It is said that bowls is an old man’s game, but is it? writes Alnwick Bowls Club president Brian Ripley.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games ladies’ and men’s champions were both 21 years of age, so perhaps bowls is becoming a young person’s game that older people can play too.
Bowls is a very skilful game. It can be played every day and evening, during winter and summer, in sports clubs, sports centres and village halls. It attracts both men and women, young and not so young.
Bowls, in fact, is one of the few games that can be played from 12 years old until your late ’90s. There is endless variety, with club competitions, inter-club leagues, county championships, national competitions and international selection.
You may think that outdoor bowls is easy, as old people can play it. It is not! It is played in all weathers and conditions change constantly during a game. As for the old folk, it is true that we may not be as good as we once were, but older players still present a major challenge. Younger bowlers – and there are plenty in Northumberland – do not get it all their own way.
In Alnwick, we are fortunate to have one of the best bowling greens within the county, with regular in-house competitions. These include the prestigious Duke’s Medal, the winner of which represents Alnwick in other competitions.
Both ladies and men play against other teams in the county. In the first division of the Clegg Cup, the Alnwick team competes with teams in Newcastle. In the North Northumberland League, the competition is more local – Rothbury, Seahouses, Wooler, Lesbury and Amble – with all the rivalry that you would expect from local derbies.
Bowls is a competitive game and everyone wants to win, but afterwards, when playing at Alnwick, both teams can go for a drink together. That is what it is all about, at the end of the day.
Alnwick’s bowling green is the envy of many clubs and has a recently-refurbished, fully-accessible clubhouse that allows members to socialise and enjoy a drink after a game.
The Alnwick Bowling Club green opens on April 12 and the club welcomes everyone, young and old, ladies and gents, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons.
Take the challenge and see if you could be any good at this ‘old man’s game’!