Cultural change needed to save day for bowls

GUERNSEY’S leading bowls official admits that it will be tough to keep three greens alive.

Garry Collins.  (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28378481)
Garry Collins. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28378481)

But he is not giving up hope and still favours inter-club leagues utilising all of them.

Garry Collins, secretary and acting president of the umbrella body Bowl Guernsey, said that while he favoured Bowls Guernsey taking a more active role at Delancey, which is closed this summer due to leatherback infestation damage and its membership are unclear when they will return, his has been a minority voice.

‘Even last year [at Bowls Guernsey] we discussed more Island leagues and a central system, but there was no desire to change by the clubs and it was rejected again.

‘When Bowls Guernsey was formed in 2004, we proposed a central system then and 15 years later the attitudes haven’t changed.’

He says maintenance costs against a background of overall falling numbers makes the situation bleak.

‘The major problem is the Vale Rec. [privately run] have only 50-60% of the running costs compared to the other two clubs, who are run by the States.

‘If the States aren’t willing to discuss the idea of a private company maintaining the two States greens as well, I cannot see a way forward. All the clubs together are spending around £40,000 per year, when that cost could be £25-30k, which works out to be about £150 per Bowls Guernsey member or £10 per week to bowl during the outdoor season, which is reasonable.’

He says: ‘the foundations are there for fundamental change, but again there is no desire for change at club level and I fully understand with the lack of parking and facilities at the NBA, it’s a hard sell. However, it is not impossible and as always the BGA is open to help, but the culture will have to change.

‘My vision hasn’t changed from day one, which is a strong wish to see three well maintained greens on the island with inter-club leagues.

‘This way the association can fully campaign to get new members, without the criticism of favouring one club over another, as new members will play at all the venues in island-run leagues.

‘Our door is open and we are keen to discuss any plans.’

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