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Richmond Bowls Club invites players regardless of age or ability

After losing around 25% of its membership following the pandemic, Richmond Indoor Bowls Club is encouraging players of all ages to take up the sport.

The Richmond Bowls Club, established in 1934, is one of many smaller clubs hoping to promote the game and appeal to a wider audience.

For members at Richmond Club, playing bowls is about so much more than the sport.

The club offers a safe space for players to socialise, participate in group activity and be physically active.

Club manager Trevor Bay, 70, said: “I see the benefit as are people meeting each other rather than sitting indoors doing nothing – people need to get out and about and they need exercise.”

The club is a community hub, with partners and friends coming together to play bowls during the day or evening. 

Club member and retiree Pam Butler said: “In bowling, if you lose a partner you’ve got a community. 

“Most people here are widows and they come out because otherwise they wouldn’t speak to anybody.

“There’s a lot to be said for this game, you can be seven years old or eighty and it doesn’t matter about your gender.” 

Richmond Indoor Bowls Club is one of the oldest indoor bowling clubs in the country and is rightly proud of its heritage. 

But player Larry Mulligan, 71, revealed support for the game is dwindling. 

Larry, who has been playing for over thirty years, said: “This is a game that is starting to die a bit and Covid hasn’t helped but at the end of the day it’s starting to lose members.

“Once the members go from your club and they move on they won’t come back.”

To increase membership, the club is encouraging new players to come and get involved, even if they have never tried the sport before.

Trevor said: “Unless someone comes down and sees us and has a go, they don’t know what it’s like”.

To combat declining numbers, Larry suggests inviting local schools to come and play for the day.

BOWLED OVER: Larry explains the rules of the game to a bemused Will

Larry said: “We need a boost with the youngsters coming in.

“It’s a really good tactical game and once you start playing it you won’t stop.

The club hopes that the arrival of the commonwealth games in Birmingham will bolster support for bowls across the UK.

Richmond Indoor Bowls Club opens early September and the season runs to late April each year.

Full adult membership is £100 per annum and junior membership is £25.

If you are interested in joining, visit: https://www.richmondibc.com/facilities 

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