Manx Bowlers Fly The Flag at The World Championships
Three bowlers from the IOM Flat Green Bowling Association represented the island at the World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand. The ladies triples team being the first team from the Isle of Man to qualify and play in this prestigious competition.
The team consisting of Anne Watterson (lead), Pam Makin (second) and Win Kewley (skip) competed against teams from from all over the world. 52 bowling nations are affiliated to World Bowls, 34 of them qualifying for this year's World Championships, headlined as the pinnacle event for lawn bowling. Countries from Australia to Zimbabwe competed in up to 4 disciplines (singles, pairs, triples and fours for both men and ladies). Each discipline playing 3 matches lasting up to 3 hours each every day for 3 consecutive days, each game being played over 18 ends. For the statiticans and bowling enthusiasts this equates to playing 60 ends, over 120 lunges (including a couple of practice ends), and covering several kilometres walking up and down the greens every day. The greens on the Isle of Man tend to run at a relatively slow pace whereas in New Zealand the speed of greens can be almost twice as fast!
So for our bowlers this meant not only competing against the best bowlers in the world, including a first game against the double gold medalists Australia, but also trying to adjust to faster greens, different type of green surface and bowlers using bowls specifically designed for play on the faster greens of the southern hemisphere! All in all not an easy task. However, rest assured that despite the odds stacked against them the Manx team kept battling on to the very last bowl of the last game. In every game played they were on the scoreboard, had some excellent shots and in particular narrowly missed the honours against Ireland, leading against the more experienced Irish team right up to the 15th end. Some may be interested to learn that among the countries competing were Fiji, Japan, Philippines and Samoa, nations that may not spring to mind when thinking of bowls.The President of Bowls New Zealand expressing how impressed he was with the "never say die" attitude of the Manx team who made the effort to compete albeit they were the only team without a coach or manager present and one of the few teams self funding the trip.
The team of Anne, Pam and Win would like to thank the following for their support the Bookstore, Mark Samuel Trading Co, EBIS Engineering & Plastics, Progress & Vulfix, all IOMFGBC members who gave up their free time to help with practice sessions and sent good luck cards and wishes. Finally, a final thank you to those from Morrison Bowling Club in Christchurch for their hospitality whilst the team were in New Zealand.