When there is a problem in bowling, some talk about what should be done and some get on with making a change that works. UK bowling has been lucky over the years to have people like this that step in and create something of value for the future generations. A recent addition to the all time list of good helpers has been Lee Chatfield. Played for his country, played on EBT tour, seen his way to a few TV appearences on the Bill and a pop video for Paloma Faith and now leader of the English Sport Bowling Tour and English Open and also won a BTBA award!! He is also not one to do things on the quiet. Time to chat with Chatters and find out where the tour is going in the future and more…
We are a few years into the English Sport Bowling project now and the future looks brighter than it did when you devised the idea. Obviously happy with it’s progress, is there anything you might have done differently looking back?
Yeah, the tours been fantastic this past year and half. It’s just been a buzz, I mean, for me, to be part of something like it is great and it makes me feel like over the years I’ve been about, I’m giving back, in a big much needed way!
Ooohh looking back, anything done differently… erm…. To be honest, I don’t think so. We started with the kinda idea that it has to be new, fresh, different, simple and most important at the time…. Sports conditions with none of this, 11pm Sunday night finish and a 3 hour ride home or long waits in the day. At the time, the PTBC wasn’t working, England trials were not really being participated by the numbers needed and well to be brutally honest, most of our players were losing interest of everything. So really whatever we did, was probably going to work, at least for a short time anyway!
We started with a bonus system to try and level the playing field between the likes of the legend that is Stevie T and well…. The likes of Me…. Or the up and coming players. It kinda worked, but didn’t really hit the spot needed. Bowlers wanted Scratch and NO handicap. We listened and there we go, changed it so the Ladies get 8 pins a game and that was it. Following the EBT really. It worked, can’t say everyone is a fan, but every member and everybody knows the score and not had a single complaint in 4 years now!! So we must have done something right? Was it Listening?
Why do you think the tour has been so popular and continues to grow year on year now?
Ahhh, good question Dom!! Why….. why why why?! A few reasons really. Quality. Openness. Trust. Fun & Learning. Competitiveness. There’s also a feeling of community and integration with all players of all ages.
Quality, I try and get the best venues that offer the best for us, lane conditions are always a sport pattern. Sometimes a little tweaked for extra pleasure😉 but we stick to our guns on what we choose, how we choose and why! Our website (www.sportbowling.uk) is updated as soon as I can possibly do it, with all info on there, and online entry’s to. Shout out to Mark Thompson for that one👍🏻.
Openness – Well, it’s all there to see, you know what your getting!! I encourage all questions and comments…good or bad… and I’m there to answer! We’ve got nothing to hide. So this encourages what I also mention….. TRUST.
This is important, a MAJOR!! When you have the trust of players. It builds all sorts. They put their money, time, effort and more in to playing a stop or the whole tour. Knowing that they can trust us, trust that we actually care,Try hard and deliver what we say we will. I’ve always said, it’s a tour for the players, not the button pushers!! (fact we bowl too is also a good thing) They also trust us that the prize money is in good hands… and returned as we say too… it’s this point where I’d like to quickly say… We pay 10’s of thousands out every year!!!! That also, is out there for people to look at! 🙂
Being a sport tour, people. Think “Oh it’s just hard patterns and low scores”. Well, sometimes yes!! Haha. The Education of it is massively important too, I mean, playing league you can turn up with 2 balls, a Hookey one and an old hookey one and score loads, learn nothing and go home like your the Dom Barrett of the Monday night handicap 4s. It’s simply NOT going to happen at a tour stop. You can bring 2/3/4/5/6/7/8 balls and use every one on oil and get that actual experience of what your equipment does!! Where else can you do this these days? You will get beat up and frustrated, you will miss easy single pins, you won’t have 8 strikes every game, you will want to chuck all your gear in the bin and buy new as you just seen Pete Stevenson have +200 and beat you by 400 pins…. This is because your inner bowler knows you love it. Knows your watching and trying things, soaking up more info for 8 games then you have had in the last few years. It re-lights that spark , it makes you think, but it also makes you realise that, the simple spares do really mean things. So many times after 8 games the top 5/6 places is literally only 2 spares difference, we challenge your mindset that’s for sure, oh, no matter what level you are or think you are!!
