Updated: Feb 16
Martin from Northamptonshire, started Tenpin Bowling in 1966 when his parents managed a Tenpin Bowling centre in Bexleyheath, Kent. He said: “I played competitively for a number of years, playing for England for a while and being lucky enough to travel to a number of places in Europe and Internationally. When I retired from playing internationally, I was Manager of the England team and then served two years as Chairman of the BTBA.
More recently, Martin found it difficult to compete with the youngsters and was looking for something new to play so he turned to outdoor and indoor bowls, noting there are benefits from coming from a Tenpin background, accurate firing and strong hand and eye co-ordination.
We then asked Martin to reflect on his decision to become Chairman of Bowls is Bowls the organization set up by Mark Courtney in 2014 to bring together and promote all formats of bowls equally.
“I really liked Mark’s ideas and what he was doing including investing £50k of his own money in the 'Bowls is Bowls' brand owner 'The Professional Bowls Corporation Ltd' "PBC".
From an outsider’s view, the perception of bowls is that it is an older person’s game and that clubs are very unapproachable,” he said. “That needs to change, even if it takes lots of small steps.
Currently, there are some clubs that welcome you with open arms and others that it takes a while to break into which is a problem when the sport needs to attract new players of every demographic.
I believe 'Bowls is Bowls' can make a real difference although it is unlikely to be a quick process.
There is a great 'Bowls is Bowls' team who believe in what we are doing to promote the sport, spearheaded by people like 6 times World Champion Alex Marshall MBE and Short Mat Players Tour Number 1 Mark Beattie. www.shortmatplayerstour.com
Martin notes Covid has hit the game hard reducing membership for example the English Indoor Bowls Association in its 2022 accounts noted membership is down by 33%.
And although only in his fifth year of playing at The Grange Bowls Club in Rugby, Martin has identified numerous areas of bowls which can be improved upon. I actually won a singles event the first year I entered and this year won the club singles and pairs championships. I am really enjoying the game and am getting to a reasonable standard.
This year i am the club captain and I am looking forward to fresh challenges that will bring and to see if i can help the club attract new members.
The main problem that I am seeing is that we need to make Bowls relevant and important to non-bowlers and 'Bowls is Bowls' can really do a lot to help instigate change by bringing Best Practice from the Commercial world to the Great Game of Bowls in all its wonderful formats.”
To find out more:-
e-mail the team firstname.lastname@example.org or
check out our website www.bowlsisbowls.com