Ken Williams’ views on Isle of Man bowling
How to improve the Isle of Man Crown Green Bowling?
These are just the thoughts of an individual who has been involved in the game for a few years and is watching its demise. They do not represent the feelings of Douglas Bowling Club.
The present market has remained virtually static for the past 10 years.
- The ‘older’ members are now approaching time for leaving the competitive scene.
- Younger members have approximately 20 games spread over 6 available months*
- Over 60’s can play in as many as 56 league games spread over the same period*
*These figures do not take into consideration Cup Matches
Some clubs are making inroads into recruiting new members while others are sadly sitting twiddling their thumbs.
Question? How many people really want the hassle of doing these kiddly fiddlers questionnaires?
How quickly can your name be sullied by a chance remark from one of the youngsters?
Mud generally has a way of sticking.
However, I digress… Time to get to the quandary that is the bowling situation at present.
A suggestion is that the leagues be reduced to 2 divisions. This would give the younger members a greater number of games to keep them interested throughout the season. Games would increase to approx. 30 games per season.
This could be too many for our ‘older’ members and would therefore create the need for Clubs to actively generate new bowlers.
These have seen a significant decline over the same 10-year period.
Clubs utilising the ‘Mixed Bowling’ aspect of the sport have probably, inadvertently, added to the demise of the Singles game.
The suggestion is that EVERY Club should provide one of their allocated Open events to a Singles event.
To expand on that last paragraph…
- 14 Clubs entering the leagues
- 14 weeks of singles events
- Each Club to send 3 players to each event
- Each entry fee to be raised to £3 per entrant.
- So that each club will have one event that has an entry of at least 42 players.
- Producing prize money of at least £126 each week for 14 weeks.
Let’s dig a bit deeper…
- Any club that cannot send 3 players MUST pay £10 into the entry money of the hosting club for that particular week.
- Each of these competitions to be a ranking competition with prizes awarded at the end of the season.
- Possible prizes for Individual prize, Handicap prize, Club prize.
- Straight away Clubs must take it upon themselves to get organised and make sure that at least 3 members are going to take part in the competitions.
Struggling? More reason to start looking at ways to get more members to join your club.
For far too long clubs have left the responsibility of promoting the game of bowls to the Executive committee. Bowls should always be promoted from the grassroots upwards.
As a sport Bowls has slipped off the radar of most of the younger generation. With fields of fewer competitors taking part in events they look tired and dated to the outsider, and rightly so.
- The perennial argument goes on.
- Unfortunately, due to the lack of competitors, these handicaps have been thrown in the bin.
- With the proposed increase in numbers for each of the 14 competitions, it would be an ideal opportunity to introduce the handicap system again.
If golf can do it so can we… They can organise the handicaps of their players, which number in the thousands. Now then… Take the handicap system forward a tad into the night league. Before screaming and bawling read the full details.
- Each team to be ‘tiered’.
- Top 4 from team A play top 4 from team B
- Bottom 4 from team A play bottom 4 from team B
- Captains lay their cards down in 2 rows. Top players in one row, rest in the other row.
- Order of play remains with the home captain.
- Handicaps to be readjusted monthly. Thanks to the Handicapping Committee.
- League merits are a lottery at present.
- It would create a league within a league that would represent the cream of the bowling membership.
- It might also spread some of the ‘better’ players throughout the league.
- 2 or 3 teams with all of the talent are turning the game ‘stale’.
- Talented players are needed in each club so that some kind of ‘skill level’ is maintained throughout the game of bowls.
- This needs the conscience of the bowlers to come into force.
- All the talent gravitating towards 3 clubs is not increasing the talent. How can it? They don’t play each other often enough.
At the moment 3 teams are trying to recruit the new talent’ so that they can eventually become league champions?
Fixated is the word I’m looking for.
Ronairco and Nobles Park are prime examples of clubs that are in dire straights because members have moved on to other clubs for various reasons. Any ‘new’ members to these clubs can only learn from the talent that is available within that club.
I would hazard a guess that Douglas, Port Erin and Finch Hill are feeling the pinch and are holding on by the skin of their teeth.
If the current fixation continues then the game could soon return to ONE League with perhaps 9 Clubs.
Is that good for the game?
Make your own minds up.
The fixation would then be with ‘maybe’ 4 teams.
Is that good for the game?
Make your own minds up.
The responsibility for the game of bowls lies in the hands of the bowling fraternity.
Think about the long-term future of the game.
To try and create Premier League football team status into a bowling team is missing the objective.
The Bowls Development Officer really does have his work cut out.
He has some deeply entrenched history to try and update for the better of the game.
Nobody is under any doubt that the game is suffering.
Can the game listen and take heed?
Can the membership welcome new ideas without throwing negatives into the ring?
Can clubs come up with constructive ways to improve the game?
Only the wise kipper smuggler can unravel the mystery.
Where are yer yissah??