A big thing for me with the tour is bowlers actually seem to be accepting the reality of what it is. They laugh at 120’s as they realise they are certainly not the only ones in the same situation. The honesty that’s spoken is also good…. There’s no Bulls**it … well, not from me , but it’s all good clean fun! For me, seeing a lot of new players come and play is brilliant, from youth to senior… I mean, you get Izzy Fletcher chatting all sorts of “ interesting” things to Angie Brown…. Kim Johnson winding up , well, anyone that will listen…. Me getting all hassle and verbally abused all the time (that , I love) the integration is super important, it builds team spirit….relationships and helps commitment to the lanes and game! It feels like a little club, everyone knows everyone ( 90% I’d say ) and well, It’s a damn good thing to be part of as bowler or …. AWARD WINNING manager!😉😉
Yes, let’s talk about being an award winner. Well deserved not least for the things you mention above but recognition for the love and attention you put into the sport bowling project. You are not the type to now go all Hollywood are you? Any upcoming ideas you can share with us yet?
Yes Dom, I am the 2022 Chairman’s award winner, not that I like to mention it but you know what I don’t care!😂
I was a little shocked to be honest, as well. I’m not the shy quiet crack on type, I do like to voice my opinions and poke the bear a little 🙂 When I think it’s needed. I’m not going to sit back and just let things pass. I’ve been involved with the sport for so long now, around 34 years so im entitled to say my piece but this is the important bit, the main reason I feel it’s ok for me to do so is because I’ve actually given back, played for the country, supported events – home and around the world for years, started to run events and get more involved. Southern Scratch League, the Famous and much needed Bowlrite 6s and the ESBT. so it’s fair to say, I comment with back up!!
There are a lot of other very well deserving people hiding in the shadows. Dave Malpas and the Robsons also in the North East keep bowling alive up there. Jeff at Shipley has created like a little bowling World up there. Brian and Jill Parker continues to chew up the miles week in week out in the youth, all for the love of the game and how can I not mention the 17th best lefty in Dunstable, Basher Bonfield. He really did do a lot a few years back and bowling has suffered without him. I think he proved his point (can’t believe I said that) haha. I can honestly say, it’s hard work… especially with a kid or two!!!
Future plans…. Oh Well, I mean, I could let you in on a few little secrets…. BUT…. I’d have to kill you. 😉
2023 looks good for the ESBT, Two new venues with Barnsley and Altrincham on the tour, looking forward to that… oh, on that note, the most southern tour stop is Stroud!!! How times have changed hey with venues and the “northern lot” always moaning!!!😉
I’d love to get a challenge match/event against the Dutch. Marco Landmann runs the sport tour there and I think we could take them on. Teach them a lesson or two and now we have the Swedish connection with Sweeeenglish Crosby… maybe even a top of the bill match against Stockholms AIK or Pergamon?!
I’m full of ideas, just the reality of the scale of them are slightly worrying! Ha… hey, I mean, we all love a weekend away so… they need to happen!!!
With the concept now proven and players getting true sport practice plus recognition by the national body now using the ESBT events for Team England Qualifying, Challenges against the Dutch and Swedish would be great and a natural progression to something like what was done in the old days. Maybe a Sport European team threeway?
Haha, a sport 3 way. I suppose that’s the most amount of fun you can have in a 3-way with your clothes on!! Yep, the TE Qualification in 2022 did open a few people’s eyes up as to how tricky the tour is. Also lowered a few ego’s too!!
It was a good move by TE to finally use the ESBT set up, I mean. we have the best venues, runs smooth, 8 games with likeminded players, patterns like you will face outside the uk, fully staffed and well, a very generous prize fund at each stop. So really, the only way to select a squad in my opinion. Though, I’d just like to say, I’ve not heard anything about 2023 and it’s the nearly Christmas as I type!!! “ cough cough “
With the good comes the , well… not so good. I got messages from quite a few Senior players asking “ why should we play” and stating ….. “ It’s not the vehicle for seniors”. Even a few that said “They only want our money and are not interested in the bowing” My god…. What a load of BullS**T.
