street, near the Mad Butcher, that the heroic bowler stepped in front of the criminal to stop him from going any further. It didn’t take much effort, and the young man was never in danger, as the man seemed to have lost interest in trying to escape and police cruisers showed up onto the scene moments later, when the man gave himself up.
Just goes to show that there’s more to lawn bowlers than just a good aim; and there’s more to a tournament than just a good game.
As more and more baby boomers start to hit retirement age, with 2006 being the year to see the first of the Boomers to hit the age of 60, the U.S. Lawn Bowls Association is starting to see a golden opportunity with those entering their golden years. Now is the time, says USLBA, for lawn bowls to be promoted throughout the United States! And now more than ever!
The USLBA realizes that not only are the Boomers the largest group ever to hit retirement within just a few years of each other, 76 million in fact, they are also the wealthiest group of people to ever hit retirement age. These are people who did not struggle to feed their families during the Great Depression, nor were the majority of them toiling in fields to make ends meet. These were people with opportunity, a group who grew up with more growth and development than perhaps any other generation before them. And because of that, now when they’re becoming retirees, they have more money than retirees have had before, and they have a lot more time.
So of course the USLBA sees now as the perfect time to start promoting lawn bowls and making it even more accessible across the United States than ever before! To do that, they association has now started looking for sponsors to invest in the marketing necessary to get the word out and promote to the Boomers the USLBA is looking to market to. Those interested in becoming a sponsor can fill out an application on the 8List, PostYourRFP, and AribaDiscovery websites.
But don’t start thinking that USLBA has just now started to ramp up their involvement in lawn bowls. They actually host 95 clubs across the country and they host huge tournaments such as the U.S. National Championships, the U.S. Open, the M.A.P. International Challenge, and the North American Challenge. Still, USLBA realizes that lawn bowling has a long way to go in a country where football and baseball reign supreme. And so the push for sponsors to start getting the many, many Baby Boomers involved.
For the past few years, leaders in lawn bowling have been looking to open it up to younger generations and change the perception of the sport. This weekend, a 10-year-old boy by the name of Seamus Curtin took great strides to do just that when he won the men’s title in the Silverstream International Tournament. After winning three games and drawing on one, Curtin was tied with one other player; however, he ended up taking home first place after beating all other opponents with his combined points total.
It’s no surprise that Curtin found his way to the bowls’ greens early in life. In fact, he’s been playing since the age of three. His parents are also big bowls players, and Seamus has grown up watching them take over the greens in their own right. His parents always knew that he’d be a player some day, but they had no idea that their son would be making this kind of news this early in his life, or any kind of bowls career that he may want to pursue.
Seamus Curtin also isn’t just making a name for himself – he’s also inspired another boy his age to take on the sport as well, and the Plimmerton Club has also begun talking to Aotea College, in hopes that they can also bring in lawn bowling to interest younger people. The President of the Plimmerton Club and Seamus’ mother, Rachel Wybourne-Curtin, has stated that while they were looking to get younger people interested in the sport, her son’s age is still about 30 or 40 years younger than the audience the club had originally been targeting; but she’s very happy for it and for the recent publicity Seamus’ win has given lawn bowling in the area, especially to younger people.
But, she’s also very happy with her son, Seamus. As winner of the tournament, Seamus won a $50 sports voucher and a sports bag.
It’s been a very good week for Leif Selby, who won the Men’s Australian Open, which was held at the Darebin International Sports Centre on February 19. The game certainly wasn’t an easy one for Selby and even though it wasn’t his first one, he said that it did help him overcome some of his demons from losing in the past.
In 2006 Leif Selby came to the Australian Men’s Open and faced Kiwi Russell Meyer in the final, only to lose out to him in the end. And even though Selby came back to the Open and won in 2008, he felt as though he still had some demons to overcome. That he was given the chance and in a very similar predicament, fulfilled what Selby had been hoping to do for the past few years and now he says, he can truly rejoice in his victory.
Selby looked almost out of the game completely when he was tied with opponent, Shannon McIlroy. McIlroy had one last bowl to throw, which he played out of bounds and allowed Selby the chance to draw and win the tournament, which he did. After the match, Selby spoke out about both of his wins, and revisited that time so many years ago that were really the driving force of both,
“Sheer determination drove me in 2008 to come back and win,” Selby said.
“Now to come back and win again, yeah it’s buried the 2006 loss a little bit deeper.
“I’m very proud to have made three finals, but to win two of them, it’s unbelievable.”
We’ve all watched those TV shows and movies where an accused person has their bail set at one million, or a couple hundred thousand. But if you’re facing serious charges yourself, you don’t have to worry about coming up with this huge sum of money. Apparently, all you have to do is tell a judge that you’re in a lawn bowling tournament, and they’ll let you walk. Well, maybe not ‘walk’ completely free of all charges, but at least you’ll be free enough to participate in the great game of bowls. This is exactly what happened to one teenager this month.
