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Cumbria Bowls Hotspot Success

September 21, 2015

As we reach the end of the 2015 Outdoor Bowls Season, Cumbria has seen great successes as one of the Bowls Development Alliance Hotspot Areas.  So far 11 clubs have been involved from across the county with 78 new members joining, Eden Indoor Bowling Club and Copeland Indoor Bowling Club are about to start their Play Bowls programmes too.  We have also had 19 new coaches qualify to deliver Play Bowls and seen significant funding come to local clubs.

Chris Allason from Brampton Bowling Club got in touch to let us know what happened there:

'Brampton Bowling Club is one of the oldest in the country and like many other bowling clubs has a dwindling, ageing membership. In early 2015 we applied for a development package to support a plan to recruit members. Previously the club had leafleted large parts of the town to attract new members with little response.'

'For 2015 we developed a plan to run a novice tournament and invited eight local organisations and businesses to enter. A cricket club, a butchers' shop, the Post Office, the Medical Practice, the Conservative Club, a solicitors' office, a Newsagents and the Fire Service all entered teams of 6. Each team was offered at least one coaching / practice session with a club coach in advance of the tournament. (Play Bowls Day) Over four consecutive Tuesday nights, teams of  two triples playing two bowls each, played six-end matches against each other using four rinks. We shoe-horned our competition into the Play Bowls Package format, as these four Tuesdays became our Play Bowls 4 Fun days.'

'We borrowed bowls and bought coloured stickers, and provided each team with a coach and mentor to help players play in turn from the mat with the right bowls. Jacks were placed rather than cast, and mentors kept the scorecard and scoreboard going.

The last evening was a finals night with the four best teams playing down to winners and runners-up who were presented with a salver and medals. The club opened the bar and provided a free supper for players. In all, sixty people played bowls for the first time, and remarkably there were twenty-one applications for membership, which had been heavily discounted for the tournament. We look forward to doing it again next year.'


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