Firstly, what they failed to understand was. The ESBT was not, is not and will not be any part of TE. It’s a separate thing! They only used scores. Piggy backed on our tour. To create what they wanted!
I mean it is laughable that a few people believe that we want their money, or it’s not the right way. Haha come on. One even said, “ I’ve got no chance of cashing”, well, you probably don’t , and if that’s your attitude then stay at home, we don’t want you and the country shouldn’t want you if that’s what you think! Who’s right is it to turn up at an event and expect to cash?! I mean that’s just silly. Some people amaze me. Not even thinking about how it might be, what you may learn, if you’re I’ll enjoy it … no no no …. All your interested in is….. “ I won’t cash” … ridiculous.
Just for the record. The seniors that do play and support the tour all enjoy it, they do cash , one way or another and I have messages of thanks from them.
I’d love to get the challenge matches going….. we used to have the Dutch visit for a game or two…. Going back to Pre 2000s…. And a few more!! But I’d do it in sections, for example…. Maybe top 8 male / female top few youth and seniors so we can show case a range of our players, not just one age group, think about how much integration that would be, mix it up and it will work!
Sports patterns are not going away, so the more we get used to them, the better and can compete against the best.
Yes Lee, You are not backwards in going forwards with your thoughts and comments on the sport. Let’s jump in then and ask, and trying to being balanced, what things are currently good in the sport in the UK and which things need a little work on?
Ooohh the 64 million dollar question!!! Or …. The “ how many people Can I upset question”? 😂😂
Let’s start with The Good , in the UK, so not just england.
I mean, for a start… we’re all still here and bowling, so that’s good, albeit a smaller number of actual participants but the games still alive! We have a fair few really great centres, privately run all over the uk, these are usually owned by people who don’t have enough stress already in their lives. Kim Johnson, Jeff Taylor just to name the two. Most bowlers know! They need a clap…. They need supporting, they need us the bowlers to keep making the effort to hit the lanes therefore keeping the bowls alive!
People – Event organisers at all levels, volunteers, the willingness to help out , the uptake on coaching courses. The inner belief that one day, it’ll all be worth it and we can see bowling as an Olympic sport (long shot I know)
Bowlers – We’re bloody brilliant, spend loads on equipment and fuel and drive all over to bowl! We need a pat on the back for sure!!! I honestly think we could have finally , a strong national side at all levels! The senior men are looking very youthful now days and, in a few years the likes of Thurlby and maybe Cundy will be joining the ranks!! We do have , dare I say it, strength in depth!!!
Now the not so good….I’ll keep it short to be fair, there is a bit I know nothing about… so I’ll play nice.
There seems to be a serious lack of trust or want to trust towards the BTBA. Members do not feel supported, listened to or valued. The communications are slow, getting slightly better but, it’s not where it needs to be.
There was a lot of talk a while back about being “transparent“ after a few turbulent years. Has this really been achieved? I mean, I get there’s things that should be kept, in house, but the gap between “us and them” just keeps getting bigger. We are a small association, struggling association with dwindling numbers, here must be a way that the trust gap can be reduced.
Nobody really knows who’s doing what. The last few years I have to give credit to Paul Loberman for stepping into a position and really making a go of things. I mean, at the start he was dealing with all sorts of things. Far to much if you ask me!!! Now he’s making his mark on the events side. For those who isn’t really sure who he is, he’s one of the younger of the new seniors, always talking (nonsense) and throws it up 10th board with a 60 grit with a 1980’s spin!
Back to the topic…..I feel things are reactive and not proactive…… a lot of passing the buck in situations. A fair bit of , Ah it’ll all work out in the end kinda situations. Who is behind decisions? Who helps out?? Who actually takes responsibility for things? Is there a plan of action for the coming years? Who knows!!!!!
The IBF events. Caused a bit of a stir, was it a good move to send a team to play during covid? What’s the ideal end game with IBF? I’m glad we didn’t support the recent World Cup one, was there really a point in supporting it?! Are we as a nation supporting the IBF? Is it a situ that we have to support? I mean, all the hassle and the media fall out from the first event, I think i’d stay well clear! We’re not an affluent nation and with all the financial issues with the IBF, it’s even more of a reason to watch from outside, right?
