The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville
I started to learn how to play bowls back in 2008, when as an 8 year old I went up with my Dad and his Dad to Waterlooville Bowling Club. They had a set of very small woods which were green, and were just the right size for me. They both taught me the basics needed to be involved in a game.
In 2009, Dad left Waterlooville Bowling Club, and joined Cowplain Bowling Club. I had hoped they would have a nice set of green bowls, but sadly, they didn’t. I was able to borrow a set of woods for a couple of years, and often went for “roll ups” with Dad. Everyone at the club was much older than me, but were welcoming, and always ready to “point me in the right direction”.
Last year, I played my first Bowls match on the Isle of Wight, not for Cowplain, but for the Island team, as they were one member short. I played against my Dad, and his team won on the rink we played on. The IOW team were grateful for me playing for them.
When the IOW team visited us this year, I played against them, and won on my rink. Several of their members remembered me from last year’s match.
Earlier this year, our club coach Bryan gave me some coaching lessons. This helped me to send the jack up, and helped me adopt the correct position to bowl my woods. I was very keen, and always enjoyed these sessions. I usually accompanied Dad when he had a match up at the club, and would have a “roll up”. I would try and get my woods as close to the jack as possible, nothing serious, just trying to get better.
The club secretary was asked by Hampshire U25’s secretary for details of all members who bowled for the club aged under 25. My name was put forward, and soon after, Dad had an email giving details of all the friendly matches for the county U25’s. The first match I could play in was at Oakley, near Basingstoke on Sunday 3rd July.
I think my Dad was more excited on the day than I was. I had my new white trousers and socks, and my woods which my Grampy had given me for my Birthday present. We picked up two club members, Hazel & Alan who wanted to come along and support me, and wish me well. It was a glorious sunny day, and we were all looking forward to my special day.
We arrived at the Bowling club in plenty of time, and I was able to put my Hampshire stickers on my woods, and try on my Hampshire shirt. We were playing against The Royal County of Berkshire U25’s.
After a “pep talk” by our captain and “manager”, we were ready to start. Alan came along with his camera, and took several shots including my team , one of me bowling my first wood for Hampshire, and several action shots of me. Although I didn’t feel nervous, I feel sure Dad, Hazel & Alan were!
I liked bowling to “long jacks”, and got several of my woods nearer to the jack than my opponent. I had to lead, so it was important to get my woods as near to the jack as possible. I didn’t like short jacks, and on those occasions, my opponent often had his woods nearer the jack than mine.
Sadly, we lost 22-
Two weeks later, Alan came round with an album of photos he took on the day to remind me of my first bowls match for Hampshire. I was due to play in a further two matches, however, they had to be called off as Hampshire couldn’t raise a team for the matches. I am hoping to play on Sunday 11th September at Cove Bowling Club, when we take on Surrey U25’s.
By the time this is read by everyone, I will have played against Waterlooville in a friendly match, and against Hayling Island in a local cup match. I also played against Alton in a friendly earlier this year. I have also taken part in some of Cowplain’s club competitions, but sadly, didn’t get through to finals day. I am looking forward to the killer bowls tournament to be held at the club in September. You need to have at least one wood within 4 foot of the jack to stay in the competition, otherwise you are out!
I have really enjoyed my bowling this year, and am looking forward to being able to bowl for one of the league teams next year, in addition to the Hampshire U25’s team.
Autumn Edition 2011