According to Chatters – English Bowling, EBT and Sixes

TV’s Lee Chatfield has been around, USA, Europe, done them all, Back to back Jacks at Purley and you may remember him from that thing with Janet Street Porter or who could forget his appearance in Paloma Faith’s New York video.

Back in the 80’s TV’s Cass Edwards from Weber Cup commentary fame did an article for World of Tenpin called Carps harpings, later to become According to Cass, it seemed fitting to have TV’s Chatters bring that feature back.

So here is Mr Lee Chatfield’s take on UK bowling…Part 1

So many people always start off with…. ” Looking back over last year ” and then give a report on it … Not me…. I really could not be bothered to do that when it doesn’t really matter going forward, though I will say one thing…. there were more downs then ups that’s for sure!!

Let’s start with a new concept for English bowling…. well in general really, let’s forget about the past, and look forward in to 2017!

2017 looks pretty tasty already…. I mean we have a new name in the firing line running the BTBA Tour in Mr Daniel Bonfield (Photo right), those who don’t really know the name Bonfield would probably be more accustomed to the name Basher, he is in charge of the tour from booking the venues to testing out the ” shag” of the carpet and making sure the left hand side of the lanes are ready for some serious scores! It is nice to see the BTBA tour visiting some of the older venues also bringing them back in to a bit of the limelight…..and some different venues too.

There is a good choice of events with mixed formats to keep the interest there, as shown by the first event – a doubles at Nuneaton won by one of England’s finest player Leon Devlin and an old school retro name being Daniel Wenner (Wenner was pretty good back in the day 90s – 00s ) making his return to the modern game!!

Now there’s something new also about … the ESBT, English Sport Bowling Tour.

What’s this I hear people asking…..???? Well…. I shall tell you…

On a cold winters evening a few of the, more, experienced players sat down and had a very productive conversation about starting a tour that only involves Sport Bowling…. as they could see what was going on in Europe, Asia and the USA…. and they didn’t want to be last to follow….. a few hours goes by and after a few of the bars finest carbonated drinks, packets of crisps and some obligatory nuts… the ESBT was born! The ESBT is a tour consisting of 6 main events and a bonus event being the English Open.

The events are spread out over the country, 2 south 2 Midlands and 2 north, to allow for a fair travel time for all players from Poole being the furthest south to Shipley being the furthest north.

Every tour stop will be a straight forward 8 games ( no cuts or finals ) , and points will be awarded on finishing positions once all squads have been completed…. at the end of the season the top 16 will qualify for the masters event.

The main difference with the ESBT is that all tour stops will only be using a sports bowling lane condition, a short, medium or long pattern design by Kegel / WTBA
Those who have played on these patterns before will know, there is not a lot of room for error and hardly any ” lucky sets “…. these patterns are the ones used in events such as the European Championships, World Championships and all World Bowling Tour events.

Looking at the way competitive bowling is going this was a much needed tour to happen for us here in England, as there really isn’t many bowls/events where these patterns are put down for us to play on and see how versatile/ adaptable we really are as bowlers….. no more 10 board areas or house shots!!

The ESBT will prepare all bowlers and give a great insight in to what it is actually like to play in Europe or further afield, I mean, you wouldn’t expect to play a World Champs on a house shot would you…. or a Europeans where you can miss left or right 10 boards and still carry and strike… it’s a whole new ball game! It also would be a great feeder to the Team England Trials, Adult or Senior as don’t forget seniors play on sport patterns too!

Kicking off on March the 5th at Stroud on the WTBA Los Angeles, a 35ft short pattern , it already has 62 registered players (at time of writing ) – not bad for a tour based on 40 entries per stop hey!!

There is also the chance to win entries for EBT events through the ESBT Tour , along side the prize fund, with the first being the Malta Open 2017!!

Please check out to find out more details about this exciting new tour and also check out the Facebook page under the ” sport bowling uk” heading.

Whilst I’m on about tournament bowling……. has anyone noticed there’s a few less EBT events this year? In the last few weeks, the organisation from the, previously, well supported Vienna Open has decided not to run the event in the foreseeable future…. The Polish Open 2017 is no longer going ahead…. The Chandra Open in Holland is no longer running…

Is this the start of the decline of the EBT? Has the costs finally outweighed the participation?

I mean, there are still some good European events running… Malta is a brilliant event, San Mario gets a lot of great press, Sofia always has a superb reaction….. so … is there a new fashion to where bowlers go now? Can £500-700 be justified for a few days away as a bowling break now? Like everything has it’s good times and it’s … not so good times… is this an EBT not so good time?

For an event like Vienna not to run in my opinion is a big deal…..bearing in mind the organisers are bowlers and well known bowlers too!

I wonder what 2017 holds for European Events??

On the plus side… the Senior European Tour is absolutely flying, with quite a few Brits taking titles and really making a mark against some of the finest players to ever lace up!! Ronnie O (Oldfield) and Angie Brown are still there to beat but young Steve Jeeves is certainly flying the American/English flag at the moment!

It’s the cheap and shameless plug time now to end the 1st edition of my article….

One event that over the last 3 years has gone from strength to strength is the Bowlrite 6s….. yes it’s a Long day ( technically 2 days ) , a bit of waiting around and usually really hot in the bowl, such a great combo for a team event! Somehow it works and it’s keeping on working so far in 2017 too!

With 5 months to go we have 21 registered teams, 126 bowlers, already keen to play again… another great start to what looks to be another great year for the event and with the continued support of the Roto Grip / Storm family, Bowltech and Bowlrite Pro Shops as sponsors , we must be doing something right! There will be a few extra surprises this year and I’m not just talking about the Air Con in the bowl either, followed by more prizes!!!

If you are interested in playing, get involved online on the FB page and let us know – Roto Grip presents the Bowlrite 6s!

Chatters with Radical Ray Teece and Miller the Driller Matt on Paloma Faith’s New York video