I’d like to see a big “ re-think” happen….. and the powers that be produce an actual plan , published so all can see …. Like a 3 year plan….. with year on year targets. If targets are not met, well, position vacancies arise! This may get us back on track, or on any track to be honest.
Should I mention the string Vs free fall debate? Did the btba put up a fight, or did they take the easy route and hope that the rest will follow?? Looking at all the larger countries in the game, they didn’t follow and our bowlers didn’t either.
See , I kept it short, there is only so much even I can write. Id just like to see some openness, some stability, some levelling up so to speak. Dare I say, even I’m available for some ideas or to lend a hand!!!
In terms of a three year plan, what sort of things do you think need to be done at first to put the sport on track?
Yep…. A plan, a plan of action, doing it or just talking and hoping someone will step up and do something! There’s been far to many “ I’ll give it a go” And not enough “This is what I will do” Same old excuses always come out “ oh not enough time to commit or I just can’t get through to the decision makers”. Heard it all before. I honestly think people want to be involved with the btba just for their own ego sometimes.
The start of my plan would be to look at the YBC numbers, figure out why they have really dwindled in recent years and create some kinda of Buzz, maybe a Tiktok page, instagram, socials, get the numbers up. Oh, it’s also FREE to do! There is so much more than just approaching schools and hoping for a few Kids to turn up. Maybe each YBC could have a some kind of competition between them and see who can recruit the most through the year? Prize could be ….. something like, Playing against Team England or something like that, try and be cost effective at all times. I’d like to see what we can bring in with what we have first without just spending, cash we don’t have!
I’d also like to see like a leadership chart, I suppose like a BTBA family tree, for all to see so we actually know who’s who, and what their title is. This will open a window for members to relate more, a start to regain the lost relationship. Maybe a quarterly virtual meeting, or live event where the members get updates on what’s new, coming up, Ideas. From the chair or exec – ideally again, bridging the gap with members. We also need a clear vision, from a business point of view. I mean, what is happening in terms of income, making money? Spending money? Team England can be left mainly alone. That will always be there, good or bad, it’ll run.
We all just need more communication, to feel valued as members , to be listened to. We need to see things happen, reasons why they happen, good or bad.
A few years back at a county banquet, a certain BTBA stalwart got up and delivered a little speech. Now, the previous year wasn’t a good one, for a few reasons, but the speech went something like this “We will be better, we will look deeper into our issues and we will carry on fighting being more transparent and if you don’t believe me, you can all throw your bread rolls at me next year!!! “
Now……. I’ve got a whole collection of , now stale, bread rolls to throw…. Award winner or not, I can throw a bread roll as good as anyone!!! Come on BTBA, step up and open up!
There is of course a list of BTBA Officials on the website but as for seniors and we get older, we think we know what we like and want and do not always like change. A reality at International level is that you cannot just coast into events and old dogs CAN be taught new tricks. As you say, some seniors play and enjoy the Sport tour and gaining experience but some still cannot see it’s value. If enough of them play or a senior sponsor found, could you win them over yet?
Seniors and change. I mean, Two words hardly used together that’s for sure!
There’s always been a bit of a joke about the seniors, being old and moaning constantly about everything. When the reality actually is, most are not moaning old gits. It’s a small few that are. We are now in a great situation where the seniors are potentially our youngest ever seniors, pushing the older ones in to Well, not darkness yet, But a Super Senior category!
This year on the sports tour, it’s been brilliant to have more seniors then ever for a few reasons. They want to learn, their attitude is great and the interaction with other players is top notch. ok ok, we all take the P**S out of 1 rev Johnson but it’s brilliant to see when they start giving it back and suddenly, start cashing!!! Yes, CASHING. 100000% these older guys and girls can be taught new tricks, but what we forget easily is they teach the younger ones how to just play frame by frame , spare and close out games. Oh, and we’re all still in awe of the newest senior on the block still, Stevie T…. Come on, this guy has been doing it for years, what an ambassador.
