Open day set to boost bowling club numbers at Hucknall Titcfield Park
Hucknall Titchfield Park Bowls Club will be hoping to boost their numbers following the Bowls' Big Weekend open day they are holding on Monday (11am-4pm).
The event is being staged as part of a national initiative by Bowls England.
But the thriving Hucknall club stage their own open day every year which keeps their numbers up.
Now they are hoping this new national event can see other clubs repeat their own success in keeping numbers up as the sport tries to recover from the impact of the Covid lay-off.
Hucknall's fixtures secretary and club coach Peter Dickens said: “This will be our only formal open day this year, but the succession to it will be a series of taster events, which we do every year.
“Usually as a result of our open day we get subsequent enquiries and do one-to-one or group taster sessions with them.
“I am not sure if Bowls England will do this every year. In my experience this is the first time they have actually done something like this and largely it is a result of what happened in 2020 when bowls leagues across the country were decimated like other sports were.”
He continued: “They are trying to put together a national strategy to try to encourage new people into the sport.
“It is all about the rapidly diminishing number of bowlers nationally, the consequential loss of bowls clubs and trying to capitalise on an apparent pent up demand for outdoor activities as a result of COVID in 2020.
“If they have the success nationally that we've had from our open days then the sport would blossom.
“Even locally we are one of the very few who actually go to the trouble of trying to recruit new players every year.
“A lot of clubs don't bother and consequently are now beginning to see the end of the tunnel basically. Even since last September half a dozen of the clubs that we traditionally play against are no longer with us.
“The failing in the past across most of the bowls community has been a lack of initiative and lack of recruitment drive every year. You have to do it every year – that's the point.
“Some only do it every now and again when it occurs to them. Another big issue is the sports failure to attract young players.
Last year was very challenging for every bowls club, but Hucknall were fortunate to finish the year in good shape.
Without their normal league programme, the club put together a busy schedule of competitions for members, as well as helping new players to learn the sport.
They now view the 2021 season with renewed optimism.
For the leagues to take place this year the Government needed to stick to its road map and the relaxation of car sharing rules has cleared away a major obstacle to fulfilling away matches.
Assuming that the situation continues to improve, all should be back to normal.
Club president Barry Hemmings said: “We are extremely thankful to have come through 2020 in a strong position.
“After months of restrictions and lockdowns, playing lawn bowls again has a new appeal.
“It’s not only very enjoyable, it’s also great for our physical and mental health and Titchfield Park is a beautiful setting to get fresh air and exercise. I’d encourage anyone of any age to have a go”.
You can find out more by contacting the club through its Facebook page and via its website www.hucknallbowls.co.uk.