What sport can you play:
- From the age of ten to one hundred,
- That requires you to walk about half a mile, includes some bending exercises in a game,
- As a club member against a current international (with no handicapping system),
- Not only if able bodied but also if, blind or partially sighted, in a wheelchair (again with no handicapping system), and
- compete on equal terms with women/men.
Still guessing? Answer is flat green bowls, a deceptively simple game that not only makes you think but provides some useful exercise for those who find exercising, not always to their taste. Typically a game of bowls lasts 2 to 3 hours in length, hopefully played in the sun but bring your waterproofs, rain does not usually stop play! Where not just your own/team mates skill at bowling to the jack/area on the green, but the need to use tactics to beat your opponents, is required. You will find you need to concentrate when playing a game of bowls, its great in helping put those worldly pressures to one side, for a little time anyway. We have 49 outdoor clubs, all keen for new members, see http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/ccba for identifying your nearest club. You will find all our clubs welcoming and happy to loan equipment to newcomers, basic coaching etc so you can try out our sport. The attractions of this sport are many, not only is it relatively cheap, typical club membership £60 per annum, free coaching, equipment costs (although you can borrow to begin with) around £150, you can play as a family and much more, give it a try.
Being a bowls club member has many benefits, you make new friends, become involved with other activities in your locality. The fellowship side of bowls is country wide and the network of support for each other is second to none. Whilst the outdoor season is from mid April to end September there are five indoor bowls clubs open for the rest of the year i.e. you can play bowls 12 months of the year, club membership here is cheaper but you pay each time you use a rink typically £1-50 for a two hour session.
A variation of the game is Short Mat Bowls which is very popular in Cornwall with over 1300 registered players in 66 clubs across the county. Cornwall currently has the fourth highest number of registered bowlers of the 36 counties currently registered with the English Short Mat Bowls Association. The mats used are usually between 40-45 feet long and 6 feet wide making the sport suitable for playing in village or church halls. Several outdoor clubs now have mats in laid in clubhouses during the winter months. The game is administered locally by the Cornwall County Short Mat Bowls Association who maintain a comprehensive source of information, including a map showing all registered clubs on the internet at http://www.ccsmba.co.uk. Membership and session fees vary from club to club but compare well to other sporting activities.
Competitive aspirations can be met at various levels with most clubs running internal club competitions. The CCSMBA operate a full evening league program through the winter, divided into four divisions involving around 90 teams. A full program of County Championships usually played at Bodmin's Dragon Leisure Centre is held during the winter months. Two teams compete in the English Short Mat Bowls Association Inter County Championship and local bowlers compete in the National Championships usually in April.
Worried about "the image", well approximately 3000 of us in this county are not. We have about 80 under 25s, there are schools involved and more importantly, who cares, if you are enjoying yourself? In 2007, we had senior and junior internationals, internationals in the blind/partially sighted games in Australia and wheelchair games in New Zealand. The only limiting factor in bowls is you. If you practice regularly you will be surprised how good you can become. The target of winning your first club competition becomes a reality, in a short time, then County competition, and after that, who knows, - give bowls a try.
Also you can go to www.getactivecornwall.co.uk to search for clubs / activity near you!