Could I win more over. Question should be, “ Do I want to win them over”?! Sort of but, it’s up to them. Our payouts are blooming good as they are! If I start changing things for seniors, do I do it for youths also? Then where does it stop? In the 2022 masters, we had a senior section as a thank you for the support throughout the season. Oh and a separate ladies section too. A little bonus.. £500 per section, free to bowl and a very lovely buffet lunch laid on. It did make me think that if the numbers work for the main tour, there may just be a little prize per stop for the seniors.
It did make me laugh when at the start of the season I was asked if there would be a separate seniors prize fund. I mean, how the hell would I do that when I’d have no idea how many would play! I’m very very very open on any new players for the tour. I must say though, full credit to Jack Smith and the Res Dev senior tour, I think he does a great job up there’ Good numbers, well supported and much needed! I love seeing the same names coming up in my news feeds as I used to when I was a kid…. Ronnie O and the Yorkshire mafia, Frosty (Mike) Halliwell, Big Nev Robinson….
Maybe we should do a Sport Vs Res Dev shoot out?!? Ooohh do the public want that???
Big Nev Robinson? He’s about 5’5″ tall🤣 It does bring us though to your own time on the lanes and some of the greats you have crossed with and met socially. Who’s been the best you have faced and got to know?
When Nev was on form it felt like he was 7ft tall!!! Good question that is. I’ve been around for ages, seen , bowled with, partied with a few legends that’s for sure.
Way back after the junior days , I played a pro-am in Orlando at Jason Couch’s bowl. Was only by chance we were on holiday there so my dad said “Your playing”. I was a little nervous as soon as I caught sight of one particular player, Norm Duuuuuke. My god. Bloody loved Norm Duke, as pro am’s are, you stay on a lane and the pro’s move lane by lane so you get to bowl with a few, And Norm
Was on his way up to my lane. I mean, I can’t say it was hard , it was a US House shot, so as an English 16 year old, I had about 20 boards to hit to make the pocket, coming off the back of a 227 and a 234, I felt I could give him a game. I kept my cool , sprayed it all over the lane like usual , and poked a 240 odd at him, I mean, did he deliberately flat 10 in the 10th or was it it genuinely a loose one? Still, I took him to the cleaners! Ha. Still love watching him bowl, he’s a natural legend, uses his hand, creates angles and shapes like nobody, an original “ touch” player and just superb. Gotta quickly shout out to Major Thurlby here too, Euro Challenge, Thurlby threw everything at Norm in game 1 or Matchplay….. think Norm just didn’t know what to do, what a game and Thurlby went on to win the Euro Challenge too, unreal.
The EBTs back in the day were brilliant, 4/5 days of bowling, nights out. Hangovers, and cheap entries kept us busy for years, a few players stand out for me… Or Aviram, super guy, great player. Belmo was around at the time nicking a few Euros. He was decent, turned out we could wind him up and got on after that, pretty sure he still owes me and John Chew a pint too!!!
Major Mika – when he walked in to any bowl, it was like time stopped for a second. This guy had presence, amazing player, he means business and still plays and coaches out in Dubai.
Timmy Mack – Everyone knows Tim.. and they should!!! What a guy.
The late Great Tomas Leandersson. He was such a true gent, smooth as silk, fun, loved everything in bowling and everybody who bowled, very much missed.
In the UK, I’d have to go with a couple. Sir Phil Scammell , Big Wayne Greenall and Stevie Thornton. Playing against these was superb. Three different players, but same feel when you play them…. A-Game only!
I’ve been lucky to have been in the , what I believe, best era for EBTs so seen a lot. Partied a fair bit all over and made some really great friends. It’s been a pleasure to share lanes with these guys , share beers, shots and nights out.
Dom, you know about the Old Malta days, Martin Larsen on the famous footloose pole, swinging faster then his ball rotates and soo many more moments I can definitely not even think about mentioning. Good days for sure!! Everything and everyone was just equals after the bowling finished, that’s what we/I miss these days in the sport.
Stu Williams, Paul Moor and Dom Barrett. Come on, these three have led the way in recent years for sure. It is great to see them doing what they do and fighting the Americans on their soil. Who Knew that little Dom from the Pier would be so good? I mean, he used to ask me for tips, and I used to school him on the lanes!!!
Where did bowling start for you and what made you stick around in the sport for so long now?
I actually started at the famous old Streatham Bowl in the late 80s God I’m old. Saturday afternoon bowling with my family and a lady came over and asked if we were interested in coming along the next week for the youth club (YBC) That was that really. Loved it from the start. Think also back then nobody I knew went bowling, it was only really football or rugby. (which I both played anyway). Was a great way of making new friends out of the school circle and to be honest, I think my parents did very much like the social side too. Streatham YBC moved to the newly opened David Lloyds at Raynes Park where I played for many years till I joined the Famous Lewisham YBC for the last few years of juniors. At Lewisham you really did learn to bowl. That place was different, it made you work for everything, every pin. We had a great team, won a fair few things. The three Giles Brothers all did well out of there too, great times, was like the Man Utd of the 90s that was!!!! Superb!
After 18 I just had to play more and more. Then jumped in my Golf GTI and headed to Holland to bowl, that was it. Hooked big time. Lads weekends away, again… the 3 B’s…. Bowling, Beer and Birds, was the simple reason. I mean, is there any better reason?!
Meeting friends for life to has been a major factor in staying with the game..So many people drift in and out now days but there is still a few “Lifers” around. I just love it, can’t lie.No better feeling when the ball leaves your hand and you know it’s a strike, bowlers know!
I’ve always wanted to give back for what I’ve got out of the sport, it’s amazing to have been able to do that on the level I want to do it. I think I’ve still got a good few years left in me on the lanes and behind the laptop so I’m not going anywhere soon. I mean, that’s if my new Wife let’s me, she has been very understanding this past few years and I can’t give her enough praise for that. I owe her a fair bit!!!! Haha.
Just wish she’d let me sell the house to open a bowl , that might take a bit of convincing!!!
Not like you to be shy though, tell us more about your successes on the lanes, plus of course the back to backs too.
People don’t want to hear about all my success. They want to hear about who’s doing what and all the gossip! But…. Seeing as though you asked….I’ll have a think.
As a junior. I mean basically won the lot, Nationals multiple medals, SOE multiple plus a few records. Jack n Jill, Southern bowlers club a few times, junior triple crown I won a few medals.
After Juniors, Well, I suppose a little less but a more diverse spectrum of events. Adult nationals, Doubles with Lol Ellis shooting an 821 may I add and team (last ever 5 man team winners if I’m correct). Sussex 6s, the famous Bowlrite 6s. A few 1 ball events with the Tropical Storm. My memory is going now but more recently the Swiss International Team event – bloody brilliant event this is, Team Camel have won it twice and the 2019 Generation Double with Paul Morris! Had a good showing at at the 2009 USBC Nationals to in Vegas. 747 in the singles, doesn’t sound a lot, but it was a flat pattern and well, I put in weeks of practice for that one, Steve Creasy was the head teach at Tolworth at the time and a few times a week he’d happily lay down the patterns for me to play on. This obviously is a major help but coming away with a fair few thousand dollars and ending up 67th in the singles, out of a field in the top division of just over 10,000…. I’d say that was a fair shout!
The Back 2 Back 300s were a laugh, 20 mins late for league on a cold November night, straight on the lanes with a rattley thumb hole, boom. Front 26 no practice! Was a bit of a joke after the first 300, and just kept on striking, it wasn’t until I had 600 for two I thought “This could be big here” …. 25….. 26….. then came 27, a baby split!!! The worst possible leave for your first spare attempt…. Nailed it followed by another strike!! Two 10pins a 7 pin and a 9 pin…. And it was only 202! It was brilliant but so strange too, out of the blue! Think I was the 3rd one to do it after Dave Parker (good old player he was and prob still is if he came back ) and Stu Williams!
Storm Vertigo was the ball, Drilled by Dan French , some whacky layout , legal I have to say .!! Frenchy did drill a good ball I have to say, being taught by Andy Penny helped for sure!
In recent years, I have to say, Jez Darvil has helped out a fair bit with his absolute professional ball drilling, every ball felt bang on, there’s no fuss, no hassle, he drills it you throw it and it feels good. It was a sad day to hear when the shop was going to be no longer. It’s even sadder walking in to the bowl and having an empty space there now, thinking of how many balls have come out of that shop and as a kid growing up, the excitement of just standing in the shop smelling that pro shop smell knowing and hoping my dad might get me a new ball. Very big loss to the game indeed.
Let’s return to the present and talk English Open now and you inherited an event with a good history and great winners but was waining a little and then came the pandemic. Back though and this year with a sponsor again, what does the future hold for our premier open event?
The EO is a great event really. From the super days at Nottingham with the British Open then the good days at Nuneaton with the English Open then it moved around a bit, settled in Stroud, once again with thanks to Kim Johnson. It was waining, your totally correct. I think it was caught in the trap of trying to be something it wasn’t. It got to the stage of it wasn’t worth running, like most things in a way.
Covid helped , the break did it good. A little re-jig with the format, combining it with the ESBT I could guarantee the top prize and pay down to all Qualified players, which I personally think it’s a major importance. I just can’t understand why other events make you get to finals day round 2/3/4 before you get anything back. It’s just not on. You play to make the cut – Fact, when you make the cut you deserve something back. I am a firm
Believer that the lowest you should win is your entry fee back. This is what I stand by and will always do my best to stick to it. Turns out, the tweaks and my beliefs and my sparking personality has done the trick! 😂😂. This year I have to say, I bloody loved running it, the buzz was there, as mentioned by a few people. Friday to Sunday. From 8:30 am – 9pm Saturday the bowl was full, every squad was full and the Desperado went to the final frame!! With a great sponsor too, Big Bear Bolts, Stu England ran some brackets, they were a real good addition, created even more buzz around the desk!! Something that will stay in the 2023 event , I can say that now!!!
Leads me on to the EO 2023. Back to the September date and hopefully , with all things going our way straight after a potential Triple Crown so if a few of the participants from Scotland, Ireland , N.Ireland want to stay and play they can! Yes, I didn’t mention wales, as well, it’s basically up the road!!
Every year I push the prize fund up, so that will happen again and maybe a few little surprises in time too! Would be nice to get a few seniors involved, they do shy away from this one!! It’s events like these you can’t rush, 80+ players with a steady increase and we’re doing well.
Off the lanes now and a few changes lately, got married and started a family. You work hard and play hard. What things do you enjoy doing outside of the sport?
My god this year has really been nuts. When I look back at January facing a very unknown year so to speak, I don’t know how I’ve managed it to be honest. My Wife Catherine deserves a LOT of thanks, the things I’ve got away with this year, god knows how apart f,rom her being an absolute angel. Having Theo , getting used to that, then running the tour stops all at 98+ capacity. Arranging a wedding – abroad, then turning 40 (tho I still look 29) leading up to the wedding with more tour stops and hassle while still trying to be a dad and spend time with my two favourite people Yeah it’s been nuts, not to mention having my busiest and best year working, sometimes 7 days a week!! What a year. Catherine deserves the chairman’s award more then me!!
Outside this highly addictive sport that I love. We love travelling, trips, full on holidays and drives out to the countryside. Pubs, I love a pub. Usually decent classy ones with a big Sunday lunch attached, we’re lucky to live very close to a few corking pubs. I can be found in the backstreet pubs in central london, mainly the west end , St James’s or Mayfair!!! DIY is also a passion, learnt a lot from my dad so I just fiddle with things now. Love a project and creating things to make a house a home!
Most recently I love being a dad and a husband and making time to evolve in our new environment together!
Finally Lee, We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year and a usual question to end with. Why should people try bowling?
Another 64 Million Dollar question. Why should people try bowling. Well they do. Why should they look at doing it more , well, Social side for adults, you meet so many people from so many walks of life it’s brilliant and it can take you places you have never though of going to.
For kids, it’s about opening up to new things, and being part of a team. Discipline, hand/eye coordination , Maths …. It’s all part of it. Plus it’s a hands on sport. No joy sticks or key pads in use!!
It’s kind of geeky, it’s not the thing you come out with on a first date but it’s so much better than tiddlywinks!!!