That teenager is Joshua Larry Boyd, who was charged along with four other young people, for assault and unlawful assembly. There aren’t a lot of details on what exactly Boyd did that deserved the charges, or even what his punishment was. It actually seems as though the young man wasn’t sentenced to prison at all, but he was given a very strict curfew by the judge, and severe penalties would be dealt should he refuse to meet these requirements. That was until, a couple of weeks ago when Boyd’s lawyer appeared in court and asked a judge to review the curfew that had been placed on Boyd and to ultimately, remove it so that Boyd could participate in a lawn bowls tournament in Dunedin on Boxing Day. The court granted the removal of the curfew for the specified date and allowed him to enter lawn bowling clubs, but he is not allowed to consume alcohol while on the premises.
So there’s one more good thing about lawn bowling – it could get you out of an uncomfortable situation, as long as you keep participating in tournaments!
It was a big month for lawn bowling as the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi took place. But, it was an even bigger month in England as hometown girls, Ellen Falkner and Amy Monkhouse, beat team after team to emerge as victors in the Woman’s Lawn Bowls Pairs. The story isn’t only a triumph in the world of lawn bowling, but it’s a triumphant story that oozes of the human spirit and friendship.
Falkner and Monkhouse are not only serious lawn bowl competitors, they’ve also been best friends since childhood. Now, both 31 and into adulthood, the two are still the best of friends and couldn’t see winning the title with anyone else. Shortly after the win Falkner was quoted as saying, “To come out here, to play together as friends and win is something else.” And this wasn’t the first time that Falkner has made the news for her lawn bowling skills, either. She also was just recently the first woman to have the right to play against male competitors in the World Indoor Singles tournament, which took place in Norfolk.
Ellen Falkner and Amy Monkhouse won the gold in Woman’s Lawn Bowling Pairs at the Commonwealth Games on October 11 after beating Australia out in the semi-finals with a score of 5 – 2.
This morning, the first group of Australian lawn bowlers landed in Delhi to compete in the Commonwealth Games, a sport that has been a core tradition and part of the Games since the inception of the Games themselves. The team is already making news for many reasons. One is because the media is anxiously awaiting their response to the conditions in the Games Village, of which they have not yet given any. But the arrival and the presence of the team in the Games at all is mostly because one of the team’s star players, Leif Selby, will retire once he’s finished competing at the Commonwealth Games.
Leif Selby is of course, the Australian lawn bowler that has three World Championship titles under his belt, and who’s future in lawn bowling looked as though it could have been even more promising, and long. So, why is Selby walking away from the game that he seems born to play? All for the love of his daughter, 10-year-old, Jasmine. Selby has recently spoken of the long trips away from home he’s had to take, and how he’s only spent half of the year with Jasmine, every year for the past four years. Ready to give up one full-time job of professional, and brilliant, lawn bowler, Leif Selby is now ready to take on the other career of being a full-time dad.
Jasmine Selby is becoming a promising athlete in her own rite, only she is finding her sport solace in the waters of the pool rather than on the green. Jasmine currently swims for the Oak Flats Swimming Club and has recently swam in her first competition. Her dad wasn’t there as he was in Delhi practicing for the Games, and he says it was then that he made his decision to retire after the Games and focus on his daughter.
But first, Leif Selby has a goal to accomplish, and that’s to clinch the title at what he calls “the highest level of our sport.”
Even if you don’t live in or near Cobourg, Ontario, if you love lawn bowling and always want to make sure that your club’s green are as spiffy as they can be, this story might interest you. It involves the Cobourg Lawn Bowling Club in Ontario, Canada and the federal government of Canada. The Club is moving, due to some parking troubles as well as problems with the clubhouse. Looking for a new place for the bowlers to call home, they turned to the local community center, thinking that would be the most suitable place, if only the community center had lawn bowling greens. Because it didn’t, and entirely new ones would have to be built, the question comes into play: Who’s going to pay for them?
If you’re thinking the community center, you’d be wrong. Not only are they being gracious enough to allow the Club to come play in the first place, but the greens will not be used by them. So why would they pay. The Club had this exact same question though and decided to apply for a grant to the federal government to try and get the funds to pay for the expansion. The grant was approved and so, sure enough, you’d think that the Canadian government was going to pay, right? Guess again.
Since the time the Cobourg Lawn Bowling Club has been approved for the grant, the federal government has now come forward to say that they won’t be paying for it, or at least not all of it. The government says that they will only pay for the land within the designated area and that any design, construction, or maintenance will be the responsibility of the Club’s. Still seems to be somewhat fair, if you don’t consider the fact that all of those inclusions were detailed in the grant application before it was approved.
Currently, the situation seems to rest with the Cobourg Lawn Bowling Club sitting on their hands. They have filled in their local MP about the situation, and they have now been referred onto the Ministry.