The Sports Commission’s relationship director has been closely assisting with the Beau Sejour-based club in opening its green to students of primary and secondary age this past summer and laid the foundations for further growth in 2022 and, hopefully, beyond.
Amherst, Vauvert and Elizabeth College have so far enjoyed outdoor bowls and Blanchelande College are the latest establishment keen to take advantage of the welcome offered by Dyer and his team.
‘Chris Dyer is a charismatic individual and he has approached it as if it was a Muratti. He brings other people with him,’ said Sharman.
To further enhance the joint plans of the Sports Commission and the island’s oldest bowls club, which just a couple of years back was on its knees, J W Rihoy and Son have agreed a substantial sponsorship deal to push these initiatives on.
‘We are eight months down the line of having some really positive experiences in terms of young children and bowls at the Guernsey Bowling Club, in particular, but also the Northern Bowling Club,’ said Sharman.
‘The GBC led by Chris has driven this forward, firstly looking at themselves and realising they were an ageing sport and their club was struggling with numbers. There was also a certain reluctance within the club to involve young people, but Chris has affected a culture shift and recognised that without young people and increasing the number of people playing bowls their club was really at risk.’
Sharman said that introducing bowls to youngsters fitted with the commission’s strategic thinking around fundamental movement skills for primary school children and motor skills and coordination.
‘It also fits with the idea of inter-generational involvement.’
‘We have had some real success at the GBC in 2021 using the bowling green with over 300 children having experiences of the sport.
‘For us it is important that not only did they have this taster but that there is a pathway and especially for the Town primary schools, where there have been barriers in terms of access.’
The tasters were followed up by an after-school club at Amherst and events in the school holidays.
‘The next stage is to create a minis bowls section, which is where we are.’
The Sports Commission have funded new woods for the youngsters to use and J W Rihoy have come in to sponsor the minis’ green fees for